Job prospects with MBA & MSCE - can't speak German

35 posts in this topic

I agree with Conquistador, it's best not to go for a DACH sales position in a German company if you're not either native or have a fair amount of experience with successfully using business German in a fast paced setting. You may often have to deal with family-owned Mittelständische companies where the boss speaks with a heavily schwäbisch, fränkisch, bayrisch, austrian, swiss accent - that'd be a nightmare for an english-speaking salesman. I've been learning german since I was 5 and I still have some trouble understanding people from deep in the Schwarzwald or Niederbayern or Sauerland (no experience with eastern germans as of yet).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Yeah, it would perhaps be allright for a backoffice position where you don't have to directly deal with customers' requests.

 

Right, because that's what you need an MBA for.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Right, because that's what you need an MBA for.

 

And did you get a Master's in smartass replies?

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

You may often have to deal with family-owned Mittelständische companies where the boss speaks with a heavily schwäbisch, fränkisch, bayrisch, austrian, swiss accent - that'd be a nightmare for an english-speaking salesman.

 

This can be a nightmare for native Germans also. The look on the faces of Northern Germans when my boyfriend switches to Fränkisch can be priceless. Expecting anyone to be able to handle all of the dialects and accents without problems is completely unrealistic, even for many Germans.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

This can be a nightmare for native Germans also. The look on the faces of Northern Germans when my boyfriend switches to Fränkisch can be priceless. Expecting anyone to be able to handle all of the dialects and accents without problems is completely unrealistic, even for many Germans.

 

Sure, that's why I was talking about "accents" and not "dialects" - I do agree that even a north german wouldn't be able to handle dialects. But he's generally able to understand an austrian speaking hochdeutsch, at least IME.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Sorry, my mistake.

My visa is valid till June 2015.

 

Which level is considered business fluent?

Is it B2 or C1?

 

And I know it varies from person to person and lots of other things, but can you please comment as to how much time would it take me to get to B2 level?

 

It took me six months, while studying two semesters of a German Diplom course in mechanical engineering, to go from not feeling secure enough to order a coffee and a sandwich in German on the ferry coming over to refusing to talk to my German bank in English. Having said that, the two semesters were technically repeats and I cant maintain I learned much engineering in that time (I learned to cheat like a German though, which allows a good belly laugh whenever I hear some German professor bellyaching about the "quality" of a Dipl-Ing vs a Bachelor). Ive never tested my German formally (although after 25 years here I should walk a C2) but at the time I started work I was probably B2.I wouldn't be confident doing MBA-level business much below C1

 

Basically you have made two mistakes - One was to study two masters in Germany without learning the language, and the other was to study an MBA in a country where most people have no idea what an MBA is and generally don't give a flying one about them even if they do. That is changing, but It will never have the same value as it does in the US.

 

What exactly was your motivation for an MBA? I have one too, but I knew pretty much that it wasn't going to be a fasttrack ticket to management, I did it for myself (and enjoyed every minute).

 

My suggestion for a working plan, if you want to stay in Germany, is to try and turbo start your German in the next six months, focussing on that, perhaps with some back ground job searching in the background, and then launch a real job search once your German is a least enough to conduct an interview.

 

Youvve been given some tips on looking for an English language job, but I always think its a waste to live in a country and avoid learning the language. Even if you don't stay here permanently, learning the language to a decent level of fluency will massively enrich your life.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Sure, that's why I was talking about "accents" and not "dialects" - I do agree that even a north german wouldn't be able to handle dialects. But he's generally able to understand an austrian speaking hochdeutsch, at least IME.

I've seen mixed results, with some people doing better than others. In most cases, people seem to need the discussion speed to go down several notches if the accent is really bad. Then again, I am in Luneburg and surrounded by people from Hamburg and Lubeck so out here I probably see the worst of it. I have heard people complaining about the accents from Berlin :ph34r:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

This can be a nightmare for native Germans also. The look on the faces of Northern Germans when my boyfriend switches to Fränkisch can be priceless. Expecting anyone to be able to handle all of the dialects and accents without problems is completely unrealistic, even for many Germans.

 

When my Schleswig-Holsteinische girlfriend, now wife, decided to move down to me to Nuremberg to study, I sent her some "Klaus Schamberger" tapes (yes it was ten years ago) with franconian dialect dialogues. She thought I was mad until she moved and found that she could actually understand some of the dialect from listening to the tapes.

 

I love it when German TV sub-titles native speakers too :-D

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

C2 is basically native level. There is no higher level.

 

No, C2 is C2 and although there is no higher level for which you can obtain a certificate according to the European Framework (although a high score on the GDS is sometimes considered C2+), there is still a huge gap between passing a C2 exam and native fluency.

 

 

There are plenty of people in Germany working with lower level German.

 

Sure, you don't need much German to flip burgers. I even know a foreign grad (friend of a friend) who works part-time at McD's with only about A2 German. After he finished his first degree in Germany, he was not able to find a job for which he could obtain a work permit (he tried to get a permit as a Restaurant Manager when he was in fact working in the kitchen and ended up nearly being deported after his application was rejected). Anyway, he managed to continue his 2nd degree in Germany (in English) and from what I hear he will be graduating soon. He still doesn't speak proper German, however, now he has a German child, therefore, he will soon have an open work permit and be able to work full-time at McD's. :(

 

 

@arsenal: Sure, I'd agree that it's job-dependent, but for what sort of positions do you see "verhandlungssicher" German demanded? Professional positions that require customer contact.

 

And it is not just sales positions that require customer contact, I've had various positions where it was important to speak English for the job and where (theoretically) everybody could speak English, however, all the internal communication was in German and English was never actually used.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Right, because that's what you need an MBA for.

 

 

 

if you want to stay in Germany, is to try and turbo start your German in the next six months, focussing on that, perhaps with some back ground job searching in the background, and then launch a real job search once your German is a least enough to conduct an interview.

 

Youvve been given some tips on looking for an English language job, but I always think its a waste to live in a country and avoid learning the language. Even if you don't stay here permanently, learning the language to a decent level of fluency will massively enrich your life.

 

I agree with all your comments regarding an MBA. I even agree in principle that it is good to learn a foreign language. However, if the OP's goal is to find a real job in Europe, do you think that it is worth the time, effort, and cost of trying to learn German now? Considering that he has been here for over 3 years and is still only around A2, I can't see him being able to achieve a level of fluency necessary for a DACH sales position in high end products. Furthermore, unless he knows another European language, I think he'll also be facing too much competition from qualified candidates with better language skills for EMEA positions.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

No, C2 is C2 and although there is no higher level for which you can obtain a certificate according to the European Framework (although a high score on the GDS is sometimes considered C2+), there is still a huge gap between passing a C2 exam and native fluency.

 

https://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/exams/CEFR/C2

"At this level, the learner is approaching the linguistic competence of an educated native speaker,"

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theoretically? Sure. However, I've met enough foreigners who have passed C2 exams and still do not speak as well as native speakers.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No German company would consider a C2 the equal of an educated native speaker. Mine certainly doesn't- only native speakers have customer-facing positions in DACH.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised to hear that mbas aren't well regarded here. I'm finishing my mba here on a Austauschprogramm most comments I've gotten have been along the lines of "oh how elite." I've only met one person who didn't know what an mba was, but maybe people associated with a business school aren't typical.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now