American Chinese who isn't fluent in Chinese/Mandarin

D_C_L's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 27

Edit: I changed the thread a little but it fundamentally asks the same thing. It was a little more general before but I thought the wording was too confusing so I just made it specific

I can't remember where but I've read somewhere that Chinese IB aspirants who can't speak fluent Chinese are looked down on/seen as worse applicants by employers/interviewers (applies to other minorities too). I've also heard it from someone in person but they don't work in finance.

One of the reasons I saw is that apparently it would hurt my ability to do business in China (their reasoning being that a non-Chinese person with no fluency in Chinese is looked at much differently than a Chinese person with no fluency in Chinese language)

Are these true? Insights on minorities/foreign language fluency would be appreciated.

Comments (29)

Jul 4, 2016

yes

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Dec 19, 2017

LMAO

Dui Zhong Guo Ren Lai Shuo , Ni Shi Bu Ji De Wen Mang !

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Dec 19, 2017

Translation: I have a banana, it was delicious.

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Jul 4, 2016

@wanttobreakin111

I don't like being that guy but do you mind telling me where you heard that? I've heard the same thing from someone else (but not working in anything finance related), and I don't want to base any decisions off an educated guess

Jul 5, 2016

Never heard of people looking down on you for not being fluent, unless of course you are applying for a position in a country that would require you to be fluent in said language (obviously). I can't speak my native language very well in a business setting and neither can my associate. On my resume I just put "[xxx] language (conversational)"

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Best Response
Jul 5, 2016

If you're looking to work in east Asia, not speaking the language fluently is a negative. My basis for that is from a decade working in IB in Hong Kong. Chinese (almost always Han) clients have a very Han-centric, Middle Kingdom view on being a Han. People who are ethnically Han but do not speak some dialect of Chinese are generally pitiful freaks in the eyes of Chinese clients.

In the US - likely not relevant, unless you were working for a team that was specifically targeting China/east Asia business.

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Jul 13, 2016

Native speaker here- short answer is yes long answer is probably not intentionally. I personally think it's a shame.

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Jul 13, 2016

Zai Qi Ye Bu Liu Chang ,Ni Yong Yuan Bu Hui Cheng Gong

See, its funny, because you have no clue what I wrote.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Jul 13, 2016
UTDFinanceGuy:

Zai Qi Ye Bu Liu Chang ,Ni Yong Yuan Bu Hui Cheng Gong

See, its funny, because you have no clue what I wrote.

LOL.

Jul 4, 2016

Together (Zai Qi) and/also/too (ye) bu (don't) liu (leave) ?? (depends on emphasis). Together but not fluent maybe? Hard to tell

You (Ni) use (yong) yuan (the currency?) unlikely (bu hui) cheng gong (succeed). "It's not going to work if you use the yuan" possibly in the context of buying something

Some of the individual components are recognizable regardless of that punctuation but it is hard to do a good translation based on pronunciation (pin yin) without the emphasis punctuation over the letters but whatever.

I mean I'm not illiterate I'm just not business proficient. My base is good enough where if I spent some time in China I could pick up what I need to. To be fair though, I wasn't even familiar with American finance lingo (shorting, etc) until this past year when I added a finance minor

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Jul 13, 2016

Due to WSO spam filters it went from chinese symbols straight to some phonetic thing. It was supposed to say, "You are never going to succeed" or something like that lol.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

Jul 14, 2016

As a native Chinese speaker, I can only understand the second half part. LOL

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Jul 18, 2016

I'm not ethnically Chinese (Caucasian, ancestors originally from Western Europe) but I took 4 years of Mandarin in college

Literal word-for-word translation:

Zai ("In")
Qi Ye ("Corporation/Business")
Bu (negative particle)
Liu Chang ("Fluent")
Combined, Bu Liu Chang ("Not fluent")

Ni ("You")
Yong Yuan ("Eternally/Forever")
Bu (negative particle)
Hui ("Will")
Combined, Bu Hui ("Will not")
Cheng Gong ("Succeed")

Elegant translation:

"If you are not fluent in business (Read: Your Chinese is not fluent in a business setting), you will be forever doomed to failure."

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Jul 14, 2016

How can you be fluent in a business? I think it is some Chinese written by non-native speakers. I would assume actually liu chang means staying for a long time. So the rough translation could be if you don't stay in a corporate for a long time, you will not be successful.

Jul 19, 2016

Why would you want to work in China? lol

Dec 19, 2017

lol, ironic comment given your username, since China IS the future.

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Dec 19, 2017
adapt or die:

Why would you want to work in China? lol

34% of males that move there to work in China do it to step up their height game with the ladies.

in China 5'5" is the American 6'0"

girls be like 'one six five' ..... yi liu wu

(165cm is the cutoff)

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 19, 2017

didn't you mean to say 10 cm is the cutoff? ;)

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Dec 16, 2017

"Ni Yong Yuan Bu Hui Cheng Gong" = you will never succeed.

Isn't that mean?

Dec 19, 2017
wallstreetwolf1980:

"Ni Yong Yuan Bu Hui Cheng Gong" = you will never succeed.

Isn't that mean?

What if it is the truth?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Dec 17, 2017

Well it is the truth....

nobody is as dank as me

Dec 19, 2017

You've let your people down.

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Dec 19, 2017

Unless you're looking to work in China, there's really no reason why this would matter. In fact, speaking fluent Chinese might even be a net-negative in most cases, since fluent foreign applicants are oftentimes perceived (whether fairly or not) to not have great English skills - which are undoubtably more important within investment banking.

Dec 19, 2017
Comment

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Dec 19, 2017
Comment

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee