Is it worth learning a new language just to land an internship in another country?

Hey guys,

). I'm planning to pursue a career in Investment Banking in Korea (but preferably in HK or SP).
And I figured, it is hard to break into the industry without internships and I thought it would give me a better chance of getting that coveted IB job if I get an internship in the summer before my sophomore year. So the question is, if I want to land an internship in either HK or SP, would it be worth devoting my time studying Chinese? Or do banks in HK and SP take non-Chinese speakers as interns?

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Comments (10)

Feb 5, 2016 - 4:57pm

You need Mandarin to work in HK. It's not possible to pick up Mandarin in 2-3 years without any previous background. In SP you can go around with English. I know some BB in HK also hire Koreans for Korea coverage.

Feb 5, 2016 - 5:03pm

It's not a question of it being worth it to learn Mandarin, it's that unless you're some kind of language savant you won't learn Mandarin to any level of utility in any reasonable amount of time that it could add value to you getting an internship. Maybe Korean->Mandarin is easier but language skills in a professional setting are really only useful if you're near fluent. And based on what my native Chinese friends and people who have lived there have told me it's very difficult to pick up the idioms and other sayings that people use there so even if you're technically fluent you still won't be, if that makes sense.

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