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Comments (17)

Nov 8, 2021 - 5:14pm

Given your country preferences, I'd say German. For Switzerland it's self explanatory but for the Netherlands and Belgium, a really good command of the German language will make it extremely easy for you to learn Dutch as well. For the Netherlands, specifically knowing (at least a bit of) Dutch is more important than English. For Belgium, sure, there's the French part as well, but tbh with you, I wouldn't choose Belgium for any finance-related jobs.

French comes in handy for Luxembourg, which shouldn't be neglected given the strong financial services, IB presence there. But German proficiency can also be a plus there for many companies.

Mar 12, 2011 - 2:44pm

Id say German, but what would you like to do there?

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Mar 12, 2011 - 3:16pm

I speak German and its never really been viewed as a plus or minus. That being said, I have always been told that German is the best language to know for International Business by professors and people in industry. Take it for what its worth.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Mar 12, 2011 - 3:20pm

Take the language that you think you'll enjoy the most because honestly, you won't become proficient enough in four years (even with study abroad) to be able to do work in the native country.

"Have you ever tried to use a chain with 3 weak links? I have, and now I no longer own an arctic wolf." -Dwight Schrute
Mar 12, 2011 - 4:59pm
Hamilton:
Take the language that you think you'll enjoy the most because honestly, you won't become proficient enough in four years (even with study abroad) to be able to do work in the native country.

Do that. I speak four languages but would never feel comfortable doing business in anything but English.

Mar 12, 2011 - 5:40pm
dongeiss:
Hamilton:
Take the language that you think you'll enjoy the most because honestly, you won't become proficient enough in four years (even with study abroad) to be able to do work in the native country.

Do that. I speak four languages but would never feel comfortable doing business in anything but English.

Agreed. Especially if you're just now starting, there's no way you're going be anywhere near proficient enough to do business in the language. I speak German well enough to get around Germany, but no way in hell is any firm going to hire me because I can order coffee or tell a taxi where to go in Germany... it's really a non-factor in terms of finding a job.

Mar 13, 2011 - 8:22am
meph:
dongeiss:
Hamilton:
Take the language that you think you'll enjoy the most because honestly, you won't become proficient enough in four years (even with study abroad) to be able to do work in the native country.

Do that. I speak four languages but would never feel comfortable doing business in anything but English.

Agreed. Especially if you're just now starting, there's no way you're going be anywhere near proficient enough to do business in the language. I speak German well enough to get around Germany, but no way in hell is any firm going to hire me because I can order coffee or tell a taxi where to go in Germany... it's really a non-factor in terms of finding a job.

Yea, good call on that. So it basically just adds culture to your resume rather than being a functional skill?

Best Response
Mar 13, 2011 - 2:32pm
Higheck123:
meph:
dongeiss:
Hamilton:
Take the language that you think you'll enjoy the most because honestly, you won't become proficient enough in four years (even with study abroad) to be able to do work in the native country.

Do that. I speak four languages but would never feel comfortable doing business in anything but English.

Agreed. Especially if you're just now starting, there's no way you're going be anywhere near proficient enough to do business in the language. I speak German well enough to get around Germany, but no way in hell is any firm going to hire me because I can order coffee or tell a taxi where to go in Germany... it's really a non-factor in terms of finding a job.

Yea, good call on that. So it basically just adds culture to your resume rather than being a functional skill?

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great thing to do, and it's another way to possibly connect with a contact/interviewer. For example, an MD that I spoke to at one of the top Restructuring groups on the street had one of his degrees in German Lit and I think it's part of the reason he was willing to speak to me (he wasn't an alum of my school). People also tend to be impressed if you're able to convey a high level of language proficiency (one interview in particular, it came up that some of courses I take are taught in German). Just don't get it in your mind that you're going to walk into an interview for an entry level banking or consulting position in Germany or a company that does work in Germany, and expect your intermediate proficiency to be a major asset to you.

I personally love languages and would suggest that you do try to pick one up. It can only help, especially if you do end up working internationally later in your career.

Mar 12, 2011 - 4:33pm

If you are from the US why do you want to go and do that in europe?. For IB I would say a relatively high level of proficiency is to be expected, while for trading I would expect english to be more than enough. I would go with Hamilton's advice, then go and experience the country and language for some 6 months.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!
Mar 13, 2011 - 8:32am

First of all, if you are living in a foreign country, learning the language will be 10x easier.. you can become fluent in 1-2 years, depending on the crowd you hang out with (foreign or english speaking) and how much effort you put into learning the language. I know people who went to germany for college and were able to learn the language enough to read and write at the university level within a year.
As for german vs french, French has the plus of being valuable not only in europe, but in certain parts of canada as well (quebec). I think wikipedia has an article on most spoken languages in the world

Aug 18, 2021 - 7:01pm

Late in to the party, but I would go with french.

Used in a little part of Canada, Africa, some countries in Latin America, France (obviously), Luxembourg, Belgium, East Switzerland (Geneva), Andorra. 

Germany: Strictly Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). 

French is more international, so you can easily use it when travelling and communicate with locals. Also, more people tend to learn it in school and it will allow to start conversations from that, which could come more in handy when networking. Not to mention that Germany's culture is boring af (even Nietzche hated it), which plays an important role when someone gets into a foreign language.

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Aug 18, 2021 - 7:10pm

Continent Europe is tough because lots of places want you to speak 2 languages very well. Client facing roles in Switzerland or Luxembourg often require 3. To make things harder, it's very hard to compete against the Germans, luxembourgish, and Swiss, in interviews because most of them have c1 in 2 languages and b2 in the 3rd.

If you love to travel, French will be much more useful as it's spoken in parts of South America, Europe, Africa, and random island whereas German is only useful in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. If you speak a Romance language already, French will be easier. (I can understand the main point of a newspaper article in French with my broken Spanish).

With all that said, go with whatever one you have more motivation to learn. Without motivation, both will be useless.

Sep 28, 2021 - 7:47pm

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