What langauge should I take?

messianic's picture
Rank: Baboon | 100

I attend a target and am interested in finance after graduation. My school requires at least 2 semesters of foreign language. I took Spanish for 3 years in HS so i guess the logical thing to do is to take Spanish. However, I think it looks pretty unimpressive on a resume/transcript.

I was thinking of taking 2 semesters of elementary Japanese. I'm interested in learning a new, more exotic language. Will it at all help me for finance? Of course I probably won't become fluent in the language, but will the Japanese courses look impressive for recruiting?

Comments (11)

Apr 8, 2009

If your cockasian i would do chinese if its offered.

Apr 8, 2009

C++/VBA

Apr 8, 2009

It isn't going to help you unless you become fluent in the language. For Chinese, Japanese, German, or whatever you take, you will need to have at least business level fluency if you hope to get a job in an area that requires the language. Elementary level just isn't going to cut it.

Now, if you do attain a solid fluency level in the language, it will help you stand out. But you'd better make sure you are actually competent at whatever level you put down on your resume. Nothing is worse than having a an interviewer who speaks that language, and finding out that you can't even hold a basic conversation with them.

My point is that you should not expect a few semesters of the language to really give you an edge in the hiring process. So do some research on languages, and take a language that you actually want to learn, and you think you will enjoy.

Apr 8, 2009

Although I don't know a ton, I have an opinion to offer.

T4KUZA, I was under the impression that messianic has no intention of becoming fluent in the language or writing it on his resume to stand out. Only that if they look at his grade transcripts, they will see he took Japanese and think that is much more challenging and thus more better looking than taking Spanish.

I've heard Japanese is hard, as most of us have. I would go the route of Spanish, because you might get a higher GPA in the end because of it. Although Japanese is more challenging, that alone may not be enough to recover if it ends up hurting your grades. Your not going to use it anyways and isn't the focus of your future at all. So I wouldn't take unnecessary risks with something that isn't the focus of your education. Unless you know your going to be a lot more motivated to learn a harder language like Japanese over Spanish, I would go with Spanish.

I'm in High School now, a whole other world, so don't take anything I say as gold. Just an opinion. Good luck too.

Apr 8, 2009
Icey:

Although I don't know a ton, I have an opinion to offer.
T4KUZA, I was under the impression that messianic has no intention of becoming fluent in the language or writing it on his resume to stand out. Only that if they look at his grade transcripts, they will see he took Japanese and think that is much more challenging and thus more better looking than taking Spanish.

Yeah, I know he has no intention of becoming fluent, so I was pointing out that unless he was fluent, he shouldn't expect any real advantages from a hiring point of view. Now don't get me wrong, studying a language is very useful, and I highly recommend it.

As for the challenging aspect, that probably won't be as important as the reason you chose to study the language. If you plan on working in a Latin American based division, then of course any mention of learning Spanish would work in your favor.

Apr 8, 2009

C++, VBA (Macro), and focus on OOP

Apr 8, 2009

Hey, I took Japanese in University (started frosh year until graduation) and it has helped me a lot.

Even though I'm not at the level to hold a business meeting in the language, I have been the "hero" on many occasions after managing to secure the e-mail address or fax number of potential Japanese buyer.

We have no Japanese office and no Japanese-speaking people in the department.

If you're interested in the language, and especially the culture, of Japan then go for it! I wish you luck

Apr 8, 2009

Even though icey is in high school, his advice is good. Taking two semesters of a more difficult language won't really help; it'd be a different question if you were planning to study abroad or become fluent, but no one will see your transcript until you already have a job offer; they'll judge you by the difficulty of your major and MAYBE your minor, certainly not which language you chose for two semesters. Take something that interests you, and you can do well in, though if you think you can achieve fluency in spanish fairly easily, that would be a plus.

Anoth point is that asian languages are not as valuable as you'd think; most business is still conducted in english, and if you look at just a few resumes you'll realize that banks have no shortage of applicants who are fluent in asian languages. Personally, I'd take hebrew; jewish MDs will be glad to see you're a fellow member of the tribe.

Apr 8, 2009

As a half Japanese dual citizen I am continuing Japanese at my university. I had an interview with an alumni who was fluent in Japanese, at a Japanese firm's American branch, and he said spending a semester or year in Japan (or whatever you are studying) is important to gain a fundamental understanding. Waseda has a great study abroad thing (and has a good business program on the side).

I spent last summer in Kyoto and I realized I came out with great casual speaking Japanese (stayed at a cool guest house) while also getting a good sense of the written language. I think my English got worse too. I'm planning to take Business Japanese in a few years (it's after advanced).

I don't know about what your situation will be but here 1st, 1.5 (for those who already know basics), and even some 2nd level language classes are five days a week, 9 AM. Note that these levels usually last 2 semesters. Once you hit intermediate or advanced it is less intense/not every day.

Apr 9, 2009

Do some forum searches, this topic has been discussed a few times before and there were a number of quality responses.

As a summary, I'm in the middle of a multi-year process of teaching myself Spanish (not so easy when you're an analyst). Make sure that if you're studying the language, you're doing it because you actually want to learn it. Don't do it to get a job or look impressive, because the experience will be nothing but a struggle. If you aren't enjoying yourself, nothing will stick.

In terms of how it will look on your transcript, few people will be impressed. By the time most places look at your transcript, they are already seriously considering you. Taking Japanese over Spanish will not earn you anything more than a brownie point or two, and you will lose serious points if your grades suffer as a result.

~~~~~~~~~~~
CompBanker

Apr 9, 2009
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