The Economist has a long-running column “Which MBA?” and a recent post talks about something with which you are all likely well acquainted: the role of foreign languages in education. The article features two French schools: INSEAD and Grenoble School of Management.
Do you think that learning foreign languages is an important factor in deciding an MBA program?
Oct 18th 2011, 16:32 by S.H.
SPEAKING three languages wasn’t enough for Lenka Menden. When it came to choosing where to study for an MBA, she wanted a chance to absorb a new culture and learn yet another tongue. “My first language is Czech, I studied for a degree in business administration in Germany and I went on to take an MSc in Prague,” she explains. “I then worked for three-and-a-half years as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in Canary Wharf.”
Ms Menden turned down the chance of studying at London Business School, instead choosing IESE in Barcelona, because she thought it would open new doors. “Staying in London I would have been in the same environment and there wouldn’t be that many challenges. So I learned a new language alongside my MBA because Spanish is a very important language of business. I have extended my personal network to include people from Mexico, Spain and the Philippines. I can now work anywhere in Europe or in an emerging economy,” she says.
High-profile business schools still teach primarily in English. But many, especially in Europe, are beginning to realise that language tuition is a big selling point. The attraction of learning a language is two-fold. With so many alumni on the market, bi-lingualism distinguishes the exceptional MBA from the run of the mill. And in a global business, the ability to speak languages and understand cultures is vital.
INSEAD, which has campuses in France and Singapore, has a three-language requirement. Students joining its MBA programme must be fluent in English and proficient in at least one other. A third language of a student’s own choice is taught alongside the MBA. Facility in that language is a condition of being awarded an MBA. “It’s about developing a cultural sensitivity and is a way of becoming a global citizen,” says Leila Murat, the school’s assistant director of MBA admissions.
Mandarin is popular on both campuses. A quarter of students are of Asian origin and many Westerners come to the business school specifically to gain insight into doing business in China. Other emerging markets are shaping interest too: Portuguese and Russian are also becoming more popular, says Ms Murat.
Despite Anglophones’ reputation for lazyness in this area, such stringent language requirements don’t seem to be putting off English-speaking students. INSEAD has seen applications from America more than double in the past five years. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks. For one, teaching languages is expensive. The most effective method is face-to-face. That means recruiting native speakers.
But how easy is it to find a native Chinese speaker in a provincial city? At Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France, they can call on the university’s renowned languages department. But responding to students’ demands is not always easy. Japanese teachers are particularly hard to source, says Carol Gally, the school’s language co-ordinator. She says she often has to rely on the partners of people employed on the campus coming forward to teach.
Grenoble’s students are given 72 hours of language tuition over two semesters, with classes running into the early evening after the MBA teaching finishes. Compulsory French classes expose students to everyday situations, official documents and radio and television. Beginners start with the basics, such as how to shop, eat and drink. Other languages are then taught in the medium of French.
At IESE, learning Spanish is a big attraction for international students such as Ms Menden. Although the MBA is taught in English, some second-year modules are in Spanish. The school’s aim is to graduate students fluent in both languages. Ninety per cent of students pass the Spanish element and qualify for what is known as a bi-lingual MBA.
Students are advised to come to Barcelona to attend a summer language school before joining the programme. This makes them more employable, according to Javier Munoz, IESE’s admissions officer. The internships arranged through the business school demand fluency in Spanish; without considerable language skills the offers from Spanish banks, engineering firms and car manufacturers would not be forthcoming. Given the current economic situation in the country, they need all the advantages they can get.
I hope this somber anniversary we will be safe in remembering those lost. As we move closer to a sense of closure, we can’t forget to move forward positively.
French daily Figaro also has a special dossier.
Ten years later, the French have not forgotten their old ally in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks. There are several events throughout the country. These are a selection. If you have more, feel free to post in the comments section for all to see.
The American Embassy in Paris also has a very informative page on 9/11 in Paris.
-Sep 11, 4:30-7:30pm: The American Church in Paris Sep 11 “Becoming a Blessing”
-On Sep. 11 at Paris Trocadero, a French association will be honoring the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with small replicas of the Twin Towers. Information can be found on Facebook, from FACC Chicago and this website.
France-Etats Unis Grenoble is organizing a reception at the Grenoble city hall (Mairie de Grenoble), with US Lyon Consul Mark Schapiro on hand as well as Michel Destot, the Mayor of Grenoble. Info and invitation below.
You are cordially invited to attend the Reception which will be given to celebrate Independence Day:
Friday July 1st at 6:00 PM
in the lounges of the Grenoble City Hall
On this occasion, the Grenoble Mayor invites us to commemorate July 4th, in presence of all those who support Franco-American friendship. We therefore hope that you will be willing to join us, and that you will invite all the American Citizens in your neighborhood: it is your National Day which will be celebrated !
The U.S. Consul in Lyon, Mark Schapiro, will be with us on this occasion.
France-Etats Unis Grenoble, an association that brings together American expats in the Grenoble region and French residents who have an interest in the US, is hosting an event tomorrow on the history of Grenoble. I lived in the city for two years, and I thought some of my readers would be interested. Information below. Happy networking!
L’association France-Etats-Unis Grenoble vous invite à découvrir
Grenoble, son origine, son nom et son histoire,
autour d’un verre
Mercredi 8 juin 2011, à partir de 18h30
à la Maison de l’International
(entrée par le jardin de ville entre Rue Hector Berlioz et Place de Gordes).
Nous aurons la chance d’accueillir un spécialiste de l’histoire de Grenoble,
Alexandre MAVRIDIS, auteur de
« Grenoble, ville d’histoire et de passion » (2007)
et « Les grecs à Grenoble des pionniers à nos jours »,
« Deux siècles de liens historiques avec la France » (2009).
Alexandre viendra partager de nombreuses anecdotes et évènements marquants l’histoire de Grenoble de l’antiquité jusqu’à nos jours.
Il répondra à toutes vos questions telles que : Qui étaient les « Allobroges » ? Quel est le secret de la Bastille ?
D’où vient le nom de la caserne de Bonne ? Que représente la statue sur la Place St Andrée ? Qui était Champollion ?…
Cette présentation en français, d’environ 40 minutes sera suivie d’une discussion libre.
Un apéritif vous attend pour commencer.
Inscrivez-vous auprès April Buchanan, responsable de la communication France/Etats-Unis,
(email@example.com) pour assurer votre place et venez profiter de ce moment à la fois divertissant, sociable et instructif.
You can find out about networking events throughout France at the American Clubs newsletter (PARIS, AIX-EN-PROVENCE, ANGERS – SAUMUR, BIARRITZ, BORDEAUX, CAEN, CANNES, CLERMONT – FERRAND, GRENOBLE, LATTES, LILLE, LYON, MONTPELLIER, NARBONNE, SETE, TOULOUSE, TOURS). Happy networking!
This message for those in the Grenoble area. Cheers!
Like each year when the Spring season is at its best, you are invited to participate to our Spring Garden Party, which will occur:
Thursday May 19th, at the Restaurant-Hôtel “Les Skieurs”, in Le Sappey en Chartreuse, from 7:00 PM
In an exceptional setting, far from city noise, you will spend a very enjoyable evening. A group of young musicians will provide live entertainment. The evening will gather guests from the Grenoble area, and a group of American visitors with the business school: a good opportunity to celebrate the friendship between our communities ! You will find enclosed the detailed program of the evening, as well as the booking instructions. You will note that advance booking is required, as soon as possible, and in any case no later than May 16th. You should therefore make your decision quickly, to join us for this great Spring Garden Party !
See you soon, I hope…on May 19th !
You can see the latest American Clubs newsletter of cultural events (debates, conferences, cocktails, cross-cultural training, etc) organized by different clubs around France. They all bring together French and expats with the goal of fostering cultural exchange and networking opportunities. Yuo can sign up for the newsletter on the site. Happy networking!
You can find the latest issue on their website. Events are scheduled by many different organizations around the country:
PARIS, ANGERS – SAUMUR, BIARRITZ, BORDEAUX, CAEN, CLERMONT – FERRAND, GRENOBLE, LATTES, LILLE, LYON, MONTPELLIER, NARBONNE, SETE, TOULOUSE, TOURS
I originally received this news from the Association France Etats-Unis Grenoble, a great networking group for expats in Grenoble.
The American School of Grenoble (ASG), in the Europole district, is an institute where children can receive an American education from 6th to 12th grade. Founded in 1993, they have recently been granted its international accreditation by the “Council of International Schools”. You can read the press release here.