Doing business in Germany… and beyond!
27 April 2016
All our students have the opportunity to work abroad in their third year for a company or organisation that operates in their chosen language of study. This is an exciting opportunity for our students but also a time where cultural differences and customs can come to the fore.
To help our students working towards a degree in German, we organised a talk by Alex Pickering of the Goethe Institut entitled ‘Doing business in Germany…and beyond’. Pickering has worked with the Goethe-Institut for more than 10 years but also advises on business development projects with companies and organisations. A fluent German speaker, with experience of working in Bremen and Zurich, he has over 30 year’s commercial and international experience in a range of sectors including financial services, energy, education and retail.
Kathryn Muldoon, a final year student studying French and German was keen to share her thoughts on Alex’s talk:
“Understanding the world of business and its etiquette is always a tough challenge for new graduates, let alone the concept of having to do business in another country and language entirely. Alex Pickering from the Goethe Institutvisited the School of Modern Languages on 14 April to help students learn just how to face this challenge and excel.
As the world’s fourth largest economy, trade with Germany is becoming ever more important and with over a thousand British companies operating with the country, there are many opportunities for German speakers to take – if only they know how. Pickering offered excellent insights into the world of business both at home and abroad and had many tips to share on how to find that elusive first job.
Particularly interesting was the difference between business culture in the UK and Germany; while meetings in the UK will often involve some joking and humour, students were assured that this would be a first-class faux-pas in Germany! Those present were able to share their experiences of the culture shock they experienced and the surprises they had on their first visits to Germany including the to-the-point manner of German conversation which was mentioned by a number of participants!
The importance of language learning and the year abroad were underlined throughout Pickering’s talk. Not only do they boost employability and widen job prospects, but they also show a certain adaptability and ability to cope with change. Pickering left the students with some practical tips to improve their employability and the comfort of knowing that breaking into the world of business maybe isn’t as hard as it seems!”
Thank you to Kathryn for taking the time to write up her thoughts on this event.