We live in an exciting era propelled by globalization. Eager entrepreneurs can forge partnerships around the world, marketing to potential clients and customers in every country. In this hyper-connected age, it’s more important than ever to expand your reach – but how can you grow your business if you can’t communicate with the majority of the population?
Your business opportunities will only multiply if you take the time to master more languages. Here are some of the best languages to learn for business in the 21st century:
- Mandarin Chinese: Mandarin is the most spoken language on the globe, with approximately 15% of all people speaking it as their primary language. China is poised to overcome the United States as the country with the largest GDP: if you learn Mandarin Chinese you can appeal directly to the Chinese businessmen and women making investments and moves right here in the United States. It’s one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, but having “fluent in Mandarin” on your resume will certainly set you apart.
- Spanish: Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world, only falling behind Mandarin. There are about 405 million native speakers of Spanish. Getting a grasp on the language will give you a huge boost when conducting business in Spain, Latin America, and even right here in the United States. Plus, Spanish is one of the simplest languages to learn for English speakers. According to the US Foreign Service Institute you can become proficient with just six months of classes.
- Arabic: Learning Arabic is your entry point into the ever-expanding economies in the Middle East and Africa. Oil and construction industries have made millionaires out of many Arabic-speaking entrepreneurs, and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them. This market is growing rapidly as consumers are eager to flex their purchasing power. Begin taking lessons soon, though – it will take you about 88 weeks to become proficient.
- German: Germany is the most powerful economic force in Europe and has one of the biggest export markets, period. Many employers are looking to hire candidates with a background in German. With Brexit on the horizon German-language jobs are set to increase – secure your future by learning this language in your spare time. It’s not as challenging as Mandarin or Arabic, and will take about six months to master.
- Portuguese: Mainly spoken in Portugal and Brazil, this language is becoming increasingly important for entrepreneurs with the rise of Brazil to the forefront of the global economy. The largest economy in Latin America is the perfect place to expand and diversify if you can speak the language. Portuguese is closely related to Spanish; if you want to overachieve consider picking up both languages.
Kendall’s business school has fully embraced the future of business, offering an International Business concentration for students looking to operate a successful business in a competitive worldwide market. Learn more about our International Business program and how you can study abroad in Brazil, France, Turkey, Germany, or Spain while earning your degree.