GMC Unveils New Path to Certification

You don’t necessarily need to be fluent in several languages to be a strong player in international business. The Whitmore Global Management Center recognizes this and recently unveiled a new English track, which will focus on cultural competency rather than language, for the Global Management Certificate.

“Regardless of whether a student is studying marketing, finance, supply chain, or any other discipline, the ability to understand cultural and economic differences in the marketplace is paramount to success in today’s world,” says Jonathon Wood, managing director of the GMC.

Before the English track was offered, only students who spoke a second language at a 300-level proficiency could obtain the certificate, a requirement that excluded many students with otherwise strong international expertise.

“Before we created this certificate, I’d have students come to me asking if they could get the certificate without the language requirement,” Wood says. “They weren’t fluent in a language because they didn’t serve a foreign-speaking mission or didn’t know about the certificate until after they got into the Marriott School, so they no longer had time for the prerequisite language course load. Unfortunately, we had to tell them no. Now, I’m excited for those students and the possibilities this certificate carries for them and the program.”

Recent articles by Forbes and Harvard Business Review have noted that English is the No. 1 international language for business. However, it is crucial for businesspeople to be aware of the cultural cues and social etiquette of the place where they are doing business.

“International businessmen and women need to be able to see who is the most important person in the room and that everyone is paying deference to that person, or when to bow lower than another, or if it’s taboo to show the bottom of their feet or speak of certain topics,” Wood says. “Being able to notice those little nuances makes negotiating and doing business easier.”

To make the English track comparable to the existing certificate tracks, students will be required to take six credits of coursework instead of a 300-level business language course. The alternate course options include:

  • Culture As a Language of Business – Currently in development through the U.S. Department of Education Center for International Business Education and Research grant, this course will teach students about how cultural nuances affect the way business is done in various regions of the world
  • Electives currently offered across campus that are specific to international culture and international business, such as courses offered by the European Studies program
  • An introductory language class (i.e. Spanish 101)

“Students who are seeking international careers but don’t speak a second language have the same need to develop the tools that will help them be competitive in finding and developing international business careers,” Wood says. “This new track will help them do that.”

Interested students can get more information from the GMC in 360 TNRB.