After CFA program completion, I believe I would have enough spare time to learn a new foreign language. Anyone here have an idea if Spanish or Chinese could be an added value to a financial analyst? My ex professor believe learing chinese is a good investment however I find Spanish more interesting. Thanks for your feedback
If you are committed to a career in emerging markets, language skills would be value added. Otherwise, it is not worth it from a career perspective – that time is better spent on learning the business or passing your CFA exams. My parents are European, and I speak French and German fluently (and took about 8 years of Spanish in school). It’s fun to know the languages, but they are not really useful to a U.S. equity analyst. The major value-added for me is being able to read foreign newspapers without needing to translate – local views often differ from the views you get in U.S. papers. Also, you have to realize that if you don’t use the foreign language regularly, you will lose a lot of it… think about how much maintenance time Chinese will require. Unless you live in China and can practice all the time, it’s probably not worth it.
If you’re a westerner, Spanish is substantially easier (b/c of writing). There is some value in that Spanish is spoken in many different countries, but then none of them are likely to be as dominant in the world economy as Chinese. Chinese is an impressive accomplishment on a resume if you can get to conversational and have an ability to read it quickly, but it probably takes substantially longer to master. The industry will almost always have a supply of native chinese or chinese immigrant descendants that know chinese and also speak english, so I’m not sure if it will be a huge differentiating feature on your resume, other than a show of dedication. This is somewhat true of Spanish too (supply of native speakers who speak english). There may be more value for a westerner to go to Asia or Latin America and speak the local language. In that case, you’d want to make sure you wanted to go there. AFAIK most signs seem to be pointing to Spanish, since it’s easier and you find it more interesting.
Study spanish. Hotter women and more widely used in the Americas.
Both are hot items right now if you want M&A careers. At least helpful in getting jobs to serve other regions.
Chinese is 20 times harder to learn. The govt categorizes languages 1-3 for analyst pay scales and Chinese is a 3 while Spanish is a 1. To learn Chinese you need to learn intonation and perhaps 1200 characters (which makes you not especially educated or literate). To learn Spanish, you just start talking to the guy at the convenience store.
DirtyZ Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- Hotter women Eh, not sure about that. Have you been to Hong Kong? When they get it right, they get it RIGHT. It is hard to beat Brazilian women, though.
OK, I’m lax to get into this discussion, because it can get crude and objectifying fairly easily, but whether you go Asian or Latina is mostly a matter of taste and personal preference. I’m in the latter category, because I enjoy the Latina personality more than “Asian mystery,” but I know lots of people who prefer Asians, and I understand some of the reasons why. Asians tend to age better than us westerners, though.
I took a year of Mandarin in college ten years ago thinking it would get me a foot in the door into an interational career, but quickly reaized that gaining even conversational fluency was beyond my dedication level. I learned about 300 characters and could speak about 500-600 words at the time, but without continuous practice and study I lost 90 percent of it over the summer break and dropped out of the second year. The other difficulty, as with any language, but especially with a second language, is that dialects are quite different in various parts of the world. China’s population has been so segregated (low levels of travel and national migration), historically, that Mandarin speakers in Hong Kong and those from an interior province have difficulty conversing - so imagine the difficulty you would have as a non-native speaker picking up on the inflectional/tonal and word usage variations. I also speak Spanish at a conversational level and use it as often as I can, but that knowledge has definitely slipped a lot, as well. I had hoped that by learning Mandarin and Spanish on top of English that I could converse fluently with over half of the world population. If you want to stay working in the Americas then Spanish is definitely the way to go. Especially given the increasing importance of Mexico and some South American countries are having on the global economy. And, the Spanish speaking population in the US is forecasted to only grow larger in the future, so there is that whole segment of our country that can be better served in various capacities through bilingual-enabled businesses. Another side point: Although Brazil is/has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world (and their reputation for beautiful beach body babes precedes itself), they don’t speak Spanish there, they speak Portugese.
Thank you all for your feedback.
I’m a chinese guy who spent a year studying Spanish. What languages you learn really depends on how much time you willing to devot to it, and whether you want it to be part of your future career development or just for leisure. Chinese, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult language to learn. There are no standard alphabets, and you basically have unique writings to every word, no simple task. Plus, the same phonetics can have 4 different tones to it, and this in my experience confuses Westerns the most. Spanish is a fun, and much easier language to learn. However, I highly doubt it will be as prominent as Chinese to play an influential role in your career.
Another side point: Although Brazil is/has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world (and their reputation for beautiful beach body babes precedes itself), they don’t speak Spanish there, they speak Portugese… -------------- True, but at least right up front you could read a decent bit of portugese. And in a lot of their business world, depending on the level and type of business, you run into a lot of spanish speakers. My company has required certain people in our brazil office to learn spanish (and english). Generally, people that speak spanish or portugese can learn the other with relative ease.
kevinf12 - While it is true that Spanish and Portugese are quite similar and most who know one find conversing with someone who knows the other doable, I have found that many people simply make the mistaken assumption that because Brazil is located in South America they must speak Spanish. It also isn’t as straightforward as “simply” conversing in two different languages, it is still difficult to come to an understanding, even more difficult, but similar to a Southerner talking to someone who speaks in a Cockney accent. There are also other non-Spanish speaking countries in South America, such as French Guiana (where they speak French), Guyana (where they speak English) and Suriname (where they Dutch).
Probably half of my friends are hispanic and this is something I’ve noticed–Spanish will not have as much of an influence on the U.S. as a lot of people think. Even “ethno-centric” hispanics who are incredibly proud of their culture, if born and raised in America, tend to prefer English as it is most familiar to them. I was at a Spanish-speaking church a few weeks ago and there was more English being spoken than Spanish, especially among the youth. Because of English dominance in American and western media, the younger generation feels more comfortable and more fluent in English. So I tend to doubt the long-term impact Spanish is going to have on America. I actually think it’s unfortunate as Spanish is an incredible, rich language.
"kevinf12 - While it is true that Spanish and Portugese are quite similar and most who know one find conversing with someone who knows the other doable, I have found that many people simply make the mistaken assumption that because Brazil is located in South America they must speak Spanish. It also isn’t as straightforward as “simply” conversing in two different languages, it is still difficult to come to an understanding, even more difficult, but similar to a Southerner talking to someone who speaks in a Cockney accent. " Typically you have more spanish speaking Brazilian’s on the borders of other countries. But within the business world even those Brazilian’s that say they dont speak spanish…well…many of them speak enough to converse/write/read (what most would commonly refer as knowing a language). This is less and less true at lower levels of business and the social rungs as well. When I go there for example, the Taxi driver we always get to go around…no one I know, including myself, that speaks spanish (either 1st or second language) can converse with him. But with everyone in our office (most people) manager and above you can speak spanish just fine.
kkent Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Probably half of my friends are hispanic And the other one is imaginary…
Chinese, according to Jim Rogers. Apparently he’s having his daughter tutored in Mandarin at their new digs in Singapore. “If you were smart in 1807 you moved to London, if you were smart in 1907 you moved to New York, and if you are smart in 2007 you move to Asia.” - Jim Rogers
Ironic, coming from the loser who spends his entire life on an internet forum.
My husband works at a spanish language advertising agency that employees mostly foreign nationals from mexico / S. America. They basically refuse to speak english, even in mixed events where there are gringos they have a hard time making themselves converse in english. Personally I think there is a bit of pride involved. I feel no shame blubbering in a language I hardly know, but thats not typically the case. As for work prospects, although there may be more native speakers of spanish in the US, they typically don’t know the language at a college level and often cannot read or write it. (why the agency hires foreign nationals). There is a mexican girl on my desk, but when spanish speaking clients call I get those calls because she isn’t familiar w/ industry jargon. For some reason or another Asian immigrants seem to maintain their language skills better (chinese school every weekend and such). I think I might still prefer chinese though as I have rarely seen jobs that list spanish as a requirement.
Technical skill and financial ability are more important than learning languages. If you like Chinese or Spanish - you could probably just get a job there instead. I had an offer for a job in Shanghai after college, but was advised by the head of HR of the company (Fortune 500 company) that it might be better to develop my management / financial skills in the US before moving abroad. Anyway - I speak spanish and am conversational in chinese. I studied both in college and lived in China for 3.5 months and Spain for 6 months. You can learn the Chinese language - the grammar is easy. But as far as the characters, you have to memorize them which will take years to know and develop. Good experience though - - good luck with everything.