Meet Sarah—a Global Export Manager in the Consumer Goods sector.
Understanding and having an awareness of cultural differences is key when working for a global business as it helps to mitigate miscommunications & misunderstandings between team members.
Languages: English, French
Grew Up In: St. Louis, MO
College: University of Missouri – St. Louis
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (emphases in International Business & Supply Chain Management)
- Bachelor of Arts in French
Study Abroad: Lyon, France
How have your language and cultural skills supported and/or enhanced your professional opportunities?
I started my undergraduate studies as undeclared. The only classes that really interested me during my first year were anything to do with French. At the time, I wasn’t sure where it would take me, but I followed my passion. Over the next few years, I began to expand my studies to include international business but couldn’t find an internship that really fit my strengths. After meeting with a professor, he recommended to explore supply chain management, which I added to my studies.
During my last semester, I attended an onsite networking event for the supply chain department to learn more about the industry. I was introduced to team members from a global corporation and gave my elevator speech, unsure of what to expect. As it turns out, they were looking to hire someone that would manage export logistics to Canada; meaning, my degrees (international business, supply chain, and French) all fit perfectly. I couldn’t believe it!
This encounter plus my studies allowed me to find a job before graduating. Since then, I have been able to grow at my company holding various roles within the international logistics team.
You never know where learning a second, third, or even fourth language will take you!
What advice would you share with current language learners or those considering studying a language?
There are numerous opportunities that arise from learning a new language such as traveling to a new destination, connecting with new people, and even landing a job in a new field. Follow what inspires you as this will help to carve a path in a field that you are passionate about.
It’s often said that English is the language of global business, and because of that, language skills aren’t necessary to succeed. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
When learning a new language, you not only learn the actual language, but also about the culture of those who are native speakers. Understanding and having an awareness of cultural differences is key when working for a global business as it helps to mitigate miscommunications & misunderstandings between team members.
Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LangConnectsFdn on social media.