Do you dream of being a CEO of a multinational company?
Do you want to have your own successful start-up?
Are you anxious to climb the corporate ladder?
If you’ve answered yes at least once to those questions, you’ve come to the right article.
To break into the world of business, you need two weapons: an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree and a mastery of business English.
I’ll show you how to achieve both in three steps.
You’ll learn how to prepare your English for an MBA program, succeed at MBA-level exams and even get a head start with online business classes.
What to Know Before You Enroll in an MBA Program
- Communication skills are vital: Your mastery over business English should be pretty strong, especially when it comes to speaking. Focus on being an efficient communicator and the rest will follow.
And that’s exactly what the resources in this article will help you with!
- It’s what you do with an MBA that counts: An MBA won’t automatically land you a fancy job. It’s your skills and your connections that’ll ultimately help you.
- Be prepared to work very hard: Don’t adopt a laid-back attitude. Visit your professor to ask questions during office hours (the daily or weekly time when professors see students without appointments), read extra material and be sure to speak up in group discussions.
- Internships are important: You need to keep building your CV with adequate work experience. Don’t rely on your MBA alone. Look for opportunities and jobs where you can learn from your seniors and industry professionals.
3 Steps to MBA Success for the Determined Business English Student
As an MBA student, you’ll be expected to have a working knowledge of business English and a firm grasp on fundamental business concepts.
There’s absolutely no need to worry, as the three steps below will prepare you for your graduate-level exams as well as help you gain all the skills that are highly valued at any workplace.
1. Learn to Speak Like a CEO
As a student of business, you need to learn how to take charge, manage a group of workers and assume a leadership role. You need to inspire and motivate your co-workers and command respect from them.
Of course these skills will be valuable in the workplace. But speaking like a CEO will also impress your professors and earn you top marks at your MBA program.
Study Business Words in Your Downtime
Business English relies on certain jargon (special words that are used only in certain jobs/contexts). In your MBA course, you’ll come across a lot of business-related terms you may be unfamiliar with. You’ll succeed if you practice these words during your free time or even before the semester starts.
- FluentU is the best tool to learn business English the way native speakers really use it.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like business dialogues, inspiring speeches, news and more—and turns them into personalized English lessons. It has a huge collection of English videos that people in the English-speaking world actually watch.
More to the point, FluentU has an entire business category filled with authentic business-related videos covering six language levels.
To show the variety of videos even inside this single category, real-world business videos on FluentU include “Introducing Business Colleagues,” “Business Buzzwords,” “Control Your Inbox!” and “What Warren Buffet Thinks About Cash.”
An added bonus is that if you want to work on other topics later, simply use the same, familiar FluentU platform to learn with videos from other categories, such as “Science and Tech,” “Politics and Society” or mix it up with “Arts and Entertainment” or “Health and Lifestyle.”
Every spoken word is subtitled, complete with an in-context definition, image and multiple example sentences.
All you have to do is tap or click on one of the words in those subtitles to get more information. For example, if you tap on the word “brought,” you will see this:
Plus, these great videos are all accompanied by interactive features and active learning tools, like multimedia flashcards and fun games like “fill in the blank.”
If you are interested in watching fun, relevant videos and practicing language actively in the process, be sure to create a FluentU account and try it out on your computer, iOS or Android device!
- This list of MBA terms from Vocabulary.com will show you the kind of words that are commonly used in business scenarios.
- This list from MBAPundit covers some key words that are bound to show up in a business exam or course textbook.
Keep Business Books on Your Bookshelf
If you always have a great business-related book on your bookshelf, it’s easy to practice CEO-style speech. You need to be able to read and understand an issue from multiple perspectives.
You can kickstart the process with “BusiBUZZ,” which will teach you buzzwords (new, popular terms) currently in use in business circles, as well as some valuable advice on how to climb the corporate ladder. You’ll have the right words for every occasion.
If you prefer an online option for your digital bookshelf, the website Dreamreader features comprehension exercises from global news articles and is suited for a variety of English proficiency levels.
2. Get a Head Start with Online MBA Classes
The internet is filled with high-quality and often free educational business resources. Before you enroll in your MBA program, you might want to look at online courses to get a clear idea of what you’ve signed up for. These classes will also prevent you from falling behind once your MBA program actually starts.
For instance, this edX series called “Essentials for MBA Success” will teach you some of the business fundamentals in accounting, finance, math and data analysis. It includes four courses that each take about six weeks to complete. It’s perfect to understand how ready you are for an MBA and prepare your knowledge before you enroll.
This paid “MicroMasters” program from the University of Maryland can actually give you a jump on your MBA program. It includes seven MBA-level classes on the language of business, leadership skills, economics and more. You’ll get a certificate when you complete it and you can put the credits towards a full online MBA at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
If you enjoy those courses, there are many more high-quality online language and business-related courses on edX, including degree and certificate programs.
As a business professional, you’ll have to efficiently communicate with diverse groups of people in a diplomatic and courteous way. In an MBA program, you’ll attend seminars and networking events where you can make valuable connections that’ll be of use later—and for that you need top-notch communication skills.
Udemy’s “Corporate Communication Strategies for Business Success” course focuses on common communication problems and practical solutions for them. Another Udemy course, “Essential Business English,” will help you use business vocabulary to navigate a variety of professional situations, and also brush up on your reading and grammar skills.
Udemy is another popular online educational platform that you can explore to continue building out your resume.
3. Use Business Exam Prep Resources
Most MBA programs will want to see that you’ve passed a graduate-level exam like the GRE, a general knowledge test, or the GMAT, which is specifically focused on business and management skills.
To do well in your business exams, you need to be familiar with the exam format and have the right business English skills. There are plenty of online resources to help you prepare for an MBA exam as well as online tests to figure out your learning progress.
- Manhattan Prep is a storehouse of information, tips and advice to excel on the GRE or GMAT (among other tests). You’ll learn about common mistakes that you can avoid, important vocabulary and study hacks as well as read about some first-person accounts to be inspired.
- Memrise has flashcards covering 5,000 words that appear in a number of competitive exams that you may need for your MBA application, including the GRE and GMAT.
- GradeUp has practice tests devoted to MBA vocabulary, as well as relevant articles, quizzes and other study material.
- TCYonline has a short, 25-minute test that focuses on your MBA English and grammar. These practice tests will prepare you for the real thing while building your confidence.
To succeed in business, superior language skills are a must. The good news is that anyone—and I mean anyone—can become a successful MBA student and business English speaker if they have the will to do so. So come up with a study plan, do your lessons regularly, look for every opportunity to apply what you’ve learned and you’re on the road to success.
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.