Half of all employers in northern Illinois plan to hire more bilingual or multilingual college…
Every good salesman knows that to succeed in business you have to speak your customer’s language, both figuratively and literally.
So earlier this month, when students enrolled in the Professional Sales Program at the NIU College of Business engaged in role play exercises, some of them chose to conduct their interviews in Spanish rather than English.
The idea to provide that option arose from conversations between NIU faculty and the board of corporate advisors that help ensure the nationally ranked program continues to graduate students prepared to excel in sales from Day 1. Those companies told the program that today’s business world increasingly demands individuals who are multilingual.
That insight aligns with a survey conducted by NIU last fall, in which half of the employers across the northern Illinois region said that they plan to hire more bilingual or multilingual college graduates. Around 75 percent said that the ability to communicate effectively in more than one language is helps customer relations and improves customer retention and satisfaction.
To help meet the growing demand for bilingual employees, NIU now offers a program where students who pass a test certifying that they are bilingual, can receive 12 hours of foreign language credit toward their undergraduate degree.