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Why Business German?

Developing fluency in the German language and culture represents a significant and important long-term investment in your professional future. Germany boasts the largest economy in the European Union (itself the largest in the world), is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, and is the largest exporter in the world. It is also a key trading partner with other European Union countries, as well as with Japan, China, and the United States. Furthermore, there is a vibrant German business presence in the Southeastern United States, with over 250 German companies and a chamber of commerce located within a few hours of Elon University. Being fluent in the German language and culture will give you a competitive edge that many other American business professionals do not have and will open doors of opportunity with companies that are based in Germany or do business there.

About the program

At the heart of the Business German Program at Elon is the unique instructional approach that exposes you to the language and culture of the German workplace on the first day of study. No prior knowledge of German is required. Alongside the regular coursework in lower-division German language and culture courses (German 121-222), students in the Business German Program will complete three short online modules each semester that focus exclusively on business-related German topics and that complement topics already being covered in the course. In addition, students in the program will meet twice a month for one-hour language labs, which will be taught by German faculty and will allow for focused instruction, language practice, and in-depth discussion of German business culture and practices. Successful completion of the lower-division courses will prepare you for more advanced and challenging study in upper-division courses (German 321 and above). Coursework at this level will include focused, advanced-level study of German language and culture, including courses covering the language and culture of the German workplace.

Students who complete all Business German Program coursework with an average grade of 83 percent (B) or better qualify to take the prestigious Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (Certificate in Business German), the testing fee for which will be covered by Elon. The Zertifikat is offered through Goethe Institute and is internationally recognized by German companies as proof of business language proficiency. Finally, the Student Professional Development Center at Elon will work with students who complete the program to secure a domestic internship or employment with a company that is based in Germany or does business there.

The Curriculum

The Business German Program at Elon will help you take your career to the next level by giving you the linguistic and cultural skills necessary to navigate German work environments and to communicate effectively in German with clients, business partners, and colleagues. The program curriculum consists of:

1. German language and culture core:

Option A:

  • German 121: Introduction to German Language and Culture, Part I/Business German modules (Fall Semester)
  • German 122: Introduction to German Language and Culture, Part II/Business German modules (Spring Semester)
  • German 221: Experiencing the German-Speaking World, Part I/Business German modules (Fall Semester)
  • German 222: Experiencing the German-Speaking World, Part II/Business German modules (Spring Semester)

Option B:

  • German 121: Introduction to German Language and Culture, Part I/Business German modules (Fall Semester)
  • German 122: Introduction to German Language and Culture, Part II/Business German modules (Spring Semester)
  • Semester abroad at the FH Wiener Neustadt (Fall Semester)
  • Semester abroad at the University of Heidelberg (Fall Semester)
  • German 222: Experiencing the German-Speaking World, Part II/Business German modules (Spring Semester)

2. Advanced language and culture sequence (choose one of the following options):

Option A:

  • German 321: Germany Between Empire and Nazism (Fall Semester)
  • German 322: Germany During and After World War II (Spring Semester)

Option B:

  • German 323: Divided Germany, 1949-89 (Fall Semester)
  • German 324: Germany in the New Millennium (Spring Semester)

Option C:

  • German 321 or 323 (Fall Semester)
  • Semester abroad at the FH Wiener Neustadt (Spring Semester)
  • Semester abroad at the University of Heidelberg (Spring Semester)

Option D:

  • Semester abroad at the FH Wiener Neustadt (Fall Semester)
  • Semester abroad at the University of Heidelberg (Fall Semester)
  • German 322 or 324 (Spring Semester)

Option E:

  • Year abroad at the FH Wiener Neustadt
  • Year abroad at the  University of Heidelberg

3. Advanced Business German sequence:

  • German 373: Business German I (Fall Semester)
  • German 374: Business German II (Spring Semester)
  • Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf

Study abroad at the FH Wiener Neustadt

Students in the Business German Program are strongly encouraged to spend a semester or year abroad at the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Through an Elon exchange program with the FH Wiener Neustadt, Business German students will be able to take courses in English in the Business Consultancy International program, with a focus either in International Accounting and Finance, International Marketing and Sales, or International Human Resources and Management. Business German students will also take level-appropriate German language and conversation courses at the Foreign Language Competence Centre located at the FH Wiener Neustadt. Students with a humanities focus may opt to study abroad with the American Junior Year in Heidelberg through an Elon exchange program.

Business German speaker series

The Business German Program is proud to host the Business German Speaker Series, which brings representatives from German-based businesses in the Southeastern United States to Elon for the purpose of discussing their respective fields, how their fields will develop in the coming decade, what students should do to prepare themselves for internships and employment in these fields, and how knowledge of the German language and culture is indispensable for a successful business career. Students in the Business German program are encouraged to participate in the speaker series, and often will be invited to network with the speakers one-on-one at professional lunch and dinner receptions.

Connection to other programs

The Business German Programcomplements other programs and majors already in place at Elon and is a logical fit for students studying in these areas.

Business Dual-Degree Program

Select students will earn two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in International Business from Elon and a Bachelor of Science in International Management from ESB Business School in Reutlingen, Germany, all in just four years. Students in the program spend their first two years at Elon and their last two years in Germany.  Elon provides comprehensive language and cultural training, including a specialized Business German component that emphasizes context-specific business language and culture, along with general education courses and introductory courses in business subjects. ESB provides upper level business courses and an extended internship with a firm in Germany.

Students can complete the program without having taken any German in high school. ESB Business School is ranked first among German schools for having the best business graduates by the magazine Wirtschaftswoche (their version of Business week).

For more information on this option, see the dual-degree factsheet or contact Dr. Thomas Tiemann, Director of Dual Degree Programs in the Love School of Business.

International Business Major

The study of international business at Elon University begins with a solid grounding in the traditional liberal arts and sciences and builds on the foundation provided by the core curriculum in the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) degree. This preparation is an integral part of becoming an informed, responsible and capable business leader. The international business major advances that commitment and supports Elon’s educational mission by emphasizing the acquisition of business knowledge, the development of international management skills through hands-on learning and experiential activities, and the development of discipline, integrity and an ethic of service. 

The curriculum includes courses in a common core representing the functional business disciplines in accounting, economics, management, marketing, and finance.  International business students also complete a series of courses in international economics, management, and marketing as well as coursework with an international focus in the arts and sciences and a foreign language proficiency at the intermediate level. For more information, click here.

International Studies Major/Minor

Elon offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies. With faculty advice, each student can build a curriculum tailored to his or her interests and strengths. The foundation is built from coursework drawn from a range of subjects, including politics, economics, history, geography, literature, foreign language, religion, society and culture.

International studies is also an attractive option for students who want to double major. The program complements study in many disciplines, including foreign language, political science, history and communications. Because the curriculum draws on the expertise of a diverse interdisciplinary faculty, international studies students benefit from examining issues and ideas from a variety of perspectives. International studies majors also benefit from resources and staff in the Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies, located on campus in Carlton Building.

International studies majors take courses focused on one region of the world. Most students elect to concentrate on one of four regions — Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe or Latin America — although students and their advisers can develop coursework in other regions of the world. Faculty currently are developing a fifth concentration in Middle East studies. These courses cover art, history, philosophy, economics, literature, political science, religion and sociology. The senior seminar is a capstone experience that offers students practice in researching, writing and presenting a senior thesis that builds on their study abroad experiences, foreign language study and regional concentrations. For more information, click here.

Contact Us

Are you ready to take your career to the next level, to see Germany as very few American business professionals can, and to be a key player in a global business environment? Contact Dr. David Neville at 336.278.5889 or Dr. Scott Windham at 336.278.584. You can also download a brochure here.