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Service and FAQs

Frequently-Asked Questions


Studying Managerial English

How do I participate in a Managerial English course at the department?


My Giessen B.A. programme requires a business English certificate (Studienvorleistung Englisch). How do get it?


What does the change to the B.Sc. programme mean for me as a B.A. student?


As a B.Sc. student, how long will it probably take to complete a minor in Managerial English?


I am an exchange student and I speak little or no German. Can I still participate in Managerial English courses? And what if I'm a native speaker of English?


Using Managerial English

Where do I look up the meanings of words to understand or translate a text?


How can I improve my managerial English?


How do I prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?


Getting Help with Managerial English

Can I get a reference or a letter of recommendation for graduate studies, a semester abroad or an internship?


Do you translate, proof-read or edit my English-language seminar paper or thesis?


Can you help me translate official company documents (internship certificates, annual reports, advertisements, etc.) into English?


Do you proof-read my English-language job application (CV/résumé and cover letter)?




Attending Managerial English courses

To attend one or more Managerial English courses, you will need to register via the StudIP system. Course dates and times are determined two weeks before the start of each semester, and StudIP registration for all courses starts one week before lectures begin. Before registering, however, please consult the relevant module descriptions to make sure you meet the requirements for participating in these courses.

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Compulsory business English for B.A. students

All B.A. students are required to demonstrate basic proficiency in business English before they are awarded their degree. There are three alternative ways of meeting this English-language requirement (Studienvorleistung Englisch).

The first is to obtain an appropriate business English certificate from either Volkshochschule or a private language school. The standard certificate to fulfil the English-language requirement is the Cambridge Business English Certificate (BEC) Preliminary. Extensive self-study materials for BEC Preliminary test preparation are available from the departmental library.

If Cambridge BEC Preliminary is not an option for whatever reason, there are several alternative certificates (also offered by Volkshochschulen and other language schools) that fulfil the English-language requirement. These include:
  • the TELC Certificate in English for Business Purposes (Intermediate level)
  • the LCCI English for Business Certificate (Level 1) written and oral examination
  • the BULATS, if passed with a minimum of 40 points each in reading/listening, speaking and writing
  • the TOEIC, if passed with a minimum of 275 points each in listening and reading, and a minimum of 120 points each in speaking and writing
The TOEFL is not a test of business English skills; therefore, it cannot be credited as Studienvorleistung Englisch.

The second way of meeting the English-language requirement is to complete either Communicating in English or Business Grammar or the Basic Business English course (three alternatives to choose from in the winter semester, two in the summer semester) at any time between the first and the last semester of your B.A. studies. These three courses have replaced the old Business Communication Basics course.

The third alternative is to try to meet the English-language requirement while studying abroad. This involves participating in specialized business English classes in addition to the regular business or economics courses you plan to attend. To ensure that the course you have selected from your host university's programme meets the criteria of the English-language requirement, please contact your instructor before going abroad.

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Changes for B.A. students

There are two small changes for B.A. students.

First, to fulfil your English-language requirement, you now simply complete either Working with English or Basic Business English. These two alternative courses have replaced Business Communication Basics at the introductory level.

Second, you will still be able to earn an additional six credits from the Management Communication I module. Simply attend either Oral Communication or Intercultural Communication in the summer semester plus Professional Writing in the winter semester. Since each of these courses is now 6 CP, talk to your instructor to have your workload reduced to three credits for each course. Due to the two-semester structure of the old Management Communication I module, it is (still) not possible to earn six credits from both courses in a single semester.

All other rules that apply to studying English as part of our department's B.A. programme remain unchanged: Studienvorleistung Englisch -- whether completed at our department or at an external language school -- can still be made to count either no credits (0 CP) or three credits (3 CP), as needed. Also, as before, it is not possible to earn six credits from combining Studienvorleistung Englisch (3 CP) with just one part of the two-semester Management Communication I module. Taken on its own, each part of Management Communication I counts 0 CP -- it is only in combination that the two parts count for six credits.

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Exchange students

If you speak little or no German, the only Managerial English course not suitable for you is Basic Business English, because this course systematically contrasts German v. English language use. All other courses are open to you, subject to availability of places. If, however, you are a native speaker of English, the only courses appropriate for you are my Master's level courses -- any courses taught at Bachelor level are not challenging enough by far.

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References

The department's examination office provides a standard letter of recommendation in English for students who wish to apply for graduate studies at other universities. If you need an additional reference, however, I will be happy to provide one if you have completed at least two of my courses. The reason for this 'two-course requirement' is that I need a good impression of your language skills, personality and work ethic to evaluate them in a fair way. So, if you have completed at least two Managerial English courses with me and need a reference or a letter of recommendation, please come see me during office hours. Please remember to bring in the relevant forms to fill in (if any) and your curriculum vitae (in German or English).

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Vocabulary problems

For rough-and-ready translations of everyday words and newer expressions into German, use LEO. For translating stock phrases and proverbs, phrasen.com is more useful. More professional and accurate translation -- including translations from German into English -- are best done using reliable printed dictionaries, which provide indispensable information on the meanings of words and expressions in context. You may, for example, want to consult PONS Großwörterbuch (G 91/115) or Schäfer's Wirtschaftswörterbuch (G 91/84) at the departmental library.

One of the most authoritative sources of explanations and definitions in English is the Oxford English Dictionary. For technical terms from business and economics, try either The Economist's A to Z of Economics Terms or BizEd's searchable Glossary of Business Terms.

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Improving Managerial English

The only way to improve your language and communication skills is to study and practice regularly and over a long period of time. There are no shortcuts in this area, so don't waste your money on so-called 'crash courses'.

It is much more productive to
  • make a habit of reading Business Spotlight on a regular basis (this magazine is specifically designed for German learners and offers articles on various business topics as well as a wide range of language exercises; it is available at the library)
  • follow current events and English-language news in your area(s) of interest, using podcasts and other multimedia contents from quality sources, such as The Economist or BBC News
  • systematically write down, look up and study new words and expressions to build your vocabulary and improve your spelling
  • initially complete additional grammar and vocabulary exercises online; then use Eva L. Easton's vast collection of online resources for learning business English, selecting either the particular skills you would like to improve (speaking, listening, reading or writing) or the topics you are interested in (everything from accounting to taxes)
  • practice more specific writing skills using Purdue University's OWL Exercises
  • find a partner for tandem learning (either face-to-face or via e-mail) through JLU's language centre

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English-language coursework


I do not translate, proof-read or edit any of my students' English-language seminar papers or theses. After all, this coursework is supposed to reflect your own effort. If you still feel that you need help with your English, however, I may be able to put you in touch with advanced students of English who may be willing to proof-read your coursework for a fee.


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Translating company documents


I do not translate company documents for free, and there is a simple reason for this. If a company decides to publish a document in English, it ought to have someone on its staff who is qualified to do that. If the company does not have such a person on its staff, then it needs to hire (and pay!) a freelancer to do the job.


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Job applications in English


If you have attended my Professional Writing course, there is a fair chance that you are able to produce an effective job application in English. If not, follow the advice provided by the University of Westminster and Purdue's Online Writing Lab. Also, you may want to consult one of the useful how-to guides available in the departmental library. If you would still like to have me take a final look at your CV/résumé and cover letter, bring in both documents for proof-reading during my office hours. Please bring in printouts of your documents (no electronic files, please) and have them written in English (I do not run a translation service).

Please be aware that this service is available only for students who have completed at least one introductory and one-higher level class with me. All others should learn the basics first.


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Preparing for the TOEFL


If you want to study at a North American university, the near-universal requirement is that you score a certain number of points on the so-called Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). To take the TOEFL at the nearest test centre (located in Frankfurt/Main), you need to

  • register for it at toefl.org (and pay a hefty fee, of course)
  • prepare for it using self-study materials available from the departmental library

I do not offer TOEFL preparation courses because the TOEFL has nothing to do with managerial English. It is simply a measure of your proficiency in standard American English for general and academic purposes -- and a money-spinner for the company offering it. Its scores are valid for no more than two years.


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Time required for the minor


Assuming you are able to earn an average of seven to eight English credits per semester, the full 30-credit minor in Managerial English can be completed in four semesters. Please keep in mind, however, that it is strongly recommended to attend at least one or two additional English language courses at the language centre (ZfbK) in your first year of studies already. This will not only help you 'keep your hand in the water', but it will also result in a less busy schedule later.


Given that you can earn a minor in Managerial English in very different ways (see the teaching section for details), here are three alternative schedules to illustrate what is possible within these guidelines.


Schedule 1 (Illustration)


Semester

Managerial English courses

Additional English courses

Winter

Basic Business English (3 CP)

Communicating in English (3 CP) @ FB 02

Summer

Oral Communication (6 CP)

Grammar (2 CP) @ ZfbK

Winter

Professional Writing (6 CP)

Conversation (2 CP) @ ZfbK

Summer

Intercultural Communication (6 CP)

Current Events (2 CP) @ ZfbK

 

Total: 21 credits

Total: 9 credits



Schedule 2 (Illustration)


Semester

Managerial English courses

Additional English courses

Winter  

Business Grammar (3 CP) @ FB 02
General English (2 CP) @ ZfbK
Conversation (2 CP) @ ZfbK

Summer

Basic Business English (3 CP)

English for the Job (2 CP) @ ZfbK

Winter

Professional Writing (6 CP)
Oral Communication (6 CP)

 
Summer

Business in Context (3 CP)

Intercultural Comm. (2 CP) @ ZfbK
Writing Workshop (1 CP) @ ZfbK

 

Total: 18 credits

Total: 12 credits



Schedule 3 (Illustration)


Semester

Managerial English courses

Additional English courses

Winter

Basic Business English (3 CP)

 
Summer

SEMESTER ABROAD

Financial Accounting (3 CP)*
Presentation Skills (3 CP)

Winter

Professional Writing (6 CP)
Oral Communication (6 CP)

 
Summer

Intercultural Communication (6 CP)
Business in Context (3 CP)

 
 

Total: 24 credits

Total: 6 credits



* special rule: 3 CP for one English-language management lecture attended abroad


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Abt. Managerial English

Dipl.-Angl. Thomas Wagner

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