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Objectives and Philosophy

All Managerial English courses are designed to enable you to communicate more confidently and successfully in English-language management situations. These situations are necessarily diverse, and what exactly you are expected to do in them varies. You may, for example, be asked to write an effective complaint e-mail, give a persuasive business presentation, chair a productive meeting, make a professional telephone enquiry, design clear presentation slides, compose an attractive CV and much more...

Two things about these situations do not vary, however. First, you will always need good English language skills, meaning the ability to avoid major mistakes in pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. Language skills are your building blocks. Second, you will always need good communication skills, meaning the ability to deal appropriately with the social and cultural norms that apply in management communication. Communication skills are your building plans.

A real house is more than just a heap of building blocks or a set of plans, and this is also true for Managerial English: One set of skills is clearly not very effective without the other. What use, for example, is your mastery of the future perfect in the passive voice (as in "By this time next year, much progress will have been made.") if you are unable to 'do the right thing' in a job interview? Conversely, what good will it do you to design perfectly clear presentation slides if on the same slides you are unable to spell essential words correctly (is it "lose" or "loose", "quite" or "quiet", and "Polish" or "polish")?

Thus, courses in Managerial English are as much about learning to avoid major language mistakes as they are about becoming a better communicator. A 'better' communicator, though, is not a person who speaks and writes English that is entirely free of mistakes. Rather, it is a person who is (and not only comes across as) cooperative, realistic, persuasive, organized, clear, friendly, perceptive, trustworthy, open-minded and compassionate -- professional, in short.

To improve both your language and your communication skills in Managerial English, active participation in class and extensive self-study are the keys to success. Even though all classes are interactive seminars and not lectures, you should not expect miracles from simply attending class once a week. Improving your skills requires continuous effort and practice outside of class.

What the courses in Managerial English have to offer is a non-threatening learning environment, some guidance and 'food for thought', room for discussion (and also disagreement), many practical examples and challenges, and -- hopefully -- some fun as well.

Course Programme

Courses in Managerial English are offered for both undergraduate (B.A./B.Sc.) and graduate (M.A./M.Sc.) students.

Graduate courses are taught as part of the Advanced Management Communication six-credit module and currently include Business Ethics (winter semesters) and Rhetoric for Managers (summer semesters). Graduate students can earn a maximum of six credits by completing this module. Any students who choose to participate without the need for credits will receive a graded certificate once they have completed the course.

Undergraduate courses are taught at three consecutive levels:

  • introductory level: Communicating in English (3 CP), Business Grammar (3 CP), Basic Business English (3 CP)
  • higher level: Oral Communication (6 CP), Professional Writing (6 CP)
  • advanced level: Intercultural Communication (6 CP), Business in Context (3 CP)

Please note that these courses are consecutive, meaning that you will be required to complete them in the order given above, starting at the introductory level. At this level, you will be able to choose from Communicating in English, Business Grammar and three identical courses called Basic Business English (two in the summer semesters). Communicating in English and Business Grammar are multi-purpose courses. They can be credited either as Basic Business English or as additional English courses required for the minor in Managerial English (see the entry on Managerial English as a minor subject).

With the exception of Business in Context (summer semesters only), all courses are offered every semester. They are open to all undergraduate students of business administration and economics who register for them via StudIP (see Service & FAQs for details on the registration procedure). Graduate students and students from other departments may be admitted selectively subject to availability of places.

What has changed for B.A. students
1. How to meet the English-language requirement (Studienvorleistung Englisch)
To fulfil the English-language requirement, complete either Communicating in English, Business Grammar or Basic Business English some time between your first and last semester. These three courses are equivalent to the old Business Communication Basics course. Alternatively, find other ways of meeting the English-language requirement (see Service & FAQs).

2. How to complete the (old) Management Communication I module
Having completed one of the three introductory-level courses, attend either Oral Communication or Intercultural Communication (your choice) plus Professional Writing. Talk to your instructor to have your workload reduced to three credits for each course.

What is new for B.Sc. students
As a B.Sc. student, you do not need to show any proficiency in English as part of your studies. You can, however, choose to earn credits from any Managerial English courses you find interesting -- provided you complete them consecutively, as explained above. In addition, you are able to study Managerial English as a full 30-credit minor subject .

Managerial English as a Minor Subject

Managerial English as a minor subject consists of a minimum of 18 credits (max.: 24 credits) from courses I teach, which are supplemented with a minimum of 6 credits (max.: 12 credits) from courses I do not teach.

To earn the 18 to 24 credits required from courses I teach, you will need to complete the following courses in this order:

  1. Basic Business English (3 CP) at the introductory level
  2. both Oral Communication (6 CP) and Professional Writing (6 CP) at the higher level
  3. either Intercultural Communication (6 CP) or Business in Context (3 CP) at the advanced level (you can choose to complete both courses)

To earn the remaining 6 to 12 credits, you will need to complete additional English courses that meet the following three criteria:

  • they are relevant to Managerial English
  • they are associated with ECTS credits or workload
  • they are completed during your studies

This means that you are quite free to decide exactly where and when to earn these additional English credits. You can, for instance, attend further English courses at JLU's language centre or at any other department at any university in Germany or abroad (provided the courses you attend have ECTS credits associated with them). And you can do so before or after or at the same time that you participate in the Managerial English courses I teach.

To ensure that your additional English courses are relevant for Managerial English (and can thus be credited), go by two simple rules. First, relevant courses must be taught and assessed entirely in English. Second, relevant courses must be designed either to improve your English language skills or to build your communication skills in English-language contexts that are closely related to business and management. This will help you determine whether a particular course offer is relevant or not.

Most language practice and communication skills classes taught in English are clearly relevant. This includes the courses Communicating in English (3 CP) and Business Grammar (3 CP) currently offered at our department, and it also applies to most courses taught at JLU's language centre, such as grammar, conversation practice, listening and speaking, current events, presentation skills, job applications, academic writing and the like.

Most traditional lectures, by contrast, are clearly irrelevant although they may be taught in English. This is because attending lectures on Postmodern American Literature, Astrophysics or Structural Engineering at a German university will do nothing for your managerial communication skills. A special rule, however, applies to English-language lectures that you attend while studying abroad. Provided the country where you study is not a German-speaking one, it is possible to earn a maximum of three additional English-language credits for attending any English-language lecture on a managerial subject. This is because attending lectures on US GAAP-based Accounting, Organizational Behaviour or Finance in a foreign country will actually improve your managerial communication skills.

Finally, please be aware that any English language and communication skills you have acquired outside university cannot be credited. Thus, no credits are available for

  • any English courses taken at private language schools in Germany or abroad
  • any English courses taken in school or as a part of your job training prior to studying
  • any tests or certificates of English-language proficiency or management aptitude (TOEFL, IELTS, BULATS, TOEIC, GMAT, etc.) and any preparation courses associated with them
  • having lived, studied or worked in an English-speaking country

If you are in any way uncertain about whether an English course you are planning to attend can be credited towards your Managerial English minor, please contact your instructor.

For suggestions on how to schedule courses when studying for a minor in Managerial English, see Service & FAQs.

Course Descriptions

The following is a brief overview of Managerial English courses currently offered at our department. More detailed information is available from the respective module descriptions.

Undergraduate Courses

Communicating in English (3 CP, summer 2013)

This introductory course focuses on helping students acquire the basic tools for effective business communication -- both in writing and on the telephone. Participants will also learn basic facts about the most important English-speaking countries in the world and how to handle the central differences between them in business contexts. Grading is based on an in-class presentation (10%), a mock telephone call (30%) and a final written examination (60%).

Business Grammar (3 CP, summer 2013)

This basic-level course offers a systematic review of the principles and practice of correct English grammar for business purposes. Participants will be encouraged to test their grammar skills and suggest areas for further improvement. Whether it is verb tenses, adverbs or gerunds, this course will help you learn and apply everything you need to know about essential English grammar (but were afraid to ask). Grading is to be determined.

Basic Business English (3 CP, summer & winter semesters)

This introduction to business and managerial English seeks to help beginners build business-specific vocabulary, unlearn typical German mistakes in English and become more confident in handling routine business encounters, such as professional telephone calls and e-mails. It also introduces students to basic corporate financial statements and briefly reviews key issues in English grammar. Grading is based on an in-class presentation (30%) and a final written examination (70%).

Oral Communication (6 CP, summer & winter semesters)

This higher-level course enables students to become more effective oral communicators in various management settings. Participants will give business presentations and take part in simulated business meetings and job interviews to build essential rhetorical skills and improve their techniques of delivery. Grading is based on a mock job interview (50%) and a portfolio of written assignments (50%).

Professional Writing (6 CP, summer & winter semesters)

This higher-level course enables students to become more effective business writers. Participants will have an opportunity to apply the principles of producing correct, clear and audience-focussed management texts in the course of numerous writing and proof-reading assignments. These will include general business correspondence, memos, CVs/résumés and cover letters. Grading is based on an in-class presentation (25%), a portfolio of written assignments (50%) and a final written examination (25%).

Intercultural Communication (6 CP, summer & winter semesters)

This advanced course enables students to become more effective intercultural communicators. Participants will study essential models of cross-cultural differences and learn how to apply them in diverse business and management settings. Case studies, simulations and team projects will help students increase their awareness of cultural diversity and become more adept at identifying and minimizing potential sources of intercultural miscommunication. Grading is based on an extended in-class presentation (40%) and a portfolio of written assignments (60%).

Business in Context (3 CP, summer semesters only)

This advanced lecture/discussion enables students to develop a deeper understanding of Anglo-American mindsets, habits and values. Based on the insight that companies and their managers do not operate in a vacuum, participants will learn about essential aspects of British and American geography, history, politics and society and how they relate to business. Grading is based on a mid-term examination (50%) and a final examination (50%).

Graduate Courses

Advanced Management Communication - Business Ethics (6 CP, winter semesters only)

This seminar is targeted at advanced students who have an interest in learning about the ethical dimensions of business decisions. Using classic case studies, various moral dilemmas and extensive reading assignments, the course will challenge students to develop a more critical and thoughtful perspective on corporate and managerial decision-making. Participants will also practice how to use central ethical principles and analytical techniques in business decisions. Grading is based on an extended in-class presentation (40%) and a final paper (60%).

Advanced Management Communication - Rhetoric for Managers (6 CP, summer semesters only)

Given that a manager’s job is rhetorical by nature, this advanced seminar focuses on enhancing participants’ rhetorical competence. The course first reviews the central concepts and principles of rhetoric and persuasion, and then encourages students to apply them in business contexts. Various simulations, debates and public-speaking exercises will help students learn how to speak clearly and eloquently on a given topic, give persuasive speeches and argue more effectively. Grading is based on an in-class speech (40%) and a final paper (60%).

Abt. Managerial English

Dipl.-Angl. Thomas Wagner

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