Adding Spanish to the Global Business Portfolio

Student learns language and cultural context specific to her career goals

Holly Driscoll expects that knowledge of Spanish language and culture will meld with her study of marketing to set her on a path to an exciting global business career.

To reach her goal she enrolled this semester in “Spanish for the Professions—Business,” a course focused on how businesses operate in Spain and Latin America and taught by Professor Iani Moreno of the World Languages & Cultural Studies Department.

“I feel it will definitely give me an advantage with companies in different countries once I graduate,” said Driscoll

Driscoll fell in love with the Spanish culture and lifestyle in spring 2016 when she studied business and Spanish at Suffolk’s Madrid campus.

“I now know what it’s like to live in Madrid, so when we discuss things in class, I feel especially comfortable contributing,” said Driscoll, Class of 2018, a marketing major who has a minor in Spanish. “That experience opened my eyes to a new way of life.”

With many American companies doing business in countries where Spanish is the principal language, Moreno advises her students that people not only prefer to do business in their own language, but also appreciate those who show an understanding of regional culture and norms.

“In this course, students acquire the language skills and cultural knowledge to conduct business successfully in Spain and Latin America and locally within the different Hispanic communities of the United States,” said Moreno, who noted that, in 2015, Hispanic Americans had buying power of $1.3 trillion.

“A competitive edge”

“Suffolk is preparing students for this interconnected world and giving them a competitive edge when they graduate and enter the professional workplace,” she said

Students also learn business etiquette as well as how to create professional documents and conduct a job interview in Spanish. They research Spanish-language-based markets in the United States, Latin America, Spain, and Equatorial Guinea.

“We give them the tools to become completely well-rounded and know their place in the world,” said Moreno.

As a final course project, students create their own virtual companies and target a Spanish-speaking country where they could do business, based on their research.

When Moreno first taught the course, final projects included a company that imported exotic fish from Brazil; a restaurant in Medellin, Colombia, that would sell American-style breakfasts; and a San Diego-based company that would import flowers from Colombia.