The BEC certificate of course benefits the person who has achieved it in that the person has “concrete proof” of his or her Business English skills. It’s definitely an asset for someone working in a global company or for someone who may be thinking of changing companies. A nice, positive addition to the resume/CV. And, as I’m sure you know, Germans tend to be very fond of having certificates of this kind.
I would say it’s also valuable to companies who require excellent English skills. If a company wants to hire someone new or is thinking about moving someone into a new (more international) position, a BEC certificate is a pretty reliable indicator of the person’s proficiency in “Business English”.
I’ve done quite a number of BEC Higher preparation courses. BEC Higher is a “near native speaker” level. It’s a tough exam and a tough course.
What I’ve found is that writing is often the weakest point for a majority of participants, so we do a lot of work on that. The listening comprehension part is also tough, but there are a variety of reasons for that. One difficulty is simply getting used to the test format. Practicing definitely helps there. But another difficulty is the test location itself. The test (in this area) takes place in a large room that is apparently full of echoes. At least that’s the feedback I’ve gotten. So, that makes understanding that much harder. The people who do well despite all the echos have really achieved something special. :lol:
Not surprisingly, participants with little or no business experience (i.e., people fresh out of school) tend to have a harder time with the BEC courses than people already working. It’s not just that they’ve had little contact with business topics in English, they simply have limited knowledge of business in general and would also have some difficulties in their native language. So, the BEC certificate also tends to reflect a general knowledge of the world of business to a degree, and not just English.
A lot of the people in my BEC courses don’t ever take the BEC exam. They simply do the course to freshen up their English and to focus on business-related vocabulary and functions. They do the course because they need English regularly at work and simply want to improve.