Academic Programs for a Career in International Business
Many students and business professionals are interested in a career in international business. This field encompasses any commercial transaction that takes place between two or more regions, nations or countries with independent political boundaries. Running any kind of business can be a challenge, but international business adds a number of complications. Companies must be prepared to comply with the laws and customs of each nation. Shipping and logistics are complicated by long distances and international events. Cultural sensitivity is crucial for doing business in another country, and unintended offenses or off-target marketing can ruin a company’s chances of success abroad. Most international business programs try to emphasize a cross-cultural perspective in their courses to prevent such disasters. Because international business is such a demanding field, candidates must prove that they possess a high level of knowledge, experience and competence.
What International Business Degrees Are Available?
Academic qualifications are a requirement for anyone pursuing a career in international business. Prospective students who are interested in acquiring an international business degree have many options. Many traditional and online universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees with an international business concentration.
This is a two-year program for students who are just beginning their education. Most of the courses in an associate’s degree focus on general education, but students are generally allowed to choose a few electives in a specialization of their choice. Associate’s degree students who are interested in business should search for electives that expose them to management principles, computer technology and statistics. Because interpersonal skills are so crucial to success in international business it may also be advantageous to study communication, psychology and public speaking.
Because it typically takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, students are able to study business principles in much greater depth. Students may earn a degree in international business or choose an international business emphasis for a more general business administration degree. Studies should continue to emphasize business management skills, computer literacy and interpersonal relations, with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity.
Master’s or Doctorate Degree
Students who have completed an undergraduate degree may wish to pursue a more advanced degree. This is particularly advantageous for those who wish to work in international business, as it tends to be more competitive and companies choose only the most qualified candidates to represent them abroad.
Regardless of the program chosen, many of the courses will be similar. Doctoral level classes will study a topic in much greater depth than those in a bachelor’s program, but students at any level may learn about many of the factors that drive and influence international commerce. Their studies may include:
- Banking in Foreign Markets
- Business Ethics
- Human Resources Management
- Import/Export Policies
- International Law
- Marketing and Advertising
- Private and Commercial Transactions
Because much of international business is now conducted online and via teleconferencing, it is important that students gain strong computer and technical skills. Most programs include classes that will help students to gain proficiency in the technology and software currently used by companies that do business abroad.
Where Are Degrees in International Business Offered?
Degrees in international business are offered at both traditional and online schools. Students may choose to study full-time or part-time, taking just a few classes each semester as they continue to work in their chosen profession. Traditional schools may offer hybrid programs that combine in-class and online learning. Other schools are entirely online, giving students the opportunity to complete their education regardless of where they live and allowing them to fit their coursework around their other obligations. Because many international business positions require a candidate to have proven business experience, it may be beneficial to work in a relevant field while acquiring the necessary academic qualifications.
What Careers Are Available with an International Business Degree?
International business is not a field with entry-level positions. Most people working in this arena have both academic qualifications and professional experience in business administration. Some positions may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but many will require at least a master’s degree along with other evidence of qualification. The position a candidate qualifies for will depend on their degree and experience, but there are many possibilities. Some will find leadership positions in public, private and nonprofit organizations. International companies need business analysts, human resource specialists, marketing specialists and operations managers. Government and banking organizations also hire international business graduates.