What Is An International Business Degree?

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As the world around us changes, so too does the world of business, creating new obstacles and new opportunities for those prepared to take the lead – and an international business degree provides the knowledge necessary for doing just that. Degrees in international business merge traditional business education with the linguistic, logistical and cultural training demanded by the modern global economy. Advertising in foreign markets, negotiating across cultures, managing diverse workforce’s and complying with import and export laws are just a few of the challenges today’s international business professionals must rise to meet on a regular basis, making a strong academic background an invaluable career asset. 

How an International Business Degree Prepares Grads for Leadership Success

Students in an international business program will typically start out with foundation business courses such as economics, accounting and management principles, but from there the curriculum will take a globetrotting turn. Most degree candidates should expect to study at least one foreign language in-depth, and many programs also require or offer electives on the culture and history of various geographical regions, helping students to better understand the areas of the world where they aspire to do business. Coursework in intercultural communication prepares students to successfully interact with co-workers, employees or trade partners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Other common core classes include international marketing, international operations, global logistics and derivatives and financial markets.

For a future international business professional, college is the perfect time to experience living in a foreign country, an opportunity that provides an unparalleled chance at connecting with a new culture and cultivating a more worldly mindset. Motivated international business students should take advantage of study abroad programs and international internships that pertain to their career goals.

What to Look for in an International Business Program

When researching and applying to international business schools, prospective students should keep several factors in mind. Firstly, the university’s business school should be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Information on the department’s faculty is also important. Future students will want to look into the number of professors in the department, as well as their credentials, achievements and international connections. Succeeding at business abroad demands not just financial fluency but also fluency in the local dialect, so while a long litany of language classes may initially seem daunting, a high priority on language acquisition is actually a good sign. Last but not least, no amount of time in the classroom can substitute for living and experiencing different cultures, so a good international business program should provide students with opportunities to study abroad and to pursue internships with an international aspect.

Career Paths for an International Business Major

Students pursuing a degree in international business have a number of career paths to choose from upon graduation. Realistically, not every new grad will land that dream job in Rome or Sydney straight off the commencement podium, but the international business major is a versatile one and can be tailored to a variety of internationally focused interests and goals. International business graduates can work in international banking, customs compliance, foreign market research, international sales or business interpretation and translation, to name just a few opportunities. Possible job titles include foreign affairs analyst, import/export coordinator and global manager. Government jobs are an option as well, with the Department of the State and the FBI as examples of government agencies that hire international business graduates.

For those armed with business acumen and an interest in different cultures, the new global economy offers an ever-expanding array of career choices. Combined with creativity, cultural sensitivity and commitment, a degree in international business just might be your passport to a career you’re passionate about.

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