International business is not business as usual. Success for global enterprises involves not only profits but also cultural sensitivity, communication and mutual trust. Instant communications, global acquisitions and transportation improvements have transformed the face of business, creating an ever smaller world.
Experience in crossing cultural boundaries is mandatory for every widget invented, sold, marketed and maintained across international borders. Projects include a single proprietor bringing a successful product to another country, or a billion-dollar firm finding a new production facility halfway around the world from its headquarters.
Earning bachelor's degrees in international business
In this fast-paced, networked business environment, you need to study more than core subjects such as economics, finance, marketing, operations and statistics. Specialized classes explore cross-cultural negotiation skills, international economics and global logistics as well as topics beyond business studies like language and political science. With this major, you are more than likely to study abroad in order to improve your linguistic and cultural skills. Internships are also valuable.
Undergraduate studies require general education subjects that can relate to your chosen field. English composition and speech help you collaborate on team projects, while math and social sciences are building blocks for sales and other business functions.
Career outlook for international business
Job possibilities for those achieving bachelor's degrees in business include import/export, sales and marketing roles in industries such as banking, government, manufacturing, tourism and shipping. Some professionals specialize in cultural affairs and assist companies doing business abroad for the first time. Other career goals include positions in auditing or accounting for multinational corporations.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not calculate separate data for international business operations, it provides these 2010 median salaries and 2010-2020 growth projections for related U.S. occupations:
- Auditors and accountants: $61,690; 15.7 percent
- Economists: $89,450; 6.1 percent
- Management analysts or consultants: $78,160; 22 percent
- Marketing managers: $116,010; 11.7 percent
- Sales managers: $98,530; 12 percent
Some positions require experience beyond a bachelor's degree; for example, sales managers and management analysts typically have 1-5 years of related experience.
As digital communication and social media continue to erase borders, understanding the ways of international business becomes increasingly important. Online degree programs allow you to gain work experience while you study. Web-based communication between students and professors can prepare you for collaborating with business colleagues around the globe.