International Business Degrees in Today’s Global Marketplace
Globalization, the international business trend toward greater integration among the world’s economies, has recently hit some bumps in the road. In fact, one buzzword you hear nowadays is “globalization.”
Brexit, the pending withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, has created widespread uncertainty in global markets, as has President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, threats of tariffs against other countries and repudiation of international trade agreements.
Why International Business Degrees are becoming Important?
Yet some experts say this is good news for those studying international business, whose specialized expertise will be even more critical in a more volatile, less predictable world economy.
Taking the long view, historians say globalization has been around since the third millennium BCE when Sumer began trading with the Indus River Valley. It expanded exponentially with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the invention of the Internet in the 1990s. So, don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.
Despite some hurdles thrown up by current events, it’s probably inevitable that the world’s economies will become more connected in the future and not less. And this will lead to a wealth of opportunities for experts in international business.
The Benefits of Taking up International Business Degrees
International business studies, from the associate degree to the Ph.D. level, prepare students for a broad range of global business interactions, including:
- Imports and exports; the sale and movement of goods across international borders, like the sale of Chilean wine in the United States.
- Manufacturing, R&D, sales and distribution in foreign countries, like the manufacture of iPhones in China.
- Foreign licensing and franchising of goods and services, like the opening of Taco Bells in Costa Rica
International business education typically begins with a foundation of general business fields, including finance, economics, management, sales, marketing, etc.
But international business also requires knowledge of the diverse global marketplace; of differing laws, customs, languages, and cultures; of international finance and banking; of import/export policies, trade controls, and the effects of trade on domestic and foreign markets.
Some Contemporary topics that International Business Degrees Cover
Other topics emphasized in international business education include the challenges of global marketing, management and supply chain logistics. Students may receive training in specialized software and data analysis, ethical and cultural issues, global politics, psychology, public speaking, and entrepreneurship.
In fields related to international business, associate’s degrees generally take two years, bachelor’s degrees take four and master’s degrees usually take two, although a growing number of universities are offering intensive one-year degrees. Doctoral programs tend to take three to six years, depending on whether they are undertaken full- or part-time.
The Standard Time for the Completion of International Business Degrees
Online programs and hybrid programs (a mix of classroom time and digital platforms) are offered in most of the fields relevant to international business, and these are expected to expand considerably in the years ahead.
As in many business fields, internships and other pre-graduation work experience will give international business students a big boost in the eventual search for their dream job. Major advantages can also be gained by learning a second language — especially Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, Arabic, and French, though English remains the lingua franca of global business.
Career Options to Explore with an International Business Degree
A wide variety of career opportunities exist for international business specialists, including but by no means limited to:
- International economist
- International trade analyst
- International management consultant
- International human resources manager
- International operations manager
- International marketing director
- International sales rep
- Import/export specialist
- Supply chain manager
- Foreign investment adviser
Employers of international business grads include multinational firms, technology companies, import/export firms, oil companies, transportation and shipping companies, banks, hotel chains, NGOs and more.
You may find employment in your home country with a firm doing business abroad, you may be based in a foreign country, or you may become a frequent flyer who travels back and forth between a domestic headquarters and overseas branches.
So, in addition to that elective course in global supply chain management (not to mention that introductory Mandarin class), it wouldn’t hurt to make sure you have a current passport.