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International Business

The Breakdown

With the advent of technology, geographical barriers and borders have slowly eroded. We truly live in a global society in which a decision made in Detroit can have a ripple effect felt all the way in Beijing. No one understands this more than those who pursue international business.

Though you might not initially suspect it, international business is actually quite interdisciplinary. Indeed, it’s typical for most schools to incorporate classes in politics and international relations, economic theory and even the occasional sociology or anthropology course. Of course, most important is building a strong foundation in business and you will take the customary courses in finance, operations and accounting. Additionally, many programs will require that you concentrate in a specific region, be it Asia, Europe, South America or Africa. You should also expect a foreign language requirement (so start paying closer attention in French class). Finally, though perhaps not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you study abroad.

To be a successful within international business, you’ll require stellar communications skills and an aptitude for quantitative analysis. Certainly, a facility for language will also be a huge advantage. Perhaps even more essential, however, is the ability to be flexible and maintain an open mind. Indeed, not only will you be introduced to a variety of business practices, you’ll be exposed to different cultures and different ways of viewing the world.

Nuts and Bolts

As an international business major, your schedule will be chockfull of courses such as: Business in Emerging Markets, Globalization, Poverty and Development, Issues in Comparative Economics, Global Marketing Strategy, Multinational Business Finance, Microeconomics, Consumer Behavior, International Politics, Calculus, International Legal Transaction for Business, International Accounting and International Operations Management.

Decisions, Decisions

International business majors have a strong desire to learn about other cultures as well as prevailing business theories and principles. Therefore, they also might consider studying international relations, economics, political science, business administration, marketing, accounting, finance, actuarial science, real estate, communications, history, Asian studies, African studies, Slavic studies, Spanish, French, German, Italian, South American studies, statistics, information technology and tourism management.

What's Next

A major in international business can lead to a variety of careers (not to mention a variety of countries). Indeed, just like a regular business degree, a bachelor’s in international business is quite versatile. Many recent grads land entry-level positions in sales and marketing, working for companies that conduct business on a global scale. Additionally, a number of students pursue careers within international banking. They typically either work for a domestic bank that maintains foreign accounts or a foreign-owned institution that is licensed to do business within the country. Of course, government gigs are also popular. For example, an international business major might gain employment working for the International Trade Administration as an international trade specialist, international economist or import compliance specialist. Another avenue graduates consider is the Foreign Service. Here grads will find themselves doing everything from carrying out trade promotions to providing representation on behalf of U.S. companies. Finally, a handful of international business majors ultimately return to school to earn an MBA.


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