Alabama-based businesses involved in the export of goods and services to foreign markets have been a major economic force for the state over the past decade. Stakeholders in Alabama recognize that international business efforts are key to the state’s economic health, both now and in the future.
Recent Alabama International Trade Center data helps illustrate the value of international trade and commerce to the state:
- The export of Alabama-made products reached $19.5 billion in 2012, a 9.36 percent increase from the prior year
- Alabama exported to 188 countries in 2012
- Alabama-based companies engaged in international commerce generated more than $52 million in sales in 2012
The Alabama International Trade Center is working toward achieving the following goals:
- Doubling Alabama exports between 2015 and 2020
- Diversifying Alabama’s export base, concentrating on small and medium-sized businesses in the following industry sectors:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Information technology
- Identifying targets in key markets and finding new opportunities while assisting companies
- Assisting Alabama exporters through education and research
As of 2015, the nations that imported the most Alabama-made products were Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Japan.
The Right Degree for a Career in International Business
From international business consultants and trade compliance officers to supply chain managers and customs specialists, international business professionals help drive global commerce and trade. A career in international business starts with a strong educational foundation in business and trade laws, along with a global perspective that can only be gained by earning a degree in international business.
Undergraduate and graduate programs are available to aspiring and advancing business professionals through online and campus-based programs in Alabama, some of which offer study-abroad options designed to provide students with an immersive experience.
Bachelor’s Degrees in International Business
A bachelor’s degree in international business provides students with a curriculum that emphasizes sound business fundamentals within the context of a globalized economy.
Bachelor’s degrees with an international business major may go by a number of titles, such as:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a Concentration in International Business
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a Concentration in International Business
- Bachelor of Science in International Business
These comprehensive programs cover a wide array of topics, including:
- Principles of management
- Organizational behavior
- International economics
- Global issues – business, government, and society
- Managing the diversified workplace
Master’s Degrees in International Business
Master’s degrees in international business are ideal for professionals in global business that are seeking advancement to such senior-level positions as international trade and customs manager, financial controller, and trade analyst, among many others.
Admission into a master’s degree in international business requires a bachelor’s degree in an unspecified major with prerequisites in management, accounting, finance, and marketing.
Titles for graduate degrees with an international business major often include:
- Master in Business Administration (MBA), with a concentration in international business
- Masters in International Management (MIM)
- Master of Science in International Business (MSIB)
- Master of International Business (MIB)
Master’s degrees in international business in Alabama provide students with a well-rounded curriculum that combines a solid grounding in business fundamentals and in-depth knowledge of the global business environment of the 21st century.
Courses offered in these programs are often supplemented with live case studies, international consulting projects, study abroad trips, and internships.
Coursework in a master’s degree in international business often includes:
- International business policy
- Cross cultural management
- Managing global talent
- Emerging markets
- International entrepreneurship
What Multinationals with Operations in Alabama Look for in a Business Leader
Jobs in international business in Alabama range from business consultants and trade analysts to international economists and import/export specialists. The education and experience requirements needed to secure a leadership position with one of Alabama’s top enterprises involved in international trade and commerce can be seen in the recent job posts shown below (from a survey of job vacancies taken in June 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):
Manager, International Business Development, Leeds – Requires a BS in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering; MBA or advanced degree preferred, along with a minimum of 3 years of international business development and business development management experience
Corporate Manager, International Trade Compliance, Birmingham – Requires a bachelor’s degree in business, law, or a related field, along with at least five years of experience in trade compliance
Manager, Capture Management, Huntsville – Requires at least 10 years of progressive experience in international business, business development, and defense industry experience; bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred
Senior Technical Project Manager, Huntsville – Requires at least 10 years of experience, preferably in an international corporate manufacturing environment; a university degree, plus international recognized professional qualification or similar required (MBA or master’s in a relevant topic)
Customs Specialist – Inbound Raw Materials, Calvert – Bachelor’s degree required; knowledge of supply chain management, purchasing and contract management, and U.S. customs entry process
Supply Chain Manager, Madison – Requires international shipping experience and a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in business, operations, and related fields
Organizations Working to Support International Business in Alabama
A number of organizations work to make Alabama a global competitor in international commerce and trade:
Alabama International Trade Center
The Alabama International Trade Center operates as a federal-state partnership between the University of Alabama and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Center promotes the SBA’s export financing programs in Alabama and is an institutional member of the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, a statewide network of 10 management and technical assistance centers. The Alabama International Trade Center provides export research, training, and financing services to Alabama’s small business community. Professionals within the Trade Center specialize in international sales and marketing, logistics, business strategy, and finance.
The Center has received the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award. The SBA also recognizes it as a State Model of Excellence in International Trade.
Alabama Small Business Development Center Network
The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network is a statewide, institutional program that enhances economic growth in Alabama by providing management and technical assistance to small businesses. Certified business counselors throughout the state’s 10 Small Business Development Centers are available to counsel and train business people, free of charge, on a wide variety of business topics.
Export Alabama Alliance
Export Alabama Alliance is a network of international trade agencies (state, local, and federal). The goal of the Alliance is to help Alabama companies grow their business internationally through the development and coordination of programs, all of which facilitate the export of Alabama goods and services overseas.
Alabama Department of Commerce
The Alabama Department of Commerce aids export promotion and development. It also supports Alabama’s economy by: training companies to succeed on a global scale; providing foreign-market information and beneficial international contacts; and promoting Alabama through presentations, trade associations, and publications.
International Business Resources in Alabama
Individuals seeking careers in international business in Alabama may find additional information through the government sector and through private business, as well as through the state’s many organizations devoted to strengthening Alabama’s reputation in the global marketplace:
- Alabama Department of Commerce, International Trade Division
- Alabama District Export Council (DEC)
- Alabama International Trade Center
- Alabama World Trade Association
- Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)
- Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce
- Mobile Chamber of Commerce
- North Alabama International Trade Association
- Birmingham Export Assistance Center