The study of international business involves learning about the impact and implementation of international business practices on our globally connected, modern society.
Students of international business programs examine a wide array of factors unique to global business. The study of international business involves gaining an understanding of how:
- Culture, language, political systems, geography, and socio-economic factors influence a company’s business practices
- Transportation, supply chains, and distribution networks affect foreign trade
- Electronic communication affects everything from sales and marketing to manufacturing and outsourcing
- The network of worldwide financial institutions affect currency issues
International business degrees prepare students for careers in nearly all facets of the business world, including accounting, finance, marketing, healthcare, law, and information technology, just to name a few. Graduates of international business programs understand the relationship between business and international affairs, preparing them for success in the rapidly evolving global business environment of the 21st century.
Just some of the careers available to international business majors include:
- Trade and customs managers
- Import/export compliance specialists
- Business consultants
- Trade analysts
- Supply chain managers
- International accountants
- International economists
- International attorneys
- Management analysts
Undergraduate International Business Degrees
Although a few schools offer international business associate degrees, the undergraduate standard for international business professionals is the bachelor’s degree, with the majority of these programs offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) in International Business or Global Business. Similar bachelor’s degree options for international business majors include:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – International Business
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with an international business concentration
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Science in Business Studies – International Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business, Global Management
- Bachelor of Business Management with a concentration in International Business
A bachelor’s degree in international business prepares students with a curriculum that emphasizes sound business fundamentals within the context of a globalized economy.
In addition to a comprehensive curriculum in principles of international business and a foundation in the general liberal arts and sciences, institutions offering bachelor’s degrees in international business often encourage students to engage in foreign study or international internships. International experiences allow students to increase their cultural literacy and broaden their perspectives. In fact, many programs partner with foreign schools to facilitate study overseas opportunities for their students.
Bachelor’s degrees in international business provide an overview of the many disciplines that make up this field of study, including:
- Human resources
- Information systems and technologies
It is also common for institutions to allow students to specialize their undergraduate program on one of the above areas.
Typical courses in a bachelor’s degree in international business include:
- Financial accounting
- Business law
- Principles of management
- Information systems for management
- Organizational behavior
- Principles of marketing
- International trade policies and practices
- Global supply chain management and logistics
- International strategic management
Graduate Study in International Business: The Masters in International Business
The master’s in international business is an important component to achieving senior-level management and executive positions in international business.
These graduate programs allow students to begin to translate theory into practice through a comprehensive curriculum, panel discussions with prominent business leaders, networking opportunities, and international experiences. Master’s degrees in international business produce the global leaders of tomorrow who are adept at making strategic decisions and implementing integrated solutions.
In addition to building upon an undergraduate degree in international business by providing advanced study in international business concepts, students of master’s degrees in international business learn how to apply analytic models and techniques through the stages of decision-making, planning, and execution.
Many of these programs are designed as a Master of Science (MS) in International Business, although they may go by a number of titles, depending on the school:
- Master in Business Administration (MBA), with a concentration in international business
- Masters in International Management (MIM)
- Master of International Business (MIB)
- MBA/Master of International Business (dual degree)
- Master of Science in Global Business
- Master of International Business Administration (MIBA)
Coursework in a master’s degree program often includes:
- International business
- International business policy
- Managing global talent
- International marketing
- International business negotiations
- International trade and finance management
- Cross-cultural management
- International accounting and taxation
- Emerging marketing
- Legal aspects of international business
Admission into a master’s degree program in international business requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While some schools require students to possess an undergraduate degree in a business-related field, such as finance, marketing, or business administration, other programs require students to have completed specific undergraduate courses.
It is common for schools offering master’s degrees in international business to require a minimum GPA, minimum GRE scores, admission essays, and professional references for admission.
The Master’s in International Business (MIB), an executive degree program, usually requires applicants to have work experience prior to applying for admission into the program. Because this master’s degree program is aimed at the working professional, accelerated, part-time, and distance-learning program features are commonplace.
International Field Studies/Internships
International field study is a crucial element to many master’s degree programs in international business, as it provides students with intense exposure in the global business environment. International field study is accomplished through immersion programs that expose students to the culture of an emerging market outside of the U.S.
Many schools offer field study in areas of the world such as Latin America, China, Dubai, and Europe.
Students may pursue internships with:
- Foreign companies operating in the U.S. (e.g., BP, Chanel, Airbus)
- Governmental agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary of State)
- International banks (e.g., World Bank, International Finance Corporation)
- Multinational corporations (e.g., Disney, Goldman Sachs)
- Nonprofit organizations (e.g., Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch)
Graduate Study in International Business: The PhD in International Business
A PhD in International Business prepares international business professionals to lead, consult, and teach in corporate settings, research institutes, and academic environments.
Doctoral studies in international business allow students to build on skills acquired through master’s-level studies and professional experience. Seminars complement research collaborations, and many students choose minor fields of specialization, such as finance, information technology, or marketing.
A PhD in International Business culminates in a dissertation based on the student’s research interests. Students spend much of their time discussing their dissertation research and preparing for the oral defense to the committee.