Professionals in international business work to make our global economy thrive. If global marketing and trade with foreign countries interests you, consider an online international business degree. Like travel and exploring new countries? Even better.
Studying international business, along with foreign relations, will prep you for a career in import and export or commercial trade abroad. This degree showcases how diverse cultures are all influenced by the global economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that globalization will provide vast opportunities for consulting firms that advise foreign clients on a range of activities including global marketing strategy, law, taxes and labor relations. Career options are varied and span many different industries. Become fluent in another language to make yourself even more employable in either the public or private sector.
THE CAREER PATH
International business takes the skills and knowledge of traditional domestic business professionals and carries them overseas to new territories. They must have an understanding of economics and business operations that allow them to handle different types of responsibilities across diverse settings.
International business majors may work in federal trade organizations, in shipping and compliance, as international banking officers, in government commerce, or as cultural advisers doing market research or job placement for overseas firms. Many professionals may start in lower international sales positions in order to gain experience, and learn the tricks of the trade. Common career options for international business majors include:
- International Finance Management – Like other management professionals, financial managers develop strategic, long-term goals and plans for an organization, specifically related to their financial health in a global economy. Most international organizations are quite large in scope by nature, so it is common for international finance managers to divide the responsibility of various components of an organization’s finances between positions such as chief financial officers (CFOs), controllers, and risk managers. Like most management positions, finance managers can expect to be compensated very well for their work. The average salary for finance managers is more than $120,000 annually. It’s important to take into consideration that the benefits for these types of positions can vary dramatically between organizations and positions. The demand for finance managers is expected to increase faster than the national average, by 7% in the next few years. Competitive applicants can validate their skills as finance managers with certifications from the Certified Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute or the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).
- Management Analysts – International business professionals have a unique set of skills that may allow them to consult with various different types of international organizations in order to offer solutions and opportunities to improve efficiency and profit. Management analysts are expected to be in high demand and grow by 14% in the coming years, much higher than the national average. Professionals in this field make an average of more than $80,000 each year. In order to be competitive, developing professionals may want to earn a certificate from either the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) or from the American Institute for Business Management and Communication (AIBMC).
- Economists – Economists are the individuals who conduct the complex studies of the production and exchange of resources, goods, and services that inform policy and business strategy. Different types of economists may focus on different types of economic systems. International economists specifically study international trade, global financial markets, and exchange rates. The type of work that is often performed by economists demands a higher understanding of research theories and strategies. Economists are usually rewarded quite well for their uniquely analytical set of skills. The average economist makes more than $100,000 each year. Like other areas of business, the need for qualified economists is driven by the inconsistent and ever-evolving global economy, and is expected to increase in the years to come.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
International business careers require a unique understanding of business laws and management strategies. International careers are not for all business professionals. Those who decide to develop these types of careers are interested in traveling, learning about new cultures, and applying their skills to create positive international relationships. Like other types of business professionals, international careers involve analytical, critical-thinking and a good amount of mathematical number crunching. Successful professionals are strong communicators, and must be able to communicate with individuals from diverse cultures as well as to set the example of professional leadership.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
While the demand for managers who hold an online international business degree has grown, prestigious jobs are competitive and education counts big-time. Most positions in finance, marketing, trade regulation or consulting require at least an undergraduate degree. Earning an online bachelor’s degree is a good start.
To advance into management, you'll likely need an MBA. You'll be especially competative if you add foreign languages or courses in law to your skills set. The most popular online options include a master's of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in international business. Graduate certificates are another way to enhance your knowledge of global trade policy, economics and cultural customs.
Expect an international business degree online to include core business courses in management, accounting, economics, finance and computers. Specialty courses may include conflict resolution, international studies, global leadership, and international law and trade. A minor in a foreign language will boost job prospects, with Spanish and Chinese being top contenders based on market demand.
An online master's in international business will cost between $20,000 and $30,000, on average. Developing professionals will want to explore program options that suit their lifestyle needs and professional ambitions. Some programs may offer internship opportunities that allow professionals to get ahead of the game, others may allow students to travel internationally or even earn a certification through their program. There are plenty of options to kickstart a career in international business.