In our globalized economy, it is important for business professionals to have an international outlook. This is why businesses are increasingly demanding employees with a global perspective. Professionals with a degree in international business will be prepared to meet the demands brought by foreign markets and advance to the top in their careers.
What is an International Business Degree?
An international business degree program provides students with a foundation in business while emphasizing international proficiency. Like a traditional business degree, the international business degree introduces students to the fundamentals of business. Students will be exposed to universal business topics, such as organizational leadership, accounting, strategic management, and quantitative analysis. However, international business students will also gain an understanding of the cultural, legal and political factors that shape foreign markets and influence the business decision-making process abroad.
Courses of Study
The purpose of international business courses is to strengthen a student’s analytical and decision-making skills in an international environment. The courses that accomplish this task include:
- Business Statistics
- Global Marketing
- International Finance
- International Business Law
Because foreign language skills are indispensable to one’s career, international business students are required to gain proficiency in a foreign language. Proficiency can be gained by taking a certain number of courses in a single foreign language. However, many international business programs allow students who are already fluent in a second language to demonstrate their proficiency through an exam.
Types of International Business Degrees
There are five main credentials that international business students can obtain:
- Associate Degree
An associate degree is awarded after completing a two-year degree program. While the associate degree is rarely adequate for an entry-level position, it is an excellent first step to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is awarded after completeing a four-year degree program. The bachelor’s degree is the most common credential and will qualify the student for most entry-level positions.
- International Business Concentration
Some colleges and universities do not offer a major in international business. Rather, students must major in business administration and then select international business as their concentration. A concentration covers the same courses as a major and will still be respected by employers.
- Master’s Degree
A master’s degree in international business is a postgraduate credential that qualifies students for positions in middle and upper management. This degree is typically pursued by professionals who have demonstrated success in their careers.
A Ph.D. in international business is only obtained by students with specific career goals, such as going into research or teaching. A Ph.D. program prepares students to conduct research and pursue careers in academia.
International Business Career Outlook and Salaries
International business is a promising field for new and returning students. According to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, 92 percent of international business majors were able to obtain employment after graduation. The median earnings for an international business graduate is $55K, and top graduates earn $80K.
The top industries that international business majors are represented in are financial and professional services. The majority of international business graduates seek opportunities in management.
International business majors are qualified to obtain employment in many of the fast-growing business careers. Among the fastest growing occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for market research and analysts and marketing specialists will grow by 41 percent. Marketing professionals receive median earnings of $60K.
Other in-demand careers for international business majors include:
- Accountants and Auditors (Median salary: $61K)
- Financial Analyst (Median salary: $74K)
- Logisticians (Median salary: $70K)
- Management Analysts (Median salary: $78K)
The greatest advantage of an international business degree is that it provides the flexibility to fulfill any role within an international firm. Students can focus on accounting, finance, management, and other specialties in order to boost their earning potential. This versatility makes international business an ideal major for future business leaders.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Fast Growing Occupations.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Occupational Outlook Handbook – Business and Financial.
Georgetown Policy Institute. (2011). The Economic Value of College Majors – Business.