Careers in International Business
The global economy is opening up new opportunities for those interested in international business. While some of these jobs will require living abroad, a surprising number are right here in the United States, working with representatives in other countries. In addition to language skills, international business students must learn the customs and business practices of other countries.
Business now is a global proposition, with companies crossing borders, seeking to sell goods and services to customers and clients around the world.
This increasingly worldwide focus creates new opportunities for students pursuing an international business degree.
Don’t set your sights on a glamorous life of jet setting and globetrotting, though. According to the Web site World Wide Learn, “Many jobs in international business can be done in your own community, where you ll deal with a representative in another country who will liaise between you and your end consumers.”
Americans are at a geographical disadvantage in this area, according to World Wide Learn.
Whereas European business professionals “are accustomed to working in different languages and across borders,” the article states, “American business tends to be insular; most companies do not take into account the broader perspective of trade regulations of different governing bodies.”
Besides language barriers, “Cultural differences make international business more challenging,” the article says.
An international business degree provides the equipment an entry-level business professional needs to survive in the global market.
While working in an international business setting requires specific understanding of language and cultural differences, mastering the requirements of the job itself should not be underestimated.
According to “Career Opportunities in International Business,” a article on the Web site of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, the majority of “positions in marketing, finance, and consulting work begin with in-house training programs of a managerial, development and/or technical nature.
“Companies with international markets usually prefer that employees become fully trained in the domestic operations of the business before being given an opportunity to represent the firm abroad.”
“Most internationally-oriented jobs in the business world involve marketing, sales, finance, operations and strategic planning and are found in the United States; although some positions might involve working abroad,” according to the same article.
Below is a sampling of career opportunities available for graduates with an international business degree.
International Business Degree Careers
Sales. At the management level, this occupation can involve international travel to meet current clients and cultivate new ones face-to-face. Professionals in international sales work closely with the organization’s marketing department to target the most likely audiences for the company’s goods and services.
Obviously, this requires not only business skills but also a grasp of the particular culture and language that is more than academic.
Marketing. This position requires a strong understanding of sales and marketing in the global environment. Being able to adapt to a wide variety of environments and cultures is necessary, as is fluency in foreign language.
An employee in an international marketing position is responsible for generating leads by identifying potential global markets. The marketer determines the demand for products and services and tracks progress as well as building awareness. Frequent travel or living abroad is usually required for this position.
Consulting. An international business consultant provides relevant and up-to-date information for international companies. The information can concern foreign business investments, opportunities, competitive companies as well as information about business practices and legal implications of owning a business in another country.
Primary duties involve studying international markets and predicting the viability of those markets. Risk and business analysis is also part of the information that international business consultants provide for their clients. After completing research on the area including potential risks and profits the business consultant then proposes a recommendation to the company based on the research plus practical experience of the consultant.
Foreign Service. While the State Department is most readily associated with the Foreign Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce also has positions in foreign countries. Foreign Service personnel in 67 countries around the world provide advice on export markets, carry out trade promotions and do market research,
Cultural Adviser. Cultural advisers help ensure that U.S. business professionals know the cultural particulars when on foreign soil. Of course, things are a bit more complicated than choosing the right fork. They also provide instruction in foreign languages. Cultural advisers usually specialize in areas such as technology, management, banking, law, media or education. They also may assist in market research for companies wishing to expand their market overseas, and in foreign career placement.
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