How do I Jump Start a Career in International Business?

You are a young, ambitious and tech-savvy individual that wants to explore the world, experience different cultures and in the process conduct very important business transactions. Although right now you may not know the steps on what it takes to start a successful career in international business, you definitely believe you have the wit and the drive to succeed in this field. And there is no doubt that competition in this field is very fierce.

So, remember that everything matters from the languages you speak to the grades you make in both high school and college. Plus the MBA program you attend and even the internships you complete will determine what type of job you get working in the international business field.

To help you get started on pursuing your aspirations, here is a comprehensive overview of what it takes in order to jump start a successful and lucrative career in international business:

High School Education

If you know that you would like to work in different countries, do not hesitate to maximize your educational opportunities when you are in high school. Now is the right time to make sure you make high grades and get high scores on college entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT. Learn as many languages as possible. Speak with your career or guidance counselor to see if you can arrange an internship with a business, trade association or another organization that will allow you shadow experienced international business people.

Take this time to learn the different areas of business such as: finance, marketing, law, accounting, management and information technology. Eventually when you get into college you will need to specialize in one of these areas. Also, speak with your guidance counselor about studying abroad for a summer. There are plenty of scholarships available for high school students who would like to spend a summer away from home in a different country.

Undergraduate Education

First and foremost, when you choose a prospective college or university, make sure they offer an international business program. This program will offer specialized courses that tailor classes in accounting, finance, information technology and law to center around the global business environment. Also, you should look to minor in a foreign language that is in high demand. Some of these highly sought-after languages include: Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, French and German.

During college, you will be expected to take classes in accounting, finance, marketing, law, information technology and a variety of other business-related classes. It is important to make sure you get no lower than a B in these classes. Mediocre performance in these classes will affect your GPA and you have to ensure you maintain a high GPA to get into top MBA programs.

Additionally, it is important to get as much experience as possible through internships while you are attending college. During the summer, look for internships that are offered abroad. This will give you hands on experience when it comes to working for a business in a different country. This will make your resume look awesome and will show prospective employers that you have experience working in foreign environments. Also work to sharpen your skills set. If you are seeking a career in international marketing, make sure you stay on top of things such as search engine optimization techniques, social media marketing, mobile marketing, etc. If you are looking for a career in international finance and or accounting, make sure you stay on top of your math and computer skills and keep informed of all international financial news, from the currency exchange markets to the stock market and beyond.

Most importantly, during undergraduate studies, stay on top of your grades. Remember and respect that there are millions of people who want a job in international business as well. To set yourself apart, you need to start preparing yourself to get into a competitive, top-notch MBA program. Some examples include Yale, Harvard, New York University, UCLA, etc. Research the best MBA programs that offer the best international business tracks or view our suggestions in the Top International Business Schools section. Most competitive business schools want prospective applicants to have at least GPA of 3.5 or higher and MBA programs require competitive GMAT scores. You should start studying for test while in your junior year of college. It wouldn’t hurt to go to a professional tutoring company to make sure you get a high score on this test.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) Studies

Now that you have successfully made into a top MBA program, the goal is to do as much networking as possible with prospective employers. Top MBA programs will facilitate “lunch and learn” meetings, job fairs, workshops, seminars and other events to allow students to meet key decision makers who work for some of the largest corporations in the world. During your MBA program, also make sure you work to build a solid portfolio of case studies.

The best way to build a portfolio is to offer pro-bono services to businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities to work on projects that will help you not only strengthen your skills set, but will also put you into contact with company executives. At the end of the day, experience trumps education. Having a solid portfolio demonstrates that you can definitely do the job.

Job Search

So now you have graduated with your MBA. Now it’s time to secure a position with a major corporation. First and foremost, put together a stellar resume to highlight all of your educational and job-related achievements. While a resume is good to briefly highlight your education and experience, also make sure you update your portfolio. Some individuals even go as far as starting their own blog and website that will give employers immediate access to your resume and portfolio.

Constantly stay on top of your LinkedIn and social networking profiles. LinkedIn and other social media platforms are also excellent ways to network with prospective employers and market your portfolio. Also, be very careful though when it comes to utilizing social media platforms for your job search. Many prospective candidates make the dreadful mistake of using both their personal social media accounts for professional purposes. You do not want prospective employers to know every intimate detail of your life. Make sure your online reputation is clean.

Finally, apply for jobs which interest you. Polish your resume and include any and all experiences which push you ahead of your competition. Be confident but not arrogant during the interview process. And when you are hired, give your work your all. When you have a passion for the job that you do, it shows.