Degrees in international business have been designed to acknowledge the increasingly interconnected nature of global economies. While many business executives and managers once studied only the laws and culture of their own country’s corporate community, it is now necessary for today’s students to be familiar with how their responsibilities, roles, and ethics, will play out in Asian markets, European headquarters, and in developing economies where major opportunities lie for growth and development. To that end, the typical program in international business focuses on a few key components of education that prepare students to enter the global workforce ahead of their peers in other fields.
The Fundamentals of the Business World
Despite its “international” moniker, a college’s program in international business is still substantially similar to a non-international business program. This means that students will learn, first and foremost, about business codes of ethics, the laws and regulations governing business in their own country, and the methods of accounting and finance that contribute to a successful business. Most students will learn the ethics and techniques of successful management, and they’ll learn how to navigate red tape to produce successful outcomes for the organizations that they are one day chosen to lead.
From strategic organization to workplace regulation, these classes will create a successful businessperson at home. To create someone who can adapt abroad, however, international business programs must go a few steps further and create in students a more global mindset. That is done through two unique approaches.
International Business Cultures, Regulations, and Best Practices
While students in a more traditional business program would choose a concentration, like entrepreneurship or business accounting, those students pursuing an international business degree will essentially have their concentration chosen for them. Instead of choosing one of those areas, their course of study will be filled with classes that discuss the nuance of doing business abroad. Professors will focus on corporate cultures overseas, and how multinational corporations are organized to promote easier travel and negotiation. Students will learn the fundamentals of Asian, European, African, and American economies. They’ll learn the keys to successful national negotiation, and they’ll be taught how to manage corporate headquarters that lie in different countries around the world.
These classes prepare students to succeed internationally because they give them the tools and cultural cues they need to relate to an international audience. This is a great foundation for the aspiring international businessperson, but great international business degrees go even further when preparing students to make a career in international economies and multinational corporations.
Electives Will Consist of Foreign Language Requirements
It’s generally not a good idea to pursue a career in international business if the businessperson speaks only one language. For this reason, the best AACSB-accredited international business programs require students to pursue extensive foreign language studies. In fact, most universities actually require their students to be proficient in a second language of their choice prior to graduation. Passing higher-level language classes, and even taking a foreign language class, are often metric that must be met or exceeded in order to file a successful graduation application at the conclusion of an international business program.
Students will be exposed not only to the grammar and syntax of a foreign language, but also to its best literary works. They will master reading the language, conversing naturally in the language, and relating to others as they interpret the language on the fly. This will prepare students to do extensive business in booming countries like China, Mexico, India, and many others. It’s also considered the single best way to immerse future businesspeople in the culture that they’ll be dealing with extensively after they graduate and land their first professional position.
International Business Studies Create Prepared, Versatile Graduates
The goal of an international business program is to produce students who have a global mindset rather than one that is concentrated in their own country’s way of getting things done. Whether it’s through the study of a foreign language, or classes that discuss the innovative ways that business is handled overseas, students will be taught to think outside their comfort zone and embrace foreign power structures, cultures, and procedures, as their own.
The successful international business student is one who is ready to learn not only about management and organization, but also about culture and negotiation. It is this last two skills that will determine just how successful the graduate will be as they pursue a career with some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing corporate entities.