Should I Earn an International Business Degree?

International Business Degree Overview

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An international business degree, or global business degree as it is sometimes known, is an academic degree with a focus on international business markets. International business is a term used to describe any business transaction (buying or selling) that takes place across international borders. For example, if an American company decided to expand their operations into China, they would be participating in international business since they are conducting commercial transactions across an international border.

An international business degree can be earned from a college, university, or business school.

What Will I Study in an International Business Degree Program?

Students who enroll in an international business degree program will study topics that are directly related to global business. For example, they will learn about the politics, economics, and legal issues associated with doing business on an international scale. Specific topics typically include:

  • Global monetary system
  • Exchange rates
  • International trade 
  • Tariffs and duties
  • International organizations
  • Government dynamics
  • Cross border transactions
  • International business ethics
  • Global production
  • Global market dynamics

Types of International Business Degrees

There are three basic types of international business degrees. These types are categorized by level. A bachelor's degree is the lowest level degree, and a doctorate degree is the highest level degree.

Although you may be able to get an associate's degree in international business from some schools, these degrees are not widely available.

  • Bachelor's Degree in International Business - A bachelor's degree in international business takes approximately four years to complete; three years in an accelerated program. International business degree programs at this level typically cover introductory topics related to basic business theory and the interrelation of government and business across borders 
  • Master's Degree in International Business - A master's degree in international business takes approximately two years to complete; accelerated programs are available through some schools. Accelerated programs can be completed in 11-12 months. Students in a master's degree program take more of a micro approach to international business; they explore individual management decisions related to international business and complex topics related to international markets and cultural impact. 
  • Doctorate Degree in International Business - A doctorate degree in international business usually takes three to five years to complete. However, program length can vary depending on your academic experience and chosen program. A doctorate degree is the most advanced business degree that can be earned in any field, including international business.

Which Degree Is Best?

An associate's degree may be enough for individuals who are looking for entry-level employment in the global business field. However, a bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement for most business positions. A master's degree or MBA with a specialization in international business is even more attractive to international employers and could increase your chances of securing management opportunities and other advanced positions.

An international business degree at the doctorate level may be considered by anyone interested in teaching the topic at colleges, universities, and business schools.

Where Can I Earn an International Business Degree

Most people earn their international business degree from an accredited business school or a college or university with a comprehensive business program. Both campus-based and online programs (or some combination of the two) can be found at many schools. If you are interested in securing executive positions or positions with the best companies, it is important to find a top-ranked international business degree programs

What Can I Do With an International Business Degree?

The growth of international business has created a demand for people who have knowledge of global markets. With an international business degree, you could work in a number of positions in many different industries.

Some common job titles for international business degree holders include:

  • Management Analyst - Management analysts help to improve organizational efficiency, reduce costs, and increase revenues. Companies who are interested in expanding have a particular need for management analysts who can offer advice on doing business foreign markets.
  • Interpreter - Many companies with broadening international ties need interpreters and translators to help them do business. If you are fluent in a foreign language and graduate with an international business degree, you could aid in communication in almost any foreign market.
  • International Sales Representative - International sales representatives and managers contact potential clients in foreign countries to sell products and services. They may handle sales campaigns, sales contracts, and similar tasks.
  • International Financial Analyst - An international financial analyst monitors and reports on finances for international operations. They may create budgets and assist with strategic planning.
  • Market Research Director - A market research director oversees marketing policies. They also help to research potential markets and plan marketing campaigns.
  • Entrepreneur - An international business degree can also assist you with entrepreneurial endeavors. The education that comes with this degree will make it easier to do business in the global marketplace.