Individuals with a flair for travel and who desire cultural immersion may want to earn an online bachelor's in international business. These multidisciplinary degrees provide students with the training needed to thrive in a global market. The following guide highlights admission and programmatic requirements, underscores the importance of finding an accredited degree, reviews common coursework, discusses career outcomes, and provides salary information.
Overview of International Business Degrees
An international business bachelor's degree allows students to work in both the U.S. and other countries in areas like marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, and sales. By completing a bachelor's degree in international business, students gain an understanding of how factors such as culture, religion, workplace decorum, socioeconomics, and politics affect the work they do.
When earning an online bachelor's in international business degree, students complete the vast majority of requirements online. The only exception occurs if they want to complete an internship -- either domestically or internationally. This degree suits students with an interest in business and the world outside their own, as well as those who love adventure and desire a greater understanding of how individuals outside the U.S. conduct business. As digital media and international travel makes the global economy feel smaller, roles for individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to make culturally appropriate business decisions are set to grow.
To receive consideration for admission to an international business bachelor's degree, prospective learners must supply official, sealed transcripts from any schools attended. Applicants should possess a minimum GPA of 2.5, but this number varies by school. They must also provide either SAT or ACT scores.
Most schools allow learners to complete the CommonApp for multiple institutions rather than filling out individual applications, saving them time. They will still, however, need to pay individual application fees -- none of which are refundable. If the institution requires personal essays, degree seekers should review the prompt(s) as soon as possible, giving themselves time to fully consider the question and how to best answer it. Most schools also require at least three letters of recommendation from former teachers, supervisors, mentors, counselors, or other non-family members who can speak to the student's preparedness.
What Will I Learn?
Unlike general business programs that introduce students to concepts surrounding management, finance, accounting, marketing, and leadership, international business programs cover these topics within the framework of international commerce. For instance, an international marketing course helps students understand the importance of cultural implications when crafting campaigns. Similarly, courses on legal and ethical considerations also take into account how these rules differ outside the U.S.
Looking at programmatic requirements, degree seekers will notice that universities divide credits among several subtopics. For instance, the first 50-60 credits -- usually taken in the freshman and sophomore years -- focus on general education topics. Meanwhile, most programs devote between 30-35 credits toward the major itself, while the final 25-30 credits revolve around electives to further augment studies. In some cases, learners may use this final batch of credits to complete a related specialization such as international finance or global accounting.
Managing Across Cultures
This course helps individuals planning to find work as managers in different countries. Students learn about the cultural, religious, and social concepts to consider when directing staff, discuss differing value systems, and study attitudes about work, success, and family obligations in different regions.
An important class for anyone hoping to sell goods or merchandise across continents, students learn about legal, political, economic, and cultural considerations and how those shape marketing campaigns and strategies. Learners also read case studies on organizations that succeed or fail in global marketing.
International Financial Management
Students in this class learn about the methods and tools available for managing organizational finances across multiple international offices. Topics covered include foreign exchange rates, building international capital, diversifying portfolios, maximizing imports and exports, and managing banking in foreign markets.
Strategizing Business in Emerging Global Markets
This class helps students who hope to work in businesses outside first world countries gain the skills needed to make smart decisions for their companies. Degree seekers learn how to complete risk analyses of emerging markets based on factors such as domestic economics, cultural dynamics, and political trends. They also learn competitive strategies, policies on trade, and methods of market entry.
Consulting On Global Businesses
This course looks at common challenges and issues facing global corporations while also giving learners the tools needed to identify these issues. Students consider topics such as how local laws support/hinder businesses and how to help companies become more competitive locally and globally.
International Business Internship
Some bachelor of international business programs allow students to gain hands-on experience in global markets by sending them on semester- or year-long internships to their country of interest. Learners work with international companies to learn about marketing, finance, sales, and resource management from those who understand the current global market best.
What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor's Degree in International Business?
Completing a bachelor's in international business equips learners with skills and competencies that transfer to many types of companies worldwide. After gaining core skills, graduates qualify for the roles highlighted in the following section. Notice how the skills and roles complement one another, and then use that knowledge to consider other careers that might benefit from knowledge gained from an international business bachelor's degree.
Students who pursue an online bachelor's in business administration program gain practical skills that qualify them for careers in global corporations. In addition to gaining core competencies in traditional business topics, students learn how to translate these skills to international markets and help companies grow and flourish.
One important skill students learn relates to communicating across cultures. Degree seekers learn about concepts such as empathy, cultural awareness, religious considerations, and dealing with confrontation in different countries. They also learn the value of international networking, as many find themselves living abroad, relying on a global network to find their next opportunity. Collaboration also plays an important role, as many times you cannot simply walk to your coworker's office to discuss a topic. International business professionals must learn how to work with others in unusual circumstances to accomplish tasks and goals.
Potential Careers and Salaries
Because international business degrees focus on instilling traditional business skills that can be used internationally when paired with knowledge about global markets, graduates of these programs compete for roles in myriad fields and industries. Some may decide to use their marketing talents to oversee digital media for an international film agency while others may want to manage the accounts of a global construction firm. Still others may decide to continue their education after gaining a bachelor's degree in international business with the goal of teaching. While the roles highlighted below provide a glimpse into the types of careers graduates often pursue, there are many more your degree may qualify you for.
Business Development Manager
Annual Median Salary: $70,970
These professionals help organizations, either working in-house or as consultants, set goals for the company and develop implementable plans for helping the business grow. They focus on topics such as customer satisfaction, revenue building, brand awareness, and company loyalty while enlisting the help of multiple departments within the business.
Annual Median Salary: $41,654
Working primarily for companies focused on logistics, these professionals coordinate transport of goods either into or out of the U.S. They work with colleagues to determine shipping schedules while also reaching out to representatives from the organizations to which they import or export goods.
Annual Median Salary: $43,970
Perfect for new graduates, entry-level logistics coordinators work closely with operations managers to ensure the day-to-day flow of goods and services. This job requires attention to detail, as logistics coordinators manage many tasks, including scheduling, budgeting, and transport.
Outside Sales Representative
Annual Median Salary: $48,412
Outside sales representatives work outside the office, calling on potential and existing clients to maintain relationships and encourage new sales. They frequently travel – both domestically and internationally – to meet with clients while using various customer relationship management tools to oversee their rosters.
International Trade Compliance Manager
Annual Median Salary: $84,458
Working closely with other logistics professionals, international trade compliance managers oversee all issues related to compliance when importing or exporting goods. They stay abreast of international trade laws and policies, handle licensing problems, and conduct reviews of processes to ensure employees follow guidelines.
Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in International Business?
As distance learners wrap up their bachelor's in international business, some wonder about the advantages of completing an advanced degree. Those with baccalaureate degrees qualify for numerous entry-level roles and can progress to mid-level positions with experience. Students hoping for senior level leadership roles, however, often decide to complete another degree to help stand out from the competition. Some programs require at least two years of work experience, so degree seekers should research individual programs to get a better sense of what's expected before applying.
Accreditation for International Business Bachelor's Programs
Accreditation is a critical component of the school selection process. Students who attend unaccredited institutions frequently struggle when transferring to a different college, pursuing advanced degrees, competing for jobs, and receiving certification/licensure.
Accreditation falls into two categories: institutional and programmatic. Regional and national accreditation sits within the first category, with regional accreditation pursued by most four-year colleges and universities. Trade schools frequently seek national accreditation. Programmatic accreditation exists for individual departments and courses. When reviewing programmatic accreditation for online bachelor in international business programs, students should look for those receiving approval from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
International Business Professional Organizations
Professional organizations offer practical benefits to recent graduates and seasoned professionals. Many produce in-house publications to help practitioners stay up-to-date on research and best practices, while others share helpful resources. Some offer regional and national networking events and conferences while others provide continuing education opportunities.
International Association of Business Communicators
IABC serves the global community of international communicational professionals by providing numerous professional development opportunities, regularly scheduled events across the world, and an active job board for those looking to make their next professional move.
Association for Financial Professionals
AFC offers an international community for professionals working in finance roles at many different types of companies. The organization offers a certification program, active discussion boards, in-house publications, professional training, domestic and international events, and a job board.
International Professionals Association
IPA offers like-minded professionals the chance to network, further develop their skills, seek new jobs, and attend events focused on a variety of topics related to working abroad as a professional.