Technology has made it possible for humanity to transcend boundaries previously thought to be impossible to overstep. But now there are global opportunities that more than 11.5 million people in international business are partaking in (Data USA, n.d.). And with globalization only becoming more rampant, that number is only going to grow. And with that, there will be more opportunities to do business outside of one’s borders that will extend beyond the pandemic.
Farok Contractor, for instance, in an article titled “The world economy will need even more globalization in the post-pandemic 2021 decade,” published in the Journal of International Business Studies, notes that “We are building a global technological civilization, undergirded by common understandings, consensus, and cooperation. History has had examples of U-turns. The glories of Rome, Chang An, and Pataliputra were followed by some darker periods. However, today, the cross-border flow of information, spread of education, literacy, knowledge, and technology have progressed to the global scope and developed a nascent global consciousness, which makes it more difficult (although not impossible) for regression. The post-pandemic world is likely to need, and witness, even more globalization” (Contractor, 2021).
This guide will inform individuals who are aspiring to pursue international business careers and are considering taking up a business degree or other college degrees related to this field. It will discuss the job opportunities, career paths, necessary skills, certification programs, and alternative career options for international business professionals.
Pursuing international business career paths means you have a good chance of becoming a part of a diverse workforce, traveling the world, and meeting people from all walks of life. As you gain more experience in this field, you will also develop your intercultural competence, a quality sought by many employers in an increasingly globalized world.
With an education in international business, you will learn how to manage your finances. You will have a good grasp of how to build an emergency fund, how much to allocate to savings, where best to invest, and how to optimize your wealth portfolio.
Amidst all the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, it will be hard to find career paths with futures as secure as international business. Increasing globalization would require global citizenship skills that international business degrees can offer. You can even further yourself in the world of international business with an online master’s degree in finance.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) projects an 8% growth in business and financial occupations between the years 2020 and 2030. As illustrated in the table below, some international business careers can grow by as much as 30% within the same period.
The compensation rate for job roles in this guide ranges from $47,470 to $142,170. Meanwhile, the average international business salary according to Data USA is $92,907.
|Advertising Account Executives||$47,470||3%|
|International Sales Representatives||$76,870||5%|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,810||11%|
|Labor Relations Specialists||$73,240||-4%|
|Foreign Exchange Consultants||$83,290||5%|
|Human Resource Managers||$121,220||9%|
|International Marketing Managers||$142,170||10%|
The development of the skills below should be a part of one’s career development plan in international business. These skills will help one thrive in the complex environment of global careers.
Entry-level positions in international business, much like other professions, typically require an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. The former takes around two years to accomplish, and the latter, four. Some universities and colleges offer both options online.
Advertising account executives communicate with clients regarding their advertising needs. They design promotional campaigns according to these needs, present them to clients, and execute them upon their approval. Part of an executive’s job is to manage the budget and schedules for the campaigns. Throughout and after campaign execution, they also prepare reports regarding progress and results.
Median Annual Salary: $47,470
Logisticians systematize and oversee supply chain operations. They monitor all activities related to the movement of a product from vendors to clients, including storage, shipment, transportation, and product tracking. Their goal is to distribute goods in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
Median Annual Salary: $76,270
International sales representatives generate leads and develop strategies to sell company products and services. They reach out to international prospects, deliver presentations to them, answer any relevant questions they may have, and guide them throughout the business transaction. They must study the culture of their target market and learn about their competitors in the area/s where they are assigned.
Median Annual Salary: $76,870
Public relations specialists are primarily responsible for handling the external communications of a company and managing issues that may affect its image. They conduct research studies to gauge public perception, develop and implement communication strategies, and seek to gain more favorable responses over time. They also review promotional and advertising campaigns to ensure that they are consistent with public relations objectives.
Median Annual Salary: $62,810
Investment bankers help institutions in need of capital funds to reach investors through initial public offerings. They handle the regulatory procedures, take charge of the underwriting process, and determine the optimal stock prices for a company.
Median Annual Salary: $64,770
Labor relations specialists mediate between labor unions and company management and facilitate discussions about worker grievances and labor contracts. They are the ones who draft standard operating procedures based on the agreement of both parties. They also edit the contracts to align with new rules and regulations.
Median Annual Salary: $73,240
A certificate may get you a job in the business sector but it will be quite difficult to enter the international workforce with no degree. For this reason, going to college must be on top of one’s career goals in international business.
Source: Data USA
Fast-tracking your career in international studies would require a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. With these educational credentials, there is a high chance of you advancing into a managerial position or becoming a top executive. You can upskill yourself by taking online courses and learning about leadership trends. The latter can help you in your career as you move into leadership roles.
Foreign exchange consultants help global traders pick the right securities and create the optimal investment portfolio. They must have extensive knowledge of global economic issues, foreign exchange operations, foreign currency, and exchange rates, among others.
Median Annual Salary: $83,290
Management analysts examine an organization’s systems and procedures and determine improvement points for increased operational efficiency. It is crucial for someone with this position to know how to collect and interpret data and explain the results and recommendations in a language that stakeholders understand.
Median Annual Salary: $87,660
Economists analyze market trends and make economic forecasts. They help institutions make the right financial decisions. They also work to solve socio-economic issues.
Median Annual Salary: $108,350
Human resource managers direct all the activities under the human resources department. These include recruitment and hiring, employee relations, employee engagement, training and development, performance evaluations, and compensation programs. They make sure that the goals for all these areas are being met on time.
Median Annual Salary: $121,220
There are many types of financial managers; the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) names six: (1) controllers, (2) treasurers and finance officers, (3) credit managers, (4) cash managers, (5) risk managers, and (6) insurance managers. The common task among these roles is they all see to the accomplishment of financial goals set by the companies they work for. They need to be good in mathematics and writing financial reports.
Median Annual Salary: $134,180
International marketing managers identify target consumers and study their buying behavior. They also conduct research on their market competitors. With these data at hand, they develop and implement traditional and social media marketing plans. After each campaign, they analyze the results to improve future marketing strategies and recommend new products and services based on consumer needs.
Median Annual Salary: $142,170
Certification requirements vary greatly in the field of international business. Two that might be useful to everyone in this field are the certification programs offered by the Project Management Institute and the International Institute of Business Analysis. A certificate showcasing proficiency in more than one language can also widen the employment options of someone in this field.
International business graduates have the freedom to work outside corporations. Entrepreneurship and consultancy are two career paths that are alternative options for seasoned professionals in this field.
Entrepreneurs turn new business ideas into a reality. They direct all operations of a small company, from hiring to marketing to creating products. Prior to starting their own business venture, they typically acquire years of education and experience, which allow them to be familiar with all the processes and systems that are involved in the industry they want to get into.
Someone who is already established in the field may be hired by individuals and institutions for consultancy services. In this role, they will be expected to research business problems and propose solutions. As of 2018, there are 440,670 business and financial operations consultants in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
International business career paths offer individuals a huge space for career exploration. Degree holders in this field can explore administrative, managerial, and finance-related roles in all industries. There is a steady demand for professionals with business and financial know-how, they can look forward to having plenty of opportunities once they graduate. In addition, having this level of business acumen can also open up other avenues to explore for them, such as starting their own business or helping others start theirs. International business careers are the perfect option for those who do not want to be constrained in terms of their future career choices.