International Business Careers: 2021 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary

International Business Careers: 2021 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary
Imed Bouchrika by Imed Bouchrika
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

A strong workforce of 11.5 million is in the field of international business (Data USA, n.d.). As humanity transcends state boundaries, more global business opportunities will become possible. The trend of increasing globalization, and subsequently, global employment, is only going to continue after the pandemic, experts predict.

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.

International Business Careers Table of Contents

  1. Why pursue a career in international business?
  2. International Business Career Outlook
  3. Required Skills for International Business
  4. How to Start Your Career in International Business
  5. How can I advance my career in international business?
  6. Alternative Career Options for International Business

Why pursue a career in International Business?

1. International business careers open many possibilities for personal and professional growth.

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.

2. International business careers give you an economic advantage.

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.

3. International business careers are future-proof.

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.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018

International Business Career Outlook

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.

RoleSalaryDemand
Advertising Account Executives$47,4703%
Logisticians
$76,27030%
International Sales Representatives
$76,8705%
Public Relations Specialists
$62,81011%
Investment Bankers
$64,7704%
Labor Relations Specialists
$73,240-4%
Foreign Exchange Consultants
$83,2905%
Management Analysts
$87,66014%
Economists
$108,35013%
Human Resource Managers
$121,2209%
Financial Managers$134,18017%
International Marketing Managers$142,17010%

Required Skills for International Business

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.

Essential Skills for International Business

  • Data Analysis. Business is a data-driven field. Professionals here will be tasked to solve complex business issues at the international level. Gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data will be part of their day-to-day tasks.
  • Financial Accounting. Business professionals must be comfortable speaking the language of finance. Most positions in this field need to handle financial transactions often. For this reason, they must be capable of understanding and creating financial statements.
  • Global Economics. International business professionals need to understand the economic factors at play on the global scale. This knowledge will come in handy for forecasting market trends and modeling solutions to modern economic problems.
  • Cross-Cultural Management. Cultural sensitivity is essential to professionals working in such a diverse environment. With this skill, they will be able to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds and work with them with ease. They will also be able to establish their own international professional network.

General Skills for International Business

  • Negotiation. International business professionals must be personable, professional, and confident to be able to win negotiations. They must also be strategic when laying out business plans and contingencies.
  • Presentation. Many business transactions start with presentations. Professionals in this field must know how to create presentations with software programs. They must also be able to deliver the presentation in a way that captivates the audience.
  • Interpersonal. People in the field of business need to interact with many other professionals as part of their work. They need to be able to build rapport with these people and communicate with them effectively.

International Business Careers Image 1

How to Start Your Career in International Business

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.

What can I do with an Associate’s Degree in International Business?

Advertising Account Executives

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

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

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

What can I do with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business?

Public Relations Specialists

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

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

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

Can you get an International Business job with just a certificate?

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

How can I advance my career in International Business?

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.

What can I do with a Master’s in International Business?

Foreign Exchange Consultants

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

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

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

What kind of job can I get with a Doctorate in International Business?

Human Resource Managers

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

Financial Managers

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

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

Which certification is best for International Business?

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 Careers Image 2

Alternative Career Options for International Business Graduates

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.

What else can an International Business graduate do?

Entrepreneurs

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.

Consultants

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 Careers Image 3

Go Global with International Business Careers

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.

 

References:

  1. Data USA (n.d.). International Business. Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/cip/international-business
  2. Contractor, F.J. The world economy will need even more globalization in the post-pandemic 2021 decade. Journal of International Business Studies (2021). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-020-00394-y
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
  4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/

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