The modern business world is undoubtedly international in scope and influence. Multinational corporations, manufacturers, law firms and other globally minded companies serve significant international clientele. Countless U.S.-based firms have expanded into lucrative overseas markets on their paths to growth. As more companies of every size make plans to capture new markets, skilled international business managers will be needed to make it happen.

You may be wondering what an international business manager career entails. In this career guide, you’ll find the answers to your questions, including what international business managers do, where they typically find employment, and the education and training required to break into this exciting field. Perhaps your skills and interests will match the requirements of an international business manager position.

Heavy competition can be expected for these positions, so prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates and employment opportunity, which vary according to location, education and experience.

What is International Business Management?

Just as in domestic business management, the range of occupations in international business management varies; it includes specialties such as finance, human resources, strategic planning, marketing, sales and operations. Most jobs are found in the U.S., but opportunities exist for working abroad, as well. International management positions are found in U.S.-based subsidiaries of foreign corporations, or in domestic businesses with overseas operations.

Why International Business Management Matters

As technology expands, the world is getting smaller. It is becoming easier for businesses to distribute products and services to customers around the globe, as a result more are entering the international marketplace – and will need strong management to be successful. International business managers contribute their cultural skills and knowledge of international economics, trade, governments, contracts, markets and finance to ensure an organization’s entrance into international markets is aligned with its goals and objectives.

Specific job duties for international business managers will vary according to the actual position. They may include finding new markets for a company’s products, or negotiating the sales contracts that will enable a manufacturing firm to ramp up production. Some international business managers may specialize in marketing and advertising to foreign customers, while others are responsible for recruiting and hiring personnel around the globe. In general, international business managers are accountable for making a company’s efforts in global markets profitable.

Where Can I Find Jobs in International Business Management?

Think about the types of products and services that are used worldwide, and you’ll have a good idea of where international business management jobs can be found. Telecommunications and information technology firms have a significant global presence, as do manufacturers of everything from agriculture products and machinery, to toys and clothing. Other employers who need skilled international business managers include government contractors, financial services firms, petroleum companies, chemical manufacturers, and medical and pharmaceutical concerns.

Education Preparation for International Business Manager Jobs

Strong business skills are a must for a career in international business management. Most employers will require a college degree at minimum; experience in their particular industry will also be helpful. You can start preparing for an international business management career by getting the education employers want. You may also wish to obtain experience in the industry that interests you most, through summer employment or internships.

Master’s Degree: Many international business management positions require advanced degrees. You may have a competitive edge for desirable positions by earning an MBA with a specialization in international business. An advanced degree typically takes an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level. 

Some employers may offer tuition assistance to help you obtain a master’s degree.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement

Employers seeking international business managers typically require a broad base of business knowledge, including economics, finance, sales and administration. They will also require familiarity with cultural, political and environmental factors of doing business on a global platform. If you wish to pursue an international business management career, you’ll also need to hone the following skills:

  • Strong communication skills, including multiple languages.
  • Understanding and sensitivity to successfully work across cultures.
  • Initiative, self-reliance and integrity.
  • Strong interpersonal and persuasion skills.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Commitment to continuous development and training, to stay on top of international business trends.

Advancing in the international business management field is often tied to education; therefore, professionals with higher levels of education may have more opportunities for advancement.

Starting Your Career as International Business Manager

Now that you know more about international business management, you may be thinking about pursuing it as a career. If your interests include business administration and understanding different cultures, you could be successful helping organizations find success in global markets. Your first step will be enrolling in an education program designed to give you the skills employers need – so use this career guide to help you get started. 

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