Studying International Business and Trade: Bachelor's Degree and Training at a Glance
International business and trade programs teach you about foreign import and export industries and the global economy so you can conduct business globally. You learn basic business principles, and some programs allow you to choose a specific concentration, such as accounting or management. Additionally, you learn about different cultures and may have study abroad opportunities.
An international business degree can qualify you for a diverse range of occupations. One possibility is as management analyst; however, some employers prefer candidates with master's degrees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected a rapid 22% job growth for these professionals from 2010-2020. Additionally, the BLS noted that the growth of international business may spur growth for management analysts as more U.S. businesses expand overseas. Accounting and auditing positions may also grow along with the rise of globalization. These professionals may see an average 16% growth rate from 2010-2020, according to the BLS.
|Who is this degree for?||Individuals wanting to enter the international business field|| Bachelor's degree-holders who want to advance their careers |
- Bachelor's degree-holders who don't want to enroll in graduate degree programs
- Non-business majors who want to learn about the field
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary)|| - General/operations manager ($95,000)* |
- Management analyst ($78,000)*
- Accountant/auditor ($63,000)*
| - Foreign exchange manager ($105,000)** May require at least 5 years experience in the field |
- International banking manager ($122,000)** May require at least 5 years experience in the field
|Time to Completion||About 4 years full-time||1 year or less|
|Common Graduation Requirements|| - Foreign language |
- Study abroad experience (some programs)
|Prerequisites|| - High school diploma |
- College entrance exams
- Core business classes (some programs)
- First 2 years of coursework (some programs)
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com (October 2012 figures).
Bachelor's in International Business and Trade
Bachelor's programs in international business and trade are common throughout the country. Some schools require you to complete your first 2 years of coursework, including core business classes, before you can gain admission into the program. Once admitted, you may take classes that focus on a specific business specialty or learn a broad range of business areas. Technology components are typically included so you can become competent in the latest business-related computer applications.
Pros and Cons
- Some programs allow you to choose concentrations so you can customize your curriculum to your career goals
- Study abroad opportunities are available
- May qualify for a variety of career options with this degree
- Foreign language proficiency is a common requirement
- Employers may prefer candidates with master's degrees for some occupations
- Study abroad programs may require additional expenses
Courses and Requirements
Your curriculum can vary depending on whether your chosen international business and trade program offers concentrations or not. Regardless of this condition, you can expect to learn core business topics regarding international business law, marketing, accounting and economics. In addition to coursework, you may learn research methodologies and attend seminars. You may also have to complete electives outside of the business field, such as history- or politics-related classes, in order to satisfy a culture requirement. Fluency in a foreign language is commonly required. Some schools require you to complete internships in a foreign country, while others give you the option to complete internships abroad or domestically. Still, some programs don't require you to complete an internship.
If you're looking for an online bachelor's program in international business and trade, you should find plenty of options. Some schools offer the program as a specialization within a business administration major. Your learning concepts and coursework typically cover comparable topics as those in an on-campus program. While you can find fully online options, some programs have a hybrid option so you can take a portion of your classes online and the other portion on-campus.
How to Stand Out
Since potential careers in this field are centered on the global community, learning as much as you can about other cultures, geography and related subjects can be beneficial. You can do this by reading international newspapers and doing research via the web.
You can also stay updated on current industry issues by reading the International Trade Update, which is published monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Public Affairs. Additionally, the International Trade Administration provides information on various aspects of the industry, such as trade laws, exports and commercial diplomacy.
If you're interested in more than just the business field, you may be interested in majoring in international studies. This major tends to cover a broader range of topics related to the international world, such as history, social issues, economics and politics. With a degree in this field - as well as fluency in a second language - you may qualify for a translating or interpreting career. These professionals convert written or oral communication from one language into another, and they can specialize in a specific area, such as law, literature or healthcare. The BLS projected a 42% employment increase for interpreters and translators from 2010-2020. Helping fuel this increase is the growth of the global business and trade field.
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in International Business and Trade
If you're not prepared for a graduate degree program, but desire additional education, you can find post-bachelor's certificate programs in international business and trade. Some of these programs provide graduate-level study in the field, while other programs are designed for those who hold non-business bachelor's degrees and want to learn about the international business and trade field. A bachelor's degree is necessary to gain admission into one of these programs.
Pros and Cons
- Can take graduate-level courses without enrolling in a graduate degree program
- Online options available
- Can learn foundational concepts in the field if you hold a non-business degree
- Must earn a bachelor's degree first
- Employers may prefer a graduate degree rather than a certificate for some occupations
- Some programs can take up to a year to complete
Courses and Requirements
Certificate programs vary for each school, including how many credits are necessary to complete the program and what topics are covered. Generally, each program has at least 1 required class. Some programs allow you to choose a portion of your coursework through electives. Topics that may be covered include business principles, international marketing, international economics and international finance.
Online and hybrid options for post-bachelor's certificate programs in this field can be found. Since these programs are grounded in coursework, the curriculum is well-suited to a distance-learning format.
How to Stand Out
While completing your certificate program, you can join student clubs related to international business or different cultures. These organizations can provide you with networking opportunities as well as provide opportunities to participate in events, community service and field trips.
Learning at least 1 foreign language may also benefit you as you learn about international business and trade concepts. If you plan to work in this field, it's probable that you'll interact with people from other countries, and being fluent in another language may come in handy.