International Business Careers: Job Descriptions & Salary Info

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Learn about careers in international business. Get job description, salary and education requirement information. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of an international business career.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in International Business

Professionals in the field of international business work in multinational businesses or manage the business for a U.S. company overseas. There are many ways to enter to the field of international business, with some options including careers as a management analyst, financial analyst or market research analyst. You can learn more, at a glance, here:

Management Analyst Financial Analyst Market Research Analyst
Career Overview Management analysts use research methods and business strategy to advise mangers on ways to improve a company's efficiency and increase revenue. Financial analysts assess a company's portfolio and business strategies to advise both individuals and organizations on their investment decisions. Market research analysts work with companies to understand customer behavior through data research and analysis.
Education Requirement Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's degree preferred for top positions Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's degree preferred for top positions Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's degree preferred for top positions
Program Length 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4-6 years, including the master's degree
Certification Certification is not required, but employers may prefer Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation Certification is not required, but employers may prefer Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation Certification is not required, but employers may prefer Professional Researcher Certification (PRC)
Experience Requirement Several years of experience in a related field None; entry level None; entry level
Job Outlook for 2012-2022* 133,800 additional jobs expected (19% increase) 39,300 additional jobs expected (16% increase) 131,500 additional jobs expected (32% increase)
Mean Salary (2014)* $90,860 $92,250 $68,700

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Management Analyst

Management analysts, also known as management consultants, work with clients to reduce costs, increase revenues and improve the efficiency of an organization by gathering and analyzing relevant data, conducting interviews and making recommendations through detailed reports. Professionals work long hours, sometimes more than 40 hours each week. In addition, tight deadlines, frequent travel and demanding clients can lead to high stress levels. Still, this career path is predicted to experience faster than average growth, especially as international businesses continue to increase the demand for management consultants. Professionals who have specialized in a particular region or type of business function will enjoy more opportunities.

Requirements

Management analysts must have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as management, accounting, economics, marketing or business administration; however, employers often prefer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Those planning to work in international business should be fluent in at least one foreign language. In addition, most management analysts gain several years of relevant work experience before advancing to this position. Certification is not required in this field, but the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. (IMC) offers a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation that could set you apart in the job market. To earn this designation, you must be interviewed by members of the organization, submit client reviews and pass an extensive examination focused on a specific code of ethics designed by the IMC.

In November 2012, some employers of management analysts were looking for the following:

  • An oil refining company in Texas is looking to hire an international business analyst who can speak fluent Spanish. Candidates should be able to estimate project costs, converse with vendors, perform risk analysis and travel by airplane when necessary.
  • A financial services firm in North Carolina wants to hire a business analyst with three to 12 years of work experience in the field. Responsibilities include creating documents for efficient project management, testing systems and analyzing complex problems through the use of automated systems. Candidates are required to possess a strong background and understanding of project management, Microsoft software and various testing procedures. Certification as a business analyst or project manager is preferred.
  • A government and military technology company based in Honolulu, Hawaii, is seeking a management analyst for the administration department at an office located in Virginia. Duties include overseeing personnel, conducting policy reviews, communicating project goals and researching new techniques. Candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree and experience with Microsoft Office.

Standing Out

The BLS notes that strong analytical, communication and problem-solving skills are essential for this career path. In addition, self-confidence and strong time-management skills are necessary. Even with a predicted faster-than-average growth in employment, competition for jobs is still fierce. The best opportunities will be reserved for those who have gained specialized expertise, certification and an advanced degree. In addition, a strong international business and foreign language background will help you stand out amongst your peers. Experience in human resources, information technology or management can also be highly beneficial.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts study trends, analyze financial statements, evaluate potential investment opportunities and recommend investments based on a client's desired portfolio. Many work in securities firms, insurance companies and banks. Whether a financial analyst is employed domestically or internationally, the focus on trends within specific industries and regions is vital. Most professionals work in offices full-time with frequent travel; however, in 2010, roughly one-third of these professionals worked between 50 and 70 hours each week. In 2010, nearly half of all financial analysts worked within the financial and insurance industries. Advancement is available for those with a master's degree and experience in a specialized filed. Advanced roles include portfolio manager, fund manager, ratings analyst and risk analyst.

Requirements

Financial analysts must have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as accounting, finance, statistics, business administration or economics; however, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master's degree in finance is often preferred. Licensing through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is not required for entry-level positions as it requires sponsorship from your employer. In addition, certification is not required, but it is advantageous. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation offered through the CFA Institute is highly regarded in this industry. To obtain this designation you must pass three examinations, have four years of relevant work experience and possess a bachelor's degree.

In November 2012, some employers of financial analysts were looking for the following:

  • A retail company is seeking an investment management analyst to work at the New York City office. Duties include analyzing and creating key portfolio initiatives in relation to the company's budget and business strategy. While a candidate can be considered with a bachelor's degree in retail, finance or engineering, experience in fashion and retail is required.
  • A healthcare services company based in California wants to hire a financial management analyst with seven to 10 years of experience. This position reports directly to the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and is responsible for working with the staff to conduct financial analyses, perform organizational initiatives, prepare budgets and provide project management leadership. A master's degree in business, health or hospital administration is required.
  • A manufacturing company based in Fort Worth, Texas, wants to hire an international financial analyst with a bachelor's degree in either accounting or finance and four to six years of work experience. Candidates must be able and willing to spend at least half of their time traveling. This position reports directly to the Vice President of Finance, and duties include conducting financial and operational analysis, reporting on all international business activities and monitoring international expense reports.

Standing Out

To stand out as an international financial analyst, you should specialize in a region or country. If you have a strong understanding of that area's culture, language and business environment, you can become an asset to an organization eager to conduct business there. In addition, develop strong technical and research skills so that you will be able to work independently with the obscure information necessary to make informed financial decisions.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts collect, analyze and report on data necessary to create successful marketing strategies and help companies improve their business plans. International market research analysts may experience a great deal of variety in their career, although most projects focus on a particular region. While some companies hire market research analysts to perform research, most professionals in this field are hired by consulting firms and work with companies on a per-project basis. This career path requires that you work full-time with long hours, especially as deadlines approach. International market research analysts can expect to travel, but technological advances many minimize these opportunities.

Requirements

An entry-level requirement for employment as a market research analyst is a bachelor's degree in market research. You could also major in a relevant field, such as statistics, business administration or statistics. While this can help you get your foot in the door, employers often prefer to hire those with a master's degree, especially for top positions. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) specializing in marketing or international business would prepare you for international positions. In addition, you should learn a foreign language to be a contender in the work force.

In November 2012, some employers of market research analysts were looking for the following:

  • An e-Commerce contracted in Illinois wants to hire a market research analyst. Responsibilities include developing analytics for customer modeling, analyzing customer feedback, reporting on trends and building contacts. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in marketing, statistics or economics. In addition, candidates must have experience with text analytics tools, statistical modeling, retail brands and Web ecosystems.
  • A telecommunications company in Arizona wants to hire a market research analyst to collect and catalog large amounts of data housed in the company library. Duties would include interpreting database information and creating reports. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in business or marketing and have strong analytical and research skills.
  • A media company in Florida wants to hire a marketing research analyst for their business intelligence division. Duties would include consulting with clients, developing data collecting procedures, conducting data analysis, writing reports and making presentations. Candidates must have three to five years of experience in market research with strong statistical, communication and presentation skills. A bachelor's degree in marketing, business, mathematics or economics is required.

Standing Out

To stand out as a candidate for international positions as a market research analyst, you will need to speak at least one foreign language fluently. It may be beneficial to major in both marketing and either international business or international relations. A graduate degree could also improve your job prospects, especially if you focus on a particular region, such as Eastern Europe or Asia.

To improve your job prospects, you could earn the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC). This designation is offered by the Marketing Research Association and requires that you not only become a member of the organization, but also requires an examination and three years of work experience. You must complete regular continued education courses through the association and renewal is required every two years.

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