International Marketing Degrees: Master's, PhD & Online Course Info

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Master's degrees and doctorates in international marketing can lead to academic and private or public sector careers. Get the truth about requirements, courses and career options for your degree.
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Studying International Marketing: Degrees at a Glance

A master's or Ph.D. in international marketing may lead to business or academic opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. A master's degree in marketing management focused on international marketing can help you promote your organization's products or services globally. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that demand for marketing managers in general will grow 14% from 2010-2020, similar to expected growth in opportunities overall. With a Ph.D., you could pursue an academic or consulting track. Since business school enrollments are increasing worldwide, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) anticipates doctoral faculty shortages.

According to the American Marketing Association, using your master's in marketing or international marketing or MBA with a marketing emphasis to work for a domestic corporation that has overseas operations could help you eventually move into international marketing. With some experience, you may be able to work at your company's worldwide offices.

Master's Ph.D.
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in marketing practitioner or consulting positions Individuals interested in academic or advanced consulting opportunities
Common Career Paths (with approximate salary) - International sales manager ($95,000 - advanced experience may be required for this salary)*
- International brand manager ($100,000 - advanced experience may be required for this salary)*
- International marketing manager ($103,000 - advanced experience may be required for this salary)*
- International marketing consultant (salary not available)
- International business professor ($139,000)**
- Marketing professor ($143,000)**
Time to Completion 1-2 years, full-time 4-5 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Typically 30-40 credit
- Internship
- Thesis or project
- Approximately 70-80 credits
- Internship or teaching requirement
- Comprehensive exam, orals and dissertation
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree; marketing desirable Bachelor's degree; marketing desirable
Online Availability Available; individual courses may also be available Rare to non-existent; online coursework may be available

Sources: *Salary.com (2012 median salary), **The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (2010 mean salary).

Master's Degrees Covering International Marketing

Master's degree programs specifically titled international marketing are less common than master's in marketing or MBA programs that permit international marketing-related study, but they do exist, both on-campus and online. You could learn marketing skills supporting international business-to-business, business-to-consumer and direct marketing, brand management, market research or promotions.

You'll take core marketing courses, or, in an MBA program, core courses in all fundamental business disciplines. You can pursue electives that support your international marketing objective. International marketers often have or gain second or third language skills and cross-cultural understanding through area studies, political science, international relations or other backgrounds that support success in intercultural communication. With these degrees, you might consider careers with multinational organizations, trade intermediaries, financial institutions, import-export firms and other entities in the U.S. and abroad.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Knowledge of increasingly global marketplace could give you an edge over other marketers
  • May lead to a career involving travel and living abroad
  • Internships may involve international experiences
  • Experience and contact base may be enriched by getting to know fellow students with diverse international and intercultural backgrounds

Cons

  • An MBA or dual degree combined with area studies could be equally competitive
  • Programs may require learning one or more additional languages
  • Some years of work experience may be required before you get an overseas assignment
  • Requirements may mean forgoing in-depth study in other business disciplines, leading to less employment flexibility

Courses and Requirements

In an international marketing master's program, you may complete advanced electives in international product development, brand management, sourcing, channel strategies, trade regulations and cross-cultural customer behavior. Schools may have study or internship abroad options. Some programs might incorporate management and marketing consulting opportunities with real-world organizations into their curriculum. A thesis or capstone project might be required.

These courses may address international marketing topics:

  • International marketing
  • Global branding and communication strategies
  • Global perspectives in consumer marketing
  • Managing relationships in the global supply chain
  • Emerging markets and the international business environment
  • International trade operations
  • Foreign markets, cultures and regimes

Online Course Info

Degrees covering international marketing are offered fully or partially online, though fully online degrees are less common than hybrid programs. Fully or partially online degree, certificate or workshop programs may be advantageous for working professionals who are ready to move ahead in their international marketing careers. Hybrid programs may require brief on-campus presence as part of a mostly virtual program that can be flexibly incorporated into a work or executive schedule. Course requirements will be the same or similar to those of classes offered on campus. You may need to use specific browsers or software to access online content.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

You may have international study or consulting project opportunities to address real-world issues through international development programs. Your team's work may impress executives of the sponsoring organization. You could attend international seminars, join relevant business clubs or affiliate with research centers focused on international business. Some schools might have clubs focused on specific areas of the world or an intercultural demographic group. You might enter an international business or social venture competition sponsored by your school or an outside entity.

Ph.D. in Marketing or Business

At the doctoral level, you may need to pursue a business or marketing degree at a school with one or more faculty members who have international marketing background, so they can offer advanced international marketing courses and mentoring support. Schools may host relevant research institutes.

The primary focus of the Ph.D. program may be to develop your research methods repertoire and prepare you either for an academic career teaching marketing or international business or for advanced consulting opportunities. You'll learn to use research tools, like applied statistics, as they relate to behavioral science and consumer decision-making. Doctoral programs will generally culminate with a dissertation defense.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Shortages anticipated according to AACSB in academic business disciplines due to retirement could lead to more positions for well-prepared candidates
  • Potentially good return on investment
  • International marketing focus could make you eligible for an academic appointment in more than one department; i.e., marketing or international or area studies research institute
  • May lead to opportunities to consult, teach or travel abroad

Cons

  • Intensity may make concurrent employment difficult to maintain
  • Program may take 4-7 years to complete so opportunity costs will apply
  • High-level fluency in one or more additional languages may be required to be competitive with multilingual international candidates

Courses and Requirements

Advanced marketing research requires highly developed quantitative skills. Doctoral programs may require that you complete a teaching engagement as well as your courses. Future scholars may be expected to author or co-author research papers suitable for journal publication and make conference presentations. You may need to choose one or more minors or maintain a high GPA.

You might take courses like these while pursuing your degree:

  • International economics: exchange rates and international adjustment
  • Marketing and electronic commerce
  • New product management
  • Consumer analysis
  • Strategic marketing
  • Capital markets

Online Courses

Fully online Ph.D. programs related to international marketing may be hard-to-find to non-existent, but some courses could be available online. Post-master's level courses or seminars with eligible registrants drawn from among Ph.D. candidates may not be available online. If you need some flexibility, or want to pursue a unique topic, you may be able to work with a professor to arrange an independent study in a mutual area of interest. You may not have to be on campus while you complete your dissertation, provided your course requirements have been met.

Stand Out with This Degree

Future academics may shine by producing quality research and demonstrating teaching skills. Both quality and quantity of output may be considered by prospective academic or consulting firm employers. Although conference presentations can help you network and become more visible, contributing your time to peer-edited journals could get you more points. If you can demonstrate that you can draw research funding to your employing institution through awards, scholarships and fellowships, you could be favorably considered in the competitive landscape.

Alternative Degree Options

Master's candidates may also want to consider a career in global operations management. In this role, you'd help marshal your organization's resources, including labor, equipment and IT, to create products or services. Logistics opportunities are expected to grow 26% from 2010-2020, according to BLS. Since practitioners frequently have bachelor's or master's degrees emphasizing business, finance, industrial engineering or supply chain management, you could combine elements of an international marketing curriculum with training and certifications approved by organizations like the International Society of Logistics to enhance your marketability.

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