International Management Degrees: Masters, PhD & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a master's degree or Ph.D. program in international management? Read about international management program requirements, the pros and cons of a master's degree or a Ph.D. and potential careers. Please read on to find out more.
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Study International Management: Degrees at a Glance

A degree program in international management will typically provide you with management skills that can be applied in the global marketplace. You can expect to gain international executive training and a fundamental understanding of national and global organizations. Graduates will understand the theory and practice of international business management and be able to operate successfully in different cultural settings and within diverse economic and political environments. With a Ph.D., you could also enter academia, research, and even international business policy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for management analysts was set to increase by 22% from 2010-2020, which was above average. Growth for financial managers was below average at 9%, while the figure was 13% for human resources managers. There was only 5% projected growth for top executive and chief executive positions. Job growth for postsecondary researchers and teachers was projected to be 17%.

Master's Doctorate
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in managing a wide variety of businesses around the world or helping national businesses expand globally People who want to work in international business policy, academia, and business research
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Management analyst ($88,000)*
- Financial manager ($120,000)*
- Human resources manager ($109,000)*
- Junior college business professor ($71,000)*
- Postsecondary business professor ($87,000)*
- Top or chief executive ($177,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years full-time 3-5 years after the master's degree
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 30-50 credit hours
- Master's thesis/research paper
- Master's exams
- International travel requirements (in some cases)
- Foreign language requirement
Most (or all) of the master's degree requirements, as well as:
- About 4-6 more graduate level courses
- Ph.D. qualifier exams
- Dissertation proposal
- Dissertation
- Foreign language requirement (sometimes)
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in international management or a related field Bachelor's or master's degree in international management or a related field
Online Availability Yes None found at this time

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Master's in International Management

A typical master's degree program in international management is designed for professionals who wish to advance in international organizations or who seek employment with companies who are planning to establish an international presence. This degree will qualify you for management positions in international business development, sales and marketing, finance, and human resources at global companies and organizations. A few of the skills you can expect to learn include preparing business plans for new foreign markets, dealing with foreign and international transaction laws, international business etiquette, and cross-cultural communication skills.

Different master's degree programs in this field may offer different concentrations. For example, you might choose a program that focuses on a specific region. Asia and the Pacific Rim are currently common regional areas of concentration due to a high volume of international trade and business. You can also choose to specialize in an area such as marketing, technology, health care, sustainability, finance, and more.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Holding a master's degree in international management can give you a lead on many other job candidates
  • You can often cater your education specifically to your area of interest and the region on which you want to focus
  • Online programs are available

Cons

  • Many positions in this field require only a bachelor's degree, as long as the potential employee also has work experience
  • Job searches in international management tend to be national and international, so it's likely that you'll be required to relocate
  • Earning your master's degree is likely to be expensive and time consuming

Courses and Requirements

In a master's degree program in international management, you'll usually study the fundamentals of management, the details of international management and the cultural, geographic, and sociopolitical constraints that affect business decisions in an international firm. Some typical course include the following:

  • Financial accounting
  • International corporate finance
  • International marketing
  • Business strategy
  • Regional business law
  • Human resource management
  • Cross-cultural management
  • Business communications
  • Global supply chain
  • International business sustainability

In addition to the coursework, you'll probably be required to research and write your master's thesis, although non-thesis tracks may also be available. Learning a second language is often required or at least encouraged in certain programs, as is travel and research in a region you choose to focus on.

Online Degree Options

Fortunately, a number of online and hybrid master's degree programs are available in international management. These can be useful if you're currently employed in a business position or can't attend an on-campus program for personal reasons. Make sure that the online program you choose is from a respected, accredited university.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

While you're earning your master's degree, you can take a number of steps to get ahead in the international management job market. Computer literacy and knowledge of current business technology trends can be useful. You could also gain certification or licensure in specific management areas to increase your odds of landing certain jobs. For example, being designated a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) by the Institute of Management Consultants USA could be a solid way to build your resume.

Ph.D. in International Management

Doctorate programs in international management tend to focus more on preparation for a career in business research, teaching, and sometimes policy. It can also sometimes be helpful if your goal is to become a top executive at a global company or organization. As you gain an in-depth understanding of multinational enterprises and business practices, you'll often also learn about technological developments and the movement of capital, goods, human resources, industrial resources, and a plethora of services. As is the case in master's degree programs, you can specialize in certain areas of the country or business, such as tourism and hospitality.

Class sizes in a Ph.D. program in this discipline tend to be very small. You can expect a good deal of contact with professors and advisors. Enrolling in such a program can be a very demanding, difficult process.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Your research could potentially affect international business policies and how countries and companies interact with one another
  • Earning this degree can make you eligible for a tenure-track position at a college or university
  • If you enjoy travel, this is a field that offers a lot of potential in this area

Cons

  • It's extremely competitive to get into a Ph.D. program in this field
  • In academic positions, earning tenure is not guaranteed and can be quite difficult
  • There are no online options to earn your degree

Courses and Requirements

Earning your Ph.D. in international management requires far more than coursework. You'll also typically be required to choose an area of expertise and then present a dissertation proposal before a board of advisors. Once it's accepted, you'll then research, write, and defend your dissertation. Before this occurs, however, you'll complete several course credits to get prepared. A few subjects that you may encounter are as follows:

  • International accounting
  • Strategic management methods
  • Managing global information technology
  • Organizational theory
  • Marketing

Online Degree Options

Due to the research-intensive, hands-on nature of earning a doctorate degree in international management, there are few if any online degree programs in the field. Although you may be able to take certain courses online or complete some of your research, you'll still need to attend an on-campus program.

Stand Out With This Degree

Standing out in the job market from other job applicants with Ph.D.s in international business can be difficult. The following are a few tips on ways you could do so:

  • Mastering a second or even a third language can not only be helpful, but sometimes mandatory. Whether you plan to oversee the international distribution of media content or global medical services, communicating in languages other than English will almost always be a useful skill.
  • Work towards having research findings from your dissertation published in a peer-reviewed academic or business journal. This can look good on your resume and help you garner the respect of potential employers and colleagues.
  • Learn the rules and regulations of the organizations you plan to work with and for. For example, if you're seeking a job with the federal government, learn about international trade law. A position as an international operations senior account might ask that you be familiar with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - International Business
      • PhD in Business Admin - International Business
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Global Leadership (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
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Featured Schools

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - International Business
  • PhD in Business Admin - International Business
  • PhD in Business Admin - Management

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Global Leadership (Executive Format)
  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)

Are you a US citizen?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management

What is your highest level of education?

University of Hawaii at Manoa

The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at Dallas

Texas A & M International University

Nova Southeastern University