International Business Career Options

Sep 30, 2019

Bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees are available in international business. Careers in this field can include working in the U.S. for a global company or traveling and living abroad in support of an international business. Learn about the educational requirements, the growing career options, job growth projections, and salary information for graduates in this field.

A degree in international business can lead to many job opportunities, including international economist, management analyst, and top executive. Some of these positions require only a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, while others may require a master's degree or a Ph.D.

Essential Information

Degrees in international business are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree level. Employment in the field of international business could involve working in the U.S. for a company that does business abroad or actually traveling or living abroad to assist a U.S.-based company. As business becomes increasingly global, there are a growing number of career options in international business, which typically involve sales, finance, strategic planning, operations and marketing.

Job Options International Economist Management Analyst Top Executive
Required Education Master's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Other Requirements Ph.D Master's Master's
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for economists)* 14%* 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $104,340 (for economists)* $83,610 * $189,600 (for chief executives)*

Source *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

International Economist

An individual interested in finance and might consider a career as an international economist. These professionals study exchange rates and currencies, the effects of trade policies and global financial markets as a whole. International economists may be responsible for assessing a country's economic risk if a corporation is considering expansion or monitoring the economic climate in countries where a company is currently doing business.

Educational Requirements

Most careers in international economics require a master's degree at minimum, and employers increasingly prefer candidates with a doctoral degree in economics and a specialization in international business or international economics. Graduate programs may lead to a Master of Business Administration, with a concentration in international economics or a Ph.D. in International Economics.

Salary and Employment Information

Potential employers for international economists include government agencies, international organizations and businesses with international branches. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for economists is expected to increase 8% between 2018 and 2028. However, job prospects are expected to be best for individuals with graduate degrees and knowledge of global markets. Also noted by the BLS, the median annual salary for all economists in May 2018 was $104,340.

Management Analyst

Becoming a management analyst is another international business career option. Management analysts are employed by a wide variety of businesses on either a full-time or part-time basis. These workers examine key aspects of an organization and develop methods to streamline operations and reduce costs, helping businesses to run more efficiently and effectively. Government agencies and private industries frequently rely on management analysts to help improve the efficiency of overseas businesses, which makes this position highly relevant to international business.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for entrance into this field, but many management analyst jobs, especially in the private sector, require a master's degree in business administration. Aspiring management analysts specifically interested in working in global markets might benefit from minors or concentrations in international business or International MBA programs. Management analysts may also pursue management consultant certification, offered by the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc., in order to prove an additional level of proficiency and skill to an employer. This certification requires a minimum level of education and experience along with the completion of an examination and interview. This designation requires re-certification every three years.

Salary and Employment Information

Management analysts work for government agencies and a wide range of private industries, including technical, management and scientific consulting firms. According to the BLS, employment in this field is expected to grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the national average. This significant growth can, in part, be attributed to the expansion of international business, which where management analysts will be needed to help devise strategies for entering new markets. Earnings for management analysts vary significant depending upon the branch of government or type of industry, but the median annual salary was $83,610 in May 2018.

Top Executives

Students with a degree in business and an interest in global markets might aspire to become top executives. Top executives can have different job titles, including president, chief operating officer, general manager, vice president, chief executive officer and chief information officer. Regardless of job title, all top executives aspire to create effective business policies to help their company succeed. The international business aspect of this career comes via the required travel. Top executives regularly visit with international offices to monitor their operations. Additionally, top executives regularly arrange and attend meetings with international companies to form a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree may be enough to get in the door with a company, but top executive jobs are highly coveted, and therefore a graduate degree is generally required. In order to hold a top position at a company that does business abroad, a master's or doctoral degree with an international specialization is recommended. Possessing a graduate degree shows a greater level of dedication, proficiency and professionalism to employers. Many top executives start out as lower-level managers within an organization and work their way up to a top executive position via promotions.

Salary and Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the global economy is growing, making international business skills related to marketing and economics crucial to a top executive's success. Regularly attending and participating in international business seminars and conferences can help expand a top executive's knowledge of the global economy so that they can continue to lead their company on a successful path. Also per the BLS, there were around 2.6 million jobs for top executives in 2018. Little employment growth is expected in this competitive field; specifically, a growth of 6% is projected for 2018-2028. May 2018 BLS salary data shows a median annual salary of $189,600 for chief executives and $100,930 for general and operations managers.

For those interested in international business, there are a variety of career paths to take, depending on one's interests and personal skills. A bachelor's degree is a good place to start for those interested in this career field, but a master's degree is required for some positions and can give an edge to those applying for other positions.

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