International Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 15, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an international manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Global corporations need the same kind of management positions as any company -- marketing managers, sales managers, industrial production managers -- but the nature of these managers' work is slightly different. They must take multiple cultural and environmental variables into account for their decision making process. Therefore, some international management positions may have extra requirements, such as foreign language skills.

Essential Information

An international manager is a broad title for a manager who oversees a company's global operations. In some instances, an international manager is responsible for all of a company's foreign business. Large companies may employ multiple departmental global managers, such as those in charge of international sales, cultural marketing, or overseas manufacturing. An international manager must have a keen understanding of the company's needs abroad as well as the cultural, political and operational challenges of foreign markets and available opportunities. In addition to employee relations and business direction, budgetary and economic outlooks are key concerns of management staff. As such, an international manager should be extremely knowledgeable in finance, foreign currency and the overall global market. A bachelor's degree is necessary to work as an international manager.

Career Marketing Manager Industrial Production Manager Sales Manager
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% 1% 5%
Median Salary (2018)* $124,850 $93,940 $113,860

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

International Manager Job Duties

Like their domestic counterparts, international managers plan a company's global strategy, often hiring and delegating authority to implement new policies and practices. International managers who oversee specific departments in sales, marketing or finance are responsible for their respective division's foreign operation. Departmental managers may report to a company executive or deliberate with other global management staff to determine business methods according to ethical and legal standards.

International managers often manage several employees or divisions existing in one or more geographical locations. While human resource duties may or may not fall within a manager's job requirements, it is the manager's responsibility to ensure employees and business practices conform to country, regional and international regulations. Decision-making, communication and leadership skills are essential for the success of international management staff.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't specifically track employment outlook or salary data for international managers, it does have data for related job titles. In its May 2018 report, the BLS stated that industrial production managers earned a median salary of $103,380 . This was lower than the median for sales managers, who earned a median of $124,220. In comparison, marketing managers earned a median of $132,620.

The BLS expected industrial production managers to see little or no growth in employment opportunities between 2018 and 2028, which was much less than the 5% growth expected for sales managers. Marketing managers were expected to have 8% growth during that same period.

Educational Requirements of an International Manager

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Though employees may be able to be promoted through the managerial ranks, a minimum of a bachelor's degree is typically necessary for employment in international management. A 4-year baccalaureate degree relevant to the profession can be earned through business, economics or international relations majors. Mastery of a foreign language is strongly recommended. Since international management calls on a broad range of social skills and knowledge of foreign cultures, schools may provide students with work-study opportunities abroad with global corporations.

Master of Business Administration Options

Master of Business Administration degree programs frequently offer concentrations in international business. Graduate programs take approximately 1-2 full-time years to complete and may be offered fully or partially online. A master's program places heavy emphasis on global business, tackling topics such as financial management, foreign-trade policy, strategic investment, human resources management and international marketing. Some programs offer foreign study and require fluency in a second language. Some schools may require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree, complete prerequisite courses and have sufficient experience in the field of global business or management.

Regardless of which type of managerial position you seek, the BLS forecasts a highly competitive job market. Bringing experience, a graduate degree, or skills such as a second language to the table might increase odds of securing a job as an international manager.

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