Schools with International Business Programs: How to Choose

Programs offered in international business prepare students to work in an integrated global economy. Curricula include courses in finance, accounting, policy and management. Common degree programs include the Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science and a traditional or executive Master of Business Administration.

International business programs are offered by 4-year colleges and universities across the country at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, but distance learning programs are rare. A mix of private not-for-profit universities and public schools offer some of the best programs.

Top 10 International Business Schools

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report listed the best international business graduate schools, and the schools below are on that list.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $12,784 in-state, $26,932 out-of-state
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private-not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $34,268
Thunderbird School of Global Management Glendale, AZ 4-year, Public Master's, Certificate $40,794
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master's $20,966 in-state, $42,016 out-of-state
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $44,176
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $40,984
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $42,874
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Master's $13,431 in-state, 28,533 out-of-state
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $46,320
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $48,656

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Total program costs for international business programs can range from $40,000 for 4-year undergraduate programs to approximately $100,000 for 2-year Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at top schools. Most programs require a study abroad component and some schools have long-established exchange programs with prominent schools worldwide. Students interested in international business programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • In addition to tuition and relocation expenses, the cost of any study abroad requirements should be figured into budgeting when selecting a school.
  • Schools that offer enhanced study abroad components, such as exchange programs or academic competitions, may provide a graduate an advantage when seeking employment.
  • A student's application may be enhanced by corporate experience or experience living and working abroad.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in International Business

Students explore how these elements change strategic management protocols when operating abroad. Physical and technological infrastructures are assessed in terms of how to effectively operate foreign subsidiaries and how to move products and services across borders.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) International Business with Honors

The honors program is typically taken in tandem with an undergraduate business degree. Students look at subjects in the humanities, like aesthetics, value and culture, in the context of how they may impact business strategy in other countries. The student can focus on a particular region's culture, language and business practices or on a particular business discipline and how that discipline is performed across many cultures. Physical and technological infrastructures are assessed in terms of how to effectively operate foreign subsidiaries and how to move products and services across borders.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Global Affairs and Management

This master's degree in global affairs and management is designed for the student who wants a cross-disciplinary approach to the global business environment. Students in this program may want to pursue a career in the business world, but this is also for students interested in politics or global developments who want an in-depth understanding of how international business mechanisms will impact their field. Students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester and typically complete a capstone course.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Global Affairs and Management

Although both master's degree programs cover similar concepts, the M.S. program is tightly focused on pure business concepts. Programs discuss how these business concepts are carried out in international settings and across borders. Studies also include the analysis of global trade policy and regulation. Students may be required to complete an international field experience.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Business and Markets

The MBA program features an exercise in which students target a product in a geographic area and create a 2-week program on-site at that location, inviting government officials and business executives from that region to talk about business topics. This program includes participation in an international exchange program with prominent business schools around the world.

Degrees in international business are available across the country, and the University of South Carolina and Pennsylvania are among the top graduate schools. Other schools include the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona as well as Stanford University.


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