If you’re considering a career in international business, there are many opportunities to move forward in this exciting field
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, several career paths in business offer excellent pay, and many of them also have an international component.
Some professional fields to consider include human resources, market analysis, financial analysis, and business operations. If you’re currently mid-career in a business field, moving to an international business career concentration can open new doors and opportunities.
A degree in international business helps position you for multiple career paths because it showcases your ability to work across cultures and understand the global economic impacts of doing business. These skills are highly coveted by enterprises that conduct business internationally, but multicultural business knowledge also is advantageous for domestic companies that work with diverse populations. Our career guide will help you determine if international business is the right career path for you.
Top reasons to work in international business
If you’re interested in global affairs and love to travel, an international business degree might be an ideal career pursuit. International business coursework is designed not only to provide basic business skills, but also to help you develop an understanding of the unique differences in operations, organizational models, regulatory requirements, and societal structures in other regions of the world.
In an increasingly global business structure, this knowledge provides an exceptional advantage by helping you learn how to develop strategies relevant to your specialty niche. Some career benefits include:
High salary potential
If you’re looking for a career that offers the potential to earn a high salary, international business offers excellent opportunities.
Better understanding of the global market
Studying international business can help you understand our increasingly global economy. This makes you an attractive candidate to a variety of companies, whether you want to work in one international location or travel to different countries.
Projected job growth
According to Northeastern University, international business jobs are projected to grow across all disciplines. Northeastern estimates 6% job growth for global economists from 2017 through 2026. Careers in global analyst management are projected to grow 14% during that same time frame.
Outsourcing different types of technology projects to offshore partners is common in today’s international business climate. In many countries, professionals from other nations with specialized skills can be hired for considerably less than a domestic employee. Business is conducted worldwide, but countries are developed to differing levels, which is why many jobs are outsourced.
According to Forbes, in 2020, the global cybersecurity market is worth $173 billion, and it’s expected to grow to $270 billion by 2026. Global spending on cybersecurity is projected to continue to increase in the future.  Cybersecurity career options in the international business community should continue to grow as cyberattacks become more prevalent.
Areas of opportunity in international business
If you’ve already begun your career, you likely can move into an international business career within the same discipline in which you’re currently working. For instance, if you work in business management, there are ample opportunities to transition to international business management.
International business careers cover the standard disciplines and best practices you learn in any specialty, but with the addition of a more robust, global business knowledge base. Some areas of opportunity include:
Popular career areas in international business:
Information systems management
Training and development
What are the different types of international business jobs?
You may be looking for an international business career that aligns with your current interests, or perhaps you want to branch out into a new sector entirely. Alternatively, you may even be starting from scratch with no previous experience in any business field.
Entry-level positions are available in areas of international business that allow you to begin your career where you are in terms of both education and experience.
Some of the fastest growing entry-level international business jobs, their salaries, and overall job responsibilities and descriptions follow:
Entry-level international business jobs
You can find an entry-level position in virtually any business discipline. We’ve highlighted three popular fields, but other specialties are also available.
If you’re planning to pursue a career plan that grows into a more advanced international business position, you should align your entry-level experience with your overall goal. For example, to ultimately achieve a high-level position in finance at some point in your career, you may want to begin as a financial analyst.
Training and development manager
Training and development professionals are more in demand than ever. According to PayScale, the average salary for a training and development manager is more than $76,000 per year. This position also often offers bonuses and incentives.
With new advances in technology, ongoing education has become an integral part of the professional trajectory across most industries. Training and development professionals are responsible for creating and budgeting training initiatives, as well as for building core curriculums to train staff and target audiences.
Financial analysts are in high demand in every industry and market. The job responsibilities for an international financial analyst include studying the market, making investment recommendations, and understanding regulatory requirements.
Since they can view finance through the lens of a global understanding, financial analysts help direct companies through political and economic upheaval and global trends and changes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career offers a median income of $81,590.
Global marketing managers develop marketing initiatives for international companies. Marketing at an international level can be an exciting career path because it means understanding the target audience in all the regions the company serves. Marketing managers may specialize in a specific geographic locale or work with marketing initiatives on a global scale.
An entry-level marketing manager with one to four years’ experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $49,000. Marketing managers with extensive experience can earn far more; in fact, marketing managers with 20 years’ experience can expect to earn an ￼average salary of $80,500, depending upon the area.
Advanced international business jobs
If you have extensive experience in your chosen industry, you may be able to complete an international business education and begin your international career at a more advanced level.
Like a domestic business career path, the career trajectory for professional growth often exists that includes education, experience, and proven results that prepare you for more advanced positions. If this is your ultimate career goal, begin now to acquire the education and experience that will prepare you.
With a clearly defined goal in mind, you can develop a plan and strategically work toward the positions, experience, and education that will help you obtain your ultimate career.
A few examples of international business careers along with a brief description of the experience and education typically required for each follow.
Human resources manager
Typically, you need one to five years’ experience in human resources (HR) before you’re eligible for a management position. If you plan to work on the global level, an international business degree is highly desirable.
This position is similar to domestic HR management positions, but it means acquiring a more in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations of the various countries in which your company operates. In today’s market, remote employees may work in various regions, as well as in satellite offices around the globe.
The average salary for this position is $116,720 a year.
A management analyst position requires not only a bachelor’s degree, but also some experience in the industry. Global analysts seek ways to improve business processes and efficiency. They may provide reports and recommendations on new or expanding markets, as well as pinpoint current problems or pain points where improvements can be made.
Management analysts work across all sectors, ranging from government agencies and military roles to positions in private and publicly traded companies. According to PayScale, average salary can range from $47,000 to $99,000 per year, depending on location, and many jobs also offer profit-sharing and bonuses.
Executives command a high salary because they offer the advanced skills and expertise necessary to guide the direction of the company. International business executives serving in a CEO position typically earn a very high salary.
Executive responsibilities include directing the various departments, making decisions about staff, assigning management, and analyzing financial reports. The median salary for a CEO is $193,850, depending upon region. For a standard executive position, this income might be closer to $100,000.
Top skills and digital tools for careers in international business
We’ve compiled research findings to help you prepare for a career in international business. The skills and tools listed will increase in demand through 2023 since employers are looking specifically for these characteristics in job candidates.
Fast-growing international business skills
Projected Posting Growth (2018-2023)
Key Performance Indicators
Customer Relationship Management
Basic Customer Service
Leadership and Management
Business Process and Analysis
Prospecting and Qualification
Source: Burning Glass Technologies
In the international business community, the most-often requested soft skills are:
Technical and specialized skills in demand include:
In the next five years, research indicates that third-party logistics will increasingly be needed by employers, a demand that’s expected to grow 31% through 2023.
Popular international business tools
Apart from traditional business tools like Microsoft Excel, you’ll likely need to master the following tools to work effectively in international business:
International business industry groups
Joining industry associations can help you build a network and discover new job opportunities. Some reputable international business organizations include:
An international business career allows job candidates to access the multiple opportunities offered by today’s global economy. This career is an exciting option for anyone who wants to learn more about different cultures or compete for positions on the global scale.
As technology continues to connect our world, an in-depth knowledge of the global economy will give your career a stable foundation to build on.