What You'll Do In an International Business Career

Learn about the muti-faceted field of international business and what your career options are.

international business job professional

Airline travel may not be as glamorous today as it was in the 1960s, but a career in international business will still give motivated globetrotters much to be excited about. Because of the vast and dynamic growth and profit in technology and communication, many corporations are establishing offices overseas. As a representative for your company in the global arena, you’ll enjoy all the responsibilities of businessperson in your field and more. Whether you score an entry level position that incorporates travel or move up to executive or manager status, in international business, you’re going places.

What does an international businessperson do?

International business workers are the compelling public faces of their companies. They act with knowledge, elegance and cultural sensitivity to facilitate deals and transactions that benefit both parties. All the key elements of success in business at home apply to business abroad: strong leadership skills, implementation of ethical behavior, expertise in your industry and adaptability to evolving technologies.

Common job titles in international business include:

  • Import/Export agent
  • Translator
  • Foreign currency investment advisor
  • Foreign sales representative
  • International management consultant  

Typical employers include banks, import/export corporations, multinational manufacturers, consulting firms, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), electronics and technology companies, and transportation industries like shipping and airlines.

What education or certification will I need to work in international business?

An associate's degree in international business will get you started on your way, but a bachelor in international business will give you an additional edge.

Many people choose to continue their business education by earning a Master in Business Administration (MBA), a highly respected advanced degree that indicates a commitment to leading in the field. Your master's will usually take one to two years to obtain. This degree will give you skills that are transferable to other areas of business.   

Another advanced degree option is the Master in International Management (MIM), which focuses almost exclusively on issues related to international business. 

Learn more about international business curriculum in What You’ll Study.

What career paths can I take in international business?

With an associate's degree in international business, you’ll be ready to work in entry level positions as an international human resources manager, international training manager, international operations manager, accountant, and in taxation and hospitality.

A bachelor's degree is your entrée to the all of those fields plus opportunities in recruitment, sales, brokering customs and executive assisting. Your management opportunities increase exponentially with an MBA, the most popular degree awarded in business. With an MBA and the Master of International Business, you’ll be prepared for roles including:

  • International marketing director
  • Financial controller
  • Multinational manager
  • Business development director
  • International trade and customs manager
  • International foreign policy advisor  

Learning a new language and keeping up to date on technology will give you a competitive edge.

Those who wish to apply their business knowledge in an academic setting can go on to earn a PhD in international business, which will open up research, teaching and publishing opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook places employment of interpretors and translators at 46 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average for all occupations. International management analysts rested at 19 percent job growth for the same time frame, which is faster than average for all occupations. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Learn about Pay & Job Projections.

Love business but want to keep your feet on the ground? Explore similar career options in business administration, finance, accounting and human resources.

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