Careers with an International Business Degree

An international business degree program can teach you skills in areas such as international business strategy, management, finance marketing, human resources, cultural understanding, technology and the business processes.



These skills serve as an excellent foundation for virtually any career in fields that related to conducting business in the global marketplace.


For example, you may choose to pursue careers such as International Account Executive, International Bank Manager, or International Business Analyst, among many others.



More On What You Can Do with an International Business Degree

With additional training, education or experience above your undergraduate degree, you can choose to pursue a specialized role, such as those found within the fields of accounting, finance, marketing, transportation and logistics, and management information systems.


Fortunately, as a graduate, you’ll be in a good position to pursue graduate studies in business, or in other fields such as education, law, and others.


So, if you want to know more about where a degree in this field can take you, read on below. This guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers. 





Careers Directly Relevant to this Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying international business at the post-secondary level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to this education, either because the subject matter of these programs in general relate to the career, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in an international business degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:



Brand Manager

Business Development Officer

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Director of Strategy

Director of University Admissions

Diversity Consultant

E-Commerce Manager


Education Abroad Counselor


Field Service Agent

Foreign Affairs Officer

Foreign Exchange Trader

Foreign Trade Manager


Intellectual Property Manager

International Account Executive

International Advertising Executive

International Aid and Development Project Officer

International Bank Manager

International Business Analyst

International Business Consultant

International Sales Director

International Trade Analyst

International Trade Specialist

Investment Consultant


Manufacturing Executive

Marketing Consultant

Microfinance Project Officer

Multicultural Development Officer

Natural Resource Policy Analyst

Political Campaign Manager

Project Supervisor

Publishing Rights Manager

Sales Representative

Social Researcher

• Stockbroker

Trade Commissioner

Travel Manager

University Professor

Wire Transfer Specialist


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



What International Business Teaches You

International business degree programs are designed to provide you with an in-depth understanding of business activity that spans international borders, and the complications thereof.


Studying international business also helps you recognize opportunities in international business, and teaches you strategies on how best to pursue them. In an international business program, you will also typically study the unique set of challenges each of these strategies poses for the management and administration of the business. This involves the examination of such international business strategies as:


• Exporting to foreign markets

• Setting up production facilities abroad

• Purchasing an existing production facility

• Expanding current facilities

• Merging with another firm


Doing business in the global economy requires a different perspective than business conducted exclusively in a domestic setting. A degree in this field is meant to provide you with that perspective. 



Who Employs International Business Graduates?

Below are some examples of the types of public and private employers with whom you may find work as a graduate (not an inclusive list):


• Advertising and marketing agencies

• Accounting firms

• Airlines

• Banks and financial institutions

• Colleges and universities

• Development Banks

• E-Commerce companies

• Financial and management consultancies

• Governments

• Hotels

• Human resources consulting firms

• International Aid/Development Organizations

• Manufacturers and distributors that operate internationally

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• NGOs engaged in international public interest campaigns

• NGOs involved in development

• NGOs involved in political actions

• Oil, gas and energy companies

• Technology firms

• Travel Agencies


Please Note: You may also find work with organizations that operate both domestically and internationally





Employable Skills of Graduates

International business programs can teach you a set of skills as well as a knowledge base that is unique to the major, and highly employable in relevant careers. Some of these skills include:


Global Perspective

• Ability to think globally

• Possess an understanding of how globalization impacts the business community, locally, nationally and internationally

• Knowledge of, and sensitivity to, other countries and cultural practices

• An understanding of the global economy

• An understanding of economic relationships between countries


Cross-Cultural Knowledge

• Typically fluent in multiple languages

• Comfort in dealing with colleagues from different cultures

• Ability to adapt to living in different cultures

• Ability to motivate workers across cultures


Foreign Banking and Finance Skills

• Knowledge of banking practices in different countries

• Knowledge of foreign financial markets

• Comfort with moving money across countries

• Comfort in dealing with foreign currencies

• Comfort in handling risks associated with exchange rates

• Ability to handle loans in different currencies from different markets

• An understanding challenges of international investment decisions


Knowledge of International Business Issues

• An understanding how culture, infrastructure, government and consumer characteristics affect international business

• Ability to adapt marketing campaigns across cultures

• Ability to organize international negotiations

• An understanding of international commercial and economic disputes

• Ability to assess international environmental dimensions and establish their effect on business operations

• Ability to perform international sales forecasts and industry outlooks

• An understanding of the need for changes in management style and leadership in international projects vs. domestic projects

• General or specific knowledge in international business related law, marketing, finance, management, human resources and business strategy issues



What Industries Employ Graduates?

As a graduate of international business, you will be well versed in the various international dimensions of business, such as human resources, strategy, finance, accounting and management. There happen to be a multitude of industries in which you can find work based on this knowledge base:


• Foreign Exchange Trading

• International Advertising and Marketing

• International Banking

• International Brand Management

• International Lending

• International Treasury Operations

• Travel, Tourism, and Transportation



Typical Salary Level of Grads

The salary you could earn as an international business graduate first entering the workforce can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (i.e. undergraduate vs. graduate degree, etc.)

• Whether or not you end up working in international business

• The industry in which you find work (such as oil & gas, currency trading, etc.)

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• If you have an area of specialty (such as marketing)

• Other skills you may have


Graduate Salary - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $52,276 CAD* is the average salary earned by Business and Commerce graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Business and Commerce, not specifically for International Business graduates. Unfortunately, similar statistics for graduates from other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.






Gaining Career Experience as a Student

Pursuing an internship (for our purposes also known as a practicum, field placement, or co-op work opportunity) in a career field that's relevant to your international business degree is the best way to gain relevant work experience while you’re still in school. These opportunities allow you to gain professional competencies, while simultaneously offering employers valuable temporary team members.


An internship position can also result in being hired by the sponsoring organization upon graduation. If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated. They will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else.



How Do I Find a Relevant Internship?

If these opportunities are an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Faculty of Business staff, as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



International Business Scholarships

If you’re an international business student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck; our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to international business, as well as scholarships that are available to general business students.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations 

To find out more about careers directly related to your degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters

Canadian Society of Customs Brokers

Forum for International Trade Training


United States

American Association of Exporters and Importers

National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America Inc.

Office of International Trade

United States Council for International Business



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