In a digitally-connected world business is conducted on a global scale and to stay competitive organisations need graduates with an understanding of international business operations

China, Japan, India, Canada and South Korea have economies that are among the world's top ten (second, third, sixth, ninth and tenth respectively), reflecting the fact that the majority of gross domestic product (GDP) is now generated outside of the USA and Europe. This trend is set to continue, with Brazil, Australia and Mexico not too far behind taking position in the top 15.

International business programmes give students an understanding of the different business management practices found all over the world, and prepare them for graduate careers working abroad or in organisations that are engaged in business on a global scale.

Why choose international business?

'I would argue that international business is absolutely central to the success of a company,' says Mehmet Chakkol, course director of MSc International Business, University of Warwick. 'The world is more connected than ever, so international trade and investment is not just the preserve of multinationals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) want to know how to trade abroad and need to know how to operate abroad if they are to grow.'

In a nutshell, students need to develop a global perspective to be successful in business. Studying international business allows you to see how globalisation has brought about an increasing 'connectedness' of businesses, markets, people and information across countries.

What's more, the skills that you develop on a course of this nature are highly sought after by employers. This demand translates into varied opportunities in a range of settings and job sectors.

What do Bachelors courses involve?

These days when recruiting for business jobs most employers expect candidates to be educated to degree level. An international business degree opens doors on several careers in a variety of sectors.

The BA International Business at the University of Westminster takes three years to complete and requires BBC to ABB at A-level. The course offers you the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad, as well as the chance to study a foreign language alongside your degree.

Over the course of three years compulsory programme modules include 'Communication for global business', 'Global business environment', 'International business practice', 'Organisational behaviour', 'International economy' and 'Strategic perspectives'.

This is far from your only option. A huge number of institutions offer undergraduate courses in international business. For example:

  • BA International Business - De Montfort University and the University of Portsmouth
  • BSc International Business Management - University of Bristol
  • BSc International Business - University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds.

Discover what you can do with a degree in international business.

Should I do a Masters in international business?

Studying for a Masters in international business is becoming increasingly popular and courses are available at a vast number of universities across the UK. While not an essential requirement to secure a graduate job in the business world, a postgraduate degree in international business deepens your knowledge and understanding of global business markets, builds on your experience in the field and crucially expands your network and list of contacts - which can help you stand out from the competition.

'There is a big demand for this kind of expertise from companies of all sizes,' explains Mehmet.

If you opt to study the one-year MSc International Business at the University of Warwick you'll cover core units such as 'Marketing in an International Environment', 'Fundamentals of Economic Behaviour', 'International Business Strategy' and 'Work and Human Resources in a Global Context'. You'll need a 2:1 in any subject for entry. Tuition fees for UK students cost £25,750 in  2022/23 .

'The course teaches students how companies design, implement and manage international strategies, as well as helps them to develop a critical awareness of the issues. Students learn about the links between strategy and performance and gain an understanding of the latest academic research,' says Mehmet.

'Warwick Business School (WBS) also offers Business in Practice as an alternative route to a dissertation, which is a large-scale simulation project where more than 500 MSc students are put into groups and compete to achieve the best performance.'

You can also study:

  • MSc International Business - Queen Mary University of London, University of Derby, University of Lincoln and the University of Salford
  • MSc International Business Management - Newcastle University and the University of East London.

Search for postgraduate courses in international business.

Learn more about funding postgraduate study.

What jobs can I do with an international business degree?

'Courses of this nature give graduates a great entry point into the corporate world or the tools to set up their own venture,' adds Mehmet.

'We have had students move into positions such as project manager, risk advisory associate, client analyst and technology researcher at multi-national companies like Deloitte, PwC, Huawei, Airbus and Accenture.'

Other possible job titles include:

An international business degree can also launch your career in exciting, global locations such as CanadaChinaFranceIndiaSingapore and the USA.

'The MSc can lead to a role in a variety of sectors, including supply chain management and management consulting,' says Dr Kim. 'Previous graduates from this course have become project management professionals, marketing professionals, and business development managers in organisations such as BEUMER group, EY, and IBM.'

You could also continue your studies with a PhD, before seeking a career in academia.

To stand out to employers take advantage of all the opportunities your institution offers, from careers services, to attending business events, volunteering as a student ambassador, and taking up opportunities for international experience.

Discover what you can do with a degree in international business.

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