Nearly every company is going global, and virtually every aspect of the company is affected.
There are many different careers that an International Business professional can pursue. Professionals in this field typically combine this specialty with an interest or talent they hold in a particular aspect of business. For example, an International Business student who enjoys marketing may seek out opportunities in the marketing department of companies that conduct business globally, and an individual with a hobby of investing in the stock market may be a good fit as a company’s representative to overseas shareholders.
There are four main types of international business career arrangements:
- Live in the U.S. and work for a U.S. company that does business abroad, with little or no travel involved
- Live in the U.S. and travel abroad frequently to represent a U.S. company
- Live in a foreign country while working for a U.S. company, and travel back to the U.S. occasionally or rarely
- Live in the U.S. and work for a company that is based overseas with little or no travel involved
While the opportunities are endless, below are a few of the most common positions available in the International Business career field:
- Foreign Service Officer/Diplomat - This group of workers is employed by the U.S. government to live abroad and help protect the interests and the citizens of the U.S. A large part of their job is to promote peace and cooperation with their country of residence. Entry into this field is competitive, and those interested must pass the Foreign Service Officer Test and agree to live anywhere in the world. Salary is dependent upon years of service and level of education, and officers may also receive additional allowances for living and travel. According to the U.S. Department of Affairs, there are five different career tracks for diplomats:
- Management Officers - run U.S. embassies and make diplomacy work
- Consular Officers - protect Americans abroad and strengthen U.S. border security
- Economic Officers - promote U.S. economic and trade interests abroad
- Political Officers - interpret events and situations related to U.S. interests
- Public Diplomacy Officers - broaden understanding of American values and policies
- International Account Rep - Also called International Sales Rep or Executive, this position is responsible for cultivating and/or maintaining relationships with overseas clients. Compensation may include sales bonuses and is usually higher than other sales positions because of the extensive travel that is typically required.
- International Marketing/Sales Analyst -This position conducts market research to determine which areas overseas might provide good opportunity for the sale of a company’s product or service. Once they are identified, the analysts will do additional research to find out how to sell that product successfully in the new market.
- International Mergers and Acquisitions Specialist - When a company is looking to partner with or purchase an existing company abroad, the mergers and acquisitions specialist will seek out potential businesses and markets that would be conducive to the company’s goals. This includes:
- Identifying the best geographic, cultural, and political location for the company to expand
- Researching the prospective businesses (such as their financials, employees, and facilities)
- Negotiating the purchase or partnership with the potential business
- Making sure the country’s business laws regarding partnerships and mergers are followed
- Helping to implement the new relationship with that business
- International Product Manager - Whereas international account reps focus on customer relationships, product managers concentrate more on the product and product development. They take ownership of a specific product or product line and typically help to design, enhance, market, sell, and get customer feedback about the product.
- Import/Export Agent - Also referred to as Brokers, this career bridges the gap between the producer and retailer(s) of that product. Import/export agents work with a manufacturer from one country to buy a product at wholesale, often receiving a volume discount for buying a large quantity. They then resell it to companies in another country. This arrangement can be very beneficial to both the manufacturer and the retailer because:
- The manufacturer can produce their product faster if they are filling one large order rather than many small ones
- The manufacturer has less overhead by managing one giant account rather than a large number of smaller ones
- The retailer also has less overhead if they buy a number of different products from one import/export agent, rather than having accounts with many manufacturers
- The retailer would pay a much higher price if they bought from the manufacturer on their own because they only need a small amount of the product and therefore would not qualify for the volume discount
- Neither company has to worry about the obstacles and challenges of doing business with a different country or culture
Whichever country, culture, or area of business is most interesting to you, there’s a career for you in International Business.