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The global economy continues to expand, and there are no signs that it will slow down. As a result, there is greater demand for international business education, because it is the surest way to grow a specialist, who understands the diversity of international business. Multinational companies are looking for the professionals in this field, who are armed with a strong business school background, and they will develop that person into a valuable partner in their global business ventures.
The need for international business graduates is more acute in the United States than in Europe. Students in Europe are more aware of the impact of the global economy because of the European Union. But the same cannot be said of the people living in the United States, who had grown accustomed to the insular type of business environment that exists within the country. As a result, students are not knowledgeable about the global trade regulations and the need to deal with different governing bodies.
A formal and accredited international business degree prepares students to learn the intricacies of the global economy. Students majoring in this particular field would be made aware of the need for American companies to expand into the new markets. Graduates would be trained on the ways of the effective change, especially when it comes to learning the needs and wants of international customers.
The Demand for Graduates Majoring in International Business
The importance of international business students is based on the realization that there is an increasing level of interconnectedness between the different groups of people all over the world. These interconnections have produced networks of businessmen and organizations all over the planet. These people and these firms were brought together by the power of technology, and these are technologies related to telecommunications and transportation. Manuel Castells created a framework to understand the integration of economy, society, and computers; he said that based on the study of history there was a trend that suggested the establishment of networks (Barney, 2004). He added that important components of the society were organized around networks, but there were many businessmen, who were not even aware of the impact of technology and the ever increasing interconnections within the context of the global economy.
Those, who will pursue this course, will also encounter Thomas Friedman, who said that there was a new phenomenon that existed in the world. He said that there was an increased intensity, when it came to linkages experienced by people all over the planet (Dicken, 2004). Friedman added that the consequence of those activities was the creation of a single globalized marketplace (Dicken, 2004). Friedman also made the comment that there were those, who would profit, and those, who would be negatively affected by it.
Students of International Business studies would have a better appreciation of globalization. They will know how to benefit from the interconnection of people, business processes applications, projects, and personal activities (Hassan, 2008). These students will not be overwhelmed by the fact that there is a ‘one-world’ context and the activities on one side of the globe can affect those at the other (Hassan, 2008).
These students will learn that the global economy is not a product of a quick process, but the amalgamation of the different events in the past. The development can be traced back to the time when European superpowers, like the British Empire, sent their armies to conquer and to build colonies in the continents of Asia, Africa, and America (Lofdah, 2002). They will come to understand that the global economy has always been producing the aggregate effect on the interaction between the East and West.
What new developments or trends are there in your field of study?
One of the major developments in the recent years is the realization that there are different factors that can affect the plan to expand into the new territories. Students of International Business studies will learn that business leaders must be prepared to change the way they do business in order to adapt to the challenges of a new market: “In emerging markets the nature of society, business, exchange, legal systems, consumer demand and public policy are allvery different from those in mature systems. They present a challenge for governance of them and enterprise within them” (Choi, Hilton, & Millar, 2004, p.5). They will also learn the importance of making an investment in the research and market study before they initiate any attempt to expand internationally.
Students in this field are taught that although there are many hurdles up ahead, one thing is clear: “Emerging markets are a key focus of interest for investors and existing international enterprises because they promise opportunities for phenomenal growth” (Choi, Hilton, & Millar, 2004, p.5). At school they will learn to focus on the fundamentals of doing business on a global scale. Some of them are listed as follows: 1) Leadership; 2) Team building; 3) Building Relationships; and 4) Fiduciary responsibilities.
The importance of leadership is one of their main lessons. They will be acquainted with the fact that an army of wolves is no match for a small band of weak warriors that are led by a lion. In other words, a great leader can turn things around and can persuade his team to accomplish the impossible, and they will be prepared to learn the ways to transform themselves into leaders. A well-equipped team is ineffective without a leader; they will also learn that a good leader provides direction and can easily deal with problems that can cripple an organization. They will also understand that a good leader can develop achievable goals that move the team to the right direction, while building confidence within the hearts and minds of the team members.
The second thing that they would learn is the emphasis given on the value of building relationships. It has to be made clear that a global company is not only focused on the creation of goods and services, but also on the needs of the various stakeholders of the company and the members of the community. They will also learn that a global company is built from the ground up through business relationships and through teamwork.
Another major trend in the study of International Business is the realization that a company is not just about the tangible results of a manufacturing process; it is also about people. One of the major strategies employed in the present time is for the parent company to send an advanced team that understands the value of fostering relationships with local officials and local workers.
The new trend focuses on the significance of an advanced team, members of which must learn to develop the two kinds of relationships. They need to develop the correct working relationship with the local employees. They also need to develop relationships with other stakeholders, such as customers, politicians, government agencies, and others, who can hinder or aid in the success of the venture. Students will learn that in case of establishing effective relationships with stakeholders, it is crucial that the advanced team must realize the value of understanding the culture.
Students will learn that an ability to build bridges and build relationships with stakeholders must be accomplished using a strategy that the company has found to be effective in not only creating significant connections with other people, but also in its ability to collate information through these interactions. Students are taught that it is imperative that this strategy includes an ability to build relationships with influential people in the community. They will learn that influential people in the emerging markets can help the company to deal with problems that cannot be solved using conventional methods. They will be taught that influential people can help the team to get connected with individuals that know how to deal with a specific problem. Students will come to know that if there is a problem with business permits, the team will know how to deal with it in the most efficient manner.
Students in International Business will encounter relevant case studies. For example, they will learn that the Motorola Company understands the importance of building relationships. It is a part of its overall strategy, and its corporate leaders believe that it is the cornerstone for the rapid growth in emerging markets (Schoenbom, 2006). The Motorola Company does not only promote the effectiveness of building relationships with influential members of the community; this firm even created, what they call as the Country Relations Network (Schoenbom, 2006, p.66). According to the employees of Motorola, “Some of the best resources are contacts gained in the exxploration phase and during the office grand opening. Also, membership in associations is inexpensive and highly effective. Students will realize that a dinner with a fellow member may open the door to new opportunities” (Schoenbom, 2006, p.66). The following are some of the important contacts that the students will learn to develop business relationships with: 1) Ministry of Commerce or its equivalent; 2) Ministry of Interior or its equivalent; 3) Chamber of Commerce; 4) Business Associations; 5) Western Embassies; 6) Trade Associations; 7) Employer's Associations; 8) Universities, Deans Offices and relevant faculties; 9) Local Colleges; 10) Local law firms; 11) Public Accountants; 12) Company Distributors; and 13) Multinational Companies (Schoenbom, 2006, p.66).
There is no need to elaborate the fact that it is advantageous to develop contacts with high-ranking officials of the government and other influential members of the society. The advanced team must come to realize that most of the time their skills can be negated by their inability to navigate the complicated bureaucracies usually present in the emerging markets. Students are taught that this type of business relationships can open doors for the company and can help the advanced team to prepare the way for the establishment of a foothold in the said market.
What should you know about the industry prior to applying for a job in it?
Students will have to realize the importance of culture. They need to know that there are many different people and different groups with their own unique identity and culture. They have to realize that culture is both invisible and visible. They need to know that the visible part is the expression of culture, which can include the way people prepare and consume food, and the ways they build societies. For instance, it is the way they celebrate weddings, as well as other rituals in life, such as child dedication, infant baptism, and even burials. However, they also need to know that culture is seen in the way they conduct business. It is, therefore, important to remember the principle embedded in a statement made by a business guru who said that, “The business of international business is culture” (Hofstede, 1994, p.1).
Students will have to realize the importance of having an awareness of cultural diversity in the 21st century. They need to appreciate the fact that the world is getting smaller, and that more and more people are interacting through the use of technology, such as the Internet (Steger, 2009, p.1). They also need to be aware of the regions that are in conflict. Students must be prepared to deal with issues and learning outcomes that would help them to manage people of different cultures.
Students must not ignore culture in favor of tried and tested methods perfected in the West, because problems will crop up, and worst of all, the leaders will be unable to prescribe an effective solution. The students, who are well-aware of the cultural differences, can overcome challenges better than those, who are ignorant about these things.
The global recession of the recent years has affected students of International Business. There are many companies, who had abandoned their plan to invest on improving the ability of their organizations to deal with the emerging markets. There is, therefore, lower demand for the graduates of International Business. Nevertheless, the demand may become less, but the need for the real experts in this field will never disappear.
With regards to the income that can be expected for the graduates of International Business courses, there is no definite answer. The higher the educational attainment and the level of experience are, the higher the corresponding income level of the person will be. Those, who have the MBA, and those, who augmented their degree with law or accounting, can definitely expect greater pay, as compared to those, with only an undergraduate degree.
The starting median salary for an International Business major is $42,000. The graduate can apply for the entry-level jobs in banks, manufacturing firms, airlines, retail chains, accounting, and law firms. They can work in the US based companies, and multinational companies based in the U.S. or abroad. Those, who are interested, can take up International Business Bachelors Degree or International Business Master’s Degree. There are no scandals associated with this field of study.
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