Just like any other concentration, like an MBA in accounting or marketing, it is possible to focus your MBA in international business. You are still learning about the same facets of business administration, but obviously with a global perspective on your courses. As globalization is increasingly important for most businesses, it makes sense for students to choose it as a focus. It will provide insight into business in the U.S., of course, but internationally as well, which gives students a wider scope of knowledge and opportunity.
MBA Programs with a Focus on International Business
All prospective MBA students are, hopefully, doing their due diligence in researching MBA programs. Most likely that is why you are here. A school might have a great overall MBA rating, but what about their specializations? Do they offer a concentration like international business and have the resources and classes to back that up? A school might offer a number of specializations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean each specialization is equally strong. So, just as you do research into each school take the time to dig further into the specialization you want. It might be a great school, but will it best suit what you are going for?
Talk to anyone you can: alumni, recruiters, school staff, current students, etc. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it to fully vet a program rather than enrolling and later discovering the school isn’t the best fit for your specialization.
International Business Internships
Some schools offer a dual program where you earn your MBA and a master’s degree in international studies. Others offer the typical courses like finance and accounting, but with a specific international focus. It is also worth looking at what type of study abroad or global seminars are offered. These opportunities provide a meaningful chance to put your studies into practice as well as building a global network.
Paid internships are certainly ideal and likely expected at the MBA level. They are significantly more helpful than unpaid internships. In fact, 63% of college graduates who have completed a paid internship received a job offer vs 35% for those who never interned.
While it might feel daunting to receive an international internship and one that is paid, it is something that is worth giving effort. While researching a school and the specializations, look at what resources they offer for internships. Is there a significant global network of alumni that is able to help? It is also key to start the internship search early. Many companies begin the process far in advance of the start date, sometimes 6-8 months or potentially more. In particular, most international work-study programs will require some type of visa.
There are also likely plenty of U.S. based internships with companies that have a global presence. Even after you get into a program and even if you are already working, stay on top of practicing interview prep to make sure you are as prepared as possible. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice the better prepared you will be, and it will show.
International Business Jobs
The availability of jobs available for MBA students with an international focus are vast. Thanks to an increasingly globalized world, they will continue to increase and thus so will the demand for qualified individuals.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in business and financial operations to grow by 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. They predict this number to increase to 591,800 jobs. Further, they cite globalization as one of the driving forces behind this. Management positions are also expected to grow at 7 percent during this period, resulting in approximately 706,900 jobs. They cite some of the reasons behind this as the creation of new organizations and growth of existing ones. Naturally, there is a need for skilled employees to handle these changes.
Another sector the BLS expects to see significant growth in is the Computer and Technology Occupations. They predict growth during 2018 to 2028 to be at 12 percent, adding about 546,200 jobs. There is a lot of need for analysts, administrators, and other positions that an MBA focused in a subject like information systems management can provide.
While the occupation groups listed above are some of the faster growing sectors, they are not the only ones. As you research programs, check out the BLS and other sites that provide this data to remain well-informed.
How to Choose
The best way to ensure you make the right choice is to do research. Our world is increasingly globalized and more schools are adapting to this. Still, not all programs will provide the same resources or have the same level of expertise. Don’t hesitate to utilize whatever resources they make available before you make your choice and be sure to reach out to alumni or current students if possible.
Check out our guides for more information!