The International Business Career Landscape

The International Business Career Landscape

We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world’s people share the benefits of globalization.” – Kofi Annan

As international markets evolve, businesses are taking advantage of the changing environment to carve their own niche. International business allows companies to offset negative growth in one market by operating successfully in another. Introducing unique products in new territories not only increases sales, but also establishes global presence. As per a survey by the United States Small Business Administration, about 96% of the world’s consumers reside outside America. So, U.S. companies that delve into international business are positioned to enjoy increased profit potential from a larger customer base. For example, although The Netherland’s transportation infrastructure initially attracted Nike to set up an office in Hilversum, it ultimately served as a trigger for the company to refuel its global investment to gain access to millions of non-U.S. consumers. Today, the company has its centralised base in Hilversum for operations in Europe, Middle East & Africa. In fact, the 2016 International Business Indicator released by Wells Fargo stated that 87% of U.S. companies agree that international expansion is required for long-term growth, since taking advantage of global opportunities hedges the risk of decline in domestic markets.

Key International Business Career Opportunities

In Management

Stronger corporate profitability has increased global aggregate private investment. Therefore, with increasing international competition, firms require consulting services for optimising resource management. In fact, the global management consulting industry has seen a growth of 3.4% with revenue reaching $634bn in 2019. A Management Analyst or Management Consultant role is of special interest to an international business career aspirant. Such roles require information-gathering and market research to solve the problem of scant local resources in order to complete a project of international scale and develop a strategy to combat the problem. Therefore, analytical and problem-solving skills are essential here. These professionals often specialize in areas of inventory management or consolidation of organizational structures across offices to eliminate redundancies. A bachelor’s degree in management is a prerequisite for this role. Colleges like Columbia Business School and Chicago Booth offer formal courses on management consulting.
Other roles applicable to an international business career aspirant include Business Development Manager and Product Manager. International business development managers play a key role in garnering new customers and maintaining customer relationships across countries by developing strategies specific to the diverse markets. They review international prospects of a business and evaluate market trends to support product development. A thorough knowledge on international business laws and regulations is crucial in order to make decisions for tapping into new markets. Employers prefer a master’s degree for this role. However, if you have not done your master’s, obtaining a certified business manager credential from Association of Professionals in Business Management, will add equivalent value to your resume.

In Marketing

When a business decides to go global, the role of a Market Research Analyst is vital. This role comprises studying international market conditions, therefore, developing methodologies to conduct global market research, constitutes an important aspect of this job. Such professionals are skilled at market research, statistics, and communications. Market research analysts provide competitive intelligence and market analysis of prevailing trends, including the socio-economic, educational and professional profile of the target consumers. This enables them to segment the global market to guide new product development efforts. Therefore strong analytical skills are beneficial.

With increasing number of companies building and maintaining a customer base abroad, the demand for international sales representatives is high. As an International Sales Representative, you will be involved in advertising, public relations, distribution etc., which entail creating awareness about your brand across borders, hence excellent communication and interpersonal skills are crucial. Your focus will lie on seeking new foreign customers and conducting negotiations to secure maximum contracts. For a lucrative marketing career, given the international scenario, you may consider catering to emerging markets that are expected to reach $6 trillion in consumer packaged goods sales by 2020. Note that employment growth for sales representatives is projected to be stronger at independent sales agencies, as companies often outsource their sales activities to minimise costs and maximise revenue.

If you’re trying to land a marketing job in international business, familiarity with international cultures and fluency in foreign languages will project you as a valuable candidate. These skills facilitate communication with people from diverse cultures as well as an understanding of international consumer behavior. For instance, while expanding to Amsterdam, Netflix opened 400 customer service jobs offering multilingual support to customers across 11 European countries, developing a business climate for rapid expansion in the European market.

In Finance

As investing as an activity becomes more international, organizations seek professionals who are well informed about global currencies, worldwide stock exchanges and are competent at international finance trade and operations. The world of corporate and international finance comprises roles such as Corporate Investment Banker, Financial Analyst and Auditor. With rising global investments, companies seek corporate investment bankers who provide advice on deal structures for mergers and acquisitions and other international corporate actions, as well as guidance on raising money from the debt and equity market. Studying demographic and economic shifts across nations to identify new markets is essential in this field. For example, Japan’s growing aging population and declining birth rates have pushed its largest companies to expand into faster-growing regions for global mergers and acquisitions. The total global M&A activity was valued at $2.1 trillion in the first half of 2018. If you wish to be a part of it, you should be equipped with an intellect for analytics, mathematics, accounting and economics. Many investment banks have global offices and offer opportunities to work overseas. For example, you can work at some of the top international investment firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. You can also attend programs organised by such companies that offer suggestions on opportunities based on individual interests and skills.

Apart from this, one can also work as a Financial Analyst, whose responsibility is to examine global financial data to forecast future performance and devise an overall corporate financial plan which complies with international financial regulations and laws. Employers recommend certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) obtained from the CFA Institute, which improve the chances for advancement.

In Trade

You can also be directly involved in the exchange of goods and services between countries through roles like Export-Import Agent and International Trade and Customs Manager. An import or export agent is the intermediary during the exchange of products between both domestic and overseas companies. Delivering sales pitches and conducting market research form major chunk of such roles. So, being a proactive communicator across both local and international markets will present you as a valuable asset. It is essential that you maintain updated information on products, markets and companies, in order to understand global economic trends and recognize international trade opportunities. On the other hand, the job of an International Trade and Customs Manager primarily encompasses global logistics and customs compliance. They also communicate with customs brokers, freight forwarders, government agencies and port authorities on a daily basis to ensure efficient coordination of imports and exports. In order to work as an International Trade and Customs Manager, you need to have a master’s degree in concentrations such as trade management or supply chain management. Institutes like Ohio State University and the University of Maryland offer programs on International Trade and supply chain management.

In Foreign Affairs

For those who wish to be involved in international business, awareness on foreign policy, international trade agreements, and global institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) is important to assess how each impacts international business strategy. Therefore, job prospects for Foreign Policy Analysts are high. These professionals perform research and offer advice on various international issues, such as trade, human rights, global food supply, energy and environment. They may be Political Scientists, Lawyers or Economists and can render their services to government as well as private institutions. It is important that they have knowledge of the history, culture and political system and current events of countries in which they operate. Critical thinking and written communication skills can prove handy here especially while formulating and presenting policy recommendations.

Leverage opportunities like career treks and internship programs to develop a better understanding of the respective job environment and to network with professionals. Typical employers in international business include banks, import/export corporations, multinational manufacturers, consulting firms and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The average starting salary for an International Business graduate is $42,238 with a mid-career salary of $79,191.

While compiling your resume, remember to include any international experience that can elevate your candidacy, like an internship at a foreign company, dealing with international clients etc. Mentioning language skills will definitely add an edge to your profile. Obtain customised guidance on exhibiting your functional and soft skills to strengthen the impact of your resume, job search and interview on the SMART VMock Platform.

So, International business can enhance a company’s image, as global operations build brand recognition. If you aim to improve business performance, global market inclusion will catalyse the process. As stated by the USForex head of North America, Karin Visnick, “Going global is no longer an option for successful small-and medium-sized businesses, it’s a strategic imperative.”

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