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International Business Concentration – Explained

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "International Business Concentration – Explained," in The Business Professor, updated December 7, 2019, last accessed April 8, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/knowledge-base/international-business-concentration/.

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The international business major or concentration is generally an interdisciplinary degree that combines courses in business, culture, and foreign language and other areas to assure students adequate preparation for positions with global companies, governments, and other international organizations.

Common Courses

  • International Business Environment – This course explores the international business environment in which organizations function. You’ll learn about core analysis methods, including PESTLE, SWOT, and Boston Box Matrices, as well as the applications of Porter’s Five Forces. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in discussion forums and access case studies, as well as testing your understanding in quizzes.
  • International Business Strategy – This course analyses how multinational enterprises (MNEs) develop and leverage their capabilities and competencies to create competitive advantages in international markets. A key purpose of this course is to understand how managers design and implement international business strategies. The motivations for international expansion are examined with a particular emphasis on the need to understand the unique characteristics of emerging and transition economies. A range of internationalization theories and frameworks are used to analyze strategy formulation; the foreign direct investment decisions; location choice; forms of international involvement and modes of market entry; and the ‘liability of foreignness’. Topics include assessing firm capabilities, institutional differences, industry attractiveness; and international competitive dynamics.
  • International Financial Management – Students will learn the nature and purposes of financial management in the international context. They will gain skills in international investment and financing techniques and in exchange risk management, including accounting and taxation aspects. They will learn, through hands-on case studies and simulations, how to judge the riskiness of a currency from a firm’s perspective, and how to measure and manage the company’s exposure to exchange rate and international interest rate risks. They will discover how companies use banks, markets such as the Eurobond and currency option markets, and techniques such as currency swaps and hybrid bond structures. In the end, the goal is to apply state-of-the-art techniques to the international firm’s investment, financing and risk management decisions.
  • International Marketing – This course brings together two key subjects, International Marketing and Cross Industry Innovation. It will provide the basic foundations of international marketing and then explain how companies can grow by going abroad or sourcing ideas/expanding into other countries or industries. This is summarized as CCCI: Cross-Country and Cross-Industry Innovation, a term and analytical platform used throughout not only this course but others in the specialization. As an introductory course, we keep the concepts short and simple in order to ease learners into the wonderful world of international marketing. More specific operational aspects such as managing the product, price, place and promotion as well as targeting and positioning will be provided in the second course of the specialization.
  • Cross Cultural Management – explores different aspects of intercultural management, including teams, leadership, Human Resource Management, marketing and negotiations. When you complete this MOOC, you will have a richer understanding of the concept of culture, and how culture influences the way that individuals behave. You will also get a deeper knowledge about how culture shapes management practices in international organizations. We will introduce you to a number of experts in the field of intercultural management who will discuss the challenges and the benefits of dealing with employees on a global level.
  • International Monetary Economics – The course is concerned with the study of the main economic factors and mechanisms that explain the determination of external current accounts, real and nominal exchange rate changes and international capital movements. The main topics of the course are : the adjustment process of the external current account, the determination of nominal and real exchange rates in the short-run and in the long-run, central bank interventions in the foreign exchange market, the impact of the exchange rate regime on macroeconomic fluctuations, and the mechanics of financial crises.
  • International Trade and Finance – This course covers international finance and trade topics, such as: A payment, negotiation, acceptance, confirmation and deferred payment credit; The UCP-ICC 600 rules; International documentation; Standbys and international guarantees; Back to back, front to back and event-triggered finance; The mechanics of discounting, forfaiting and factoring; Pre-shipment and pre-export risk assessment; International contract financing; Marketing trade finance – internal and external
  • International Economics – This course covers, with a focus on both theory and empirics, advanced topics in international trade (as well as inter-regional trade and economic geography.) It includes the study of positive issues, such as: Why do countries trade? What goods do countries trade? What are the implications of openness for the location of production, industries, occupations, and innovative activity? And, what impedes trade and why do some countries deliberately erect policy impediments to trade? The course also concerns normative issues, such as: Is trade openness beneficial to a representative agent? And, are there winners and losers from trade and if so, can we identify them? Throughout, these issues are approached in neoclassical settings as well as those with market failures, at the industry-level as well as the firm-level, and in the presence of both mobile and immobile factors (e.g., FDI, offshoring of tasks, multinational firms and immigration).
  • International Work Experience – Many program require some form of international work experience (such as a foreign study or internship experience) to complete the international business concentration.
  • Language & Culture Requirements – Many programs require some level of language and culture instruction as part of the international business degree.

International Business Organizations

  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (formally Member Economies) that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) was started in 1955 by President Dwight Eisenhower. It exists to foster dialogue among world business and political leaders. The BCIU organizes trade mission tours for cross-fertilization of business opportunities both internationally and domestically-hosted, roundtables for senior executives and politicians, and private meetings for high level officials of influence.
  • Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) represents the needs for the service industries in the United States, industries such as banking, hospitality, logistics, telecommunications, and insurance. They also promote international policies that will benefit these industries seeking to develop business worldwide. Special working groups have developed around the themes of financial services, insurance, telecommunications, media, and information technology. In addition, groups focus on the emerging economies of China and India.
  • Consumers International (CI) is the world federation of consumer groups that, working together with its members, serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers.With over 220 member organizations in 115 countries, CI is building a powerful international movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.
  • Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental organization involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations, part of the South-central Asian Union. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade, and investment opportunities.
  • Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on 29 March 1996.
  • Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) is a regional organization set up by the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC). Its task is to grant Eurasian patents.
  • European Atomic Energy Community (EU EURATOM) is an international organization which is legally distinct from the European Union (EU), but has the same membership, and is governed by the EU’s institutions. The purposes of Euratom are to create a specialist market for nuclear power and distribute it through the Community and to develop nuclear energy and sell surplus to non-Community States.
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their private sectors.
  • European Free Trade Association (EU EFTA) is a free trade organization between four European countries that operates parallel to, and is linked to, the European Union (EU). Today’s EFTA members are Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland—the latter two being founding members.
  • EUROSTAT (EU) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide statistical information to the institutions of the European Union (EU) and to promote the harmonization of statistical methods across its member states and candidates for accession as well as EFTA countries.
  • Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) is an online clearinghouse of 8,000 international trade Web sites. FITA is comprised of 450 association members and 450,000 linked company members. FITA brings together trade agents, distributors, and service providers that contribute toward import and export activities. Their market research tools and leads increase the capacity of members to conduct international trade ethically and legally.
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international trade body, created over 60 years ago by a group of airlines. Today, IATA represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of total air traffic. The organization also represents, leads and serves the airline industry in general.
  • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) is a professional accrediting organization related to business education. They promote business educational standards and opportunities for students and the professional educational community. Members include colleges and universities who are committed to strengthening business educational capacities worldwide.
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a networking association for communication professionals. The IABC promotes professional development and communication standards worldwide. They tout a membership of 15,000 professionals in over 80 countries.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)World Bank Group aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees, risk management products, and analytical and advisory services. Established in 1944 as the original institution of the World Bank Group, IBRD is structured like a cooperative that is owned and operated for the benefit of its 188 member countries.
  • International Business Organization (IBO) is a group that serves the international community who wants to do business in or immigrate to the United States of America with a special purview related to the state of Florida. The IBO can assist with real estate information, immigration services, health insurance, and unique networking contacts.
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) provides a forum for businesses and other organizations to examine and better comprehend the nature and significance of the major shifts taking place in the world economy. It also offers an influential and respected channel for supplying business leadership to help governments manage those shifts in a collaborative manner for the benefit of the world economy as a whole.
  • International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organization which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. The IEA’s four main areas of focus are: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness, and engagement worldwide.
  • International Executives Association is an elite type networking group for companies and their respective top level employees. Their focus on inspiration and camaraderie refreshes business executives enabling them to prosper as they share business leads and referrals with one another. Most local chapters are located in Canada and the United States.
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC) – World Bank Group, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. Established in 1956, IFC is owned by 184 member countries, a group that collectively determines our policies. Our work in more than 100 developing countries allows companies and financial institutions in emerging markets to create jobs, generate tax revenues, improve corporate governance and environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities.
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • International Trade Centre (ITC) has a mission to enable small business export success in developing and transition-economy countries, by providing, with partners, sustainable and inclusive development solutions to the private sector, trade support institutions and policymakers.
  • Interstate Council for Standardization, Metrology and Certification (EASC) is the CIS Intergovernmental body for formulation and carrying out of coordinated policy in the field of standardization, metrology and certification. The Interstate Council for Standardization, Metrology and Certification of the Commonwealth of Independence States (CIS) is the CIS Intergovernmental body for formulation and carrying out of coordinated policy in the field of standardization, metrology and certification.
  • Interstate Statistical Committee of Independent States (ISCIS) is the interstate body acting in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States for the purpose of coordinating the activities of national statistical services, promoting the organization of information exchange, analysis of socio-economic development of the states and elaborating common recommendations in the field of statistics.
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – World Bank Group is a member of the World Bank Group. Its mission is to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing countries to help support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives.
  • Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)OECD is a specialized agency within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries based in Paris, France. The NEA mission is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. To provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD policy analyses in areas such as energy and sustainable development.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyze and compare data to predict future trends. We set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals.
  • Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is an international financial institution that was formed 24 January 1997. Supports economic development and regional cooperation by providing trade and project financing, guarantees, and equity for development projects supporting both public and private enterprises in its member countries. Objectives of the bank include promoting regional trade links, cross country projects, foreign direct investment, supporting activities that contribute to sustainable development, with an emphasis on the generation of employment in the member countries, ensuring that each operation is economically and financially sound and contributes to the development of a market orientation.
  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent intergovernmental organization of 12 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its Member Countries.
  • Research fund for Coal and Steel (EU RFCS) supports research projects in coal and steel sectors. These projects cover: production processes; application, utilization and conversion of resources; safety at work; environmental protection and reducing CO2 emissions from coal use and steel production.
  • UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. A legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. UNCITRAL’s business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business.
  • UN Conference On Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.
  • UN Economic and Social Commission for  Western Asia (UN ESCWA) was established on 9 August 1973 pursuant to the Economic and Social Council’s resolution 1818 (LV). The purpose of setting up the Commission was to raise the level of economic activity in member countries and strengthen cooperation among them. It was also intended to meet the need of the countries in Western Asia for the services of a regional economic commission to promote the development efforts in the region.
  • UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region. Made up of 62 member States, with a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east, and from the Russian Federation in the north to New Zealand in the south. Established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, ESCAP works to overcome some of the region’s greatest challenges by providing results-oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States in the following areas: Macroeconomic Policy and Development, Trade and Investment, Transport, Social Development, Environment and Sustainable Development, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction, Statistics, Sub-regional activities for development.
  • UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states (the nations of the African continent)[2] following a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly.
  • UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. To do so, it brings together 56 countries located in the European Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America. All these countries dialogue and cooperate under the aegis of UNECE on economic and sectoral issues.
  • UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) was established in 1948 (then as the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, or UNECLA) to encourage economic cooperation among its member states. In 1984, a resolution was passed to include the countries of the Caribbean in the name. It is one of five regional commissions under the administrative direction of United Nations headquarters. The ECLAC has 44 member States and eight non-independent territories in the Caribbean, and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As well as countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, it includes Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and South Korea.
  • UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
  • UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its mandate is to promote and accelerate sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition, and work towards improving living conditions in the world’s poorest countries by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise.
  • UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.
  • UN International Labour Organization (UN ILO) is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only ‘tripartite’ United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programs promoting Decent Work for all. This unique arrangement gives the ILO an edge in incorporating ‘real world’ knowledge about employment and work.
  • UN World Food Programme (UN WFP) is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Food aid is one of the many instruments that can help to promote food security, which is defined as access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
  • UN World Intellectual Property Organization (UN WIPO) is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, designs, etc.) as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity.
  • UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries. Its five agencies are: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank’s (the IBRD and IDA’s) activities are focused on developing countries, in fields such as human development (e.g. education, health), agriculture and rural development (e.g. irrigation, rural services), environmental protection (e.g. pollution reduction, establishing and enforcing regulations), infrastructure (e.g. roads, urban regeneration, electricity), and governance (e.g. anti-corruption, legal institutions development). The IBRD and IDA provide loans at preferential rates to member countries, as well as grants to the poorest countries.
  • World Customs Organization (WCO) is the only intergovernmental organization exclusively focused on Customs matters. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is now recognized as the voice of the global Customs community. It is particularly noted for its work in areas covering the development of global standards, the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures, trade supply chain security, the facilitation of international trade, the enhancement of Customs enforcement and compliance activities, anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives, public-private partnerships, integrity promotion, and sustainable global Customs capacity building programs. The WCO also maintains the international Harmonized System goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the WTO Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
  • World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
  • World Technology Network (WTN) brings innovative individuals together from the science and technology communities to share ideas, discover synergies, and create momentum within the realm of emerging technologies. The community includes financiers, marketers, writers, entrepreneurs, government officials, and policy analysts – people who are bent on creating dynamic systems to enhance world productivity and efficiencies.
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

International Business Certifications

There are numerous international organizations that offer certifications in an individual’s particular area of focus. Some examples include:

Common Careers

  • Global Business Administrator
  • International Business Analyst
  • International Business Development Director
  • International Business Operations Associate
  • Global Account Manager
  • International Manager, Marketing and Communications
  • International Sales Director
  • Trade Compliance Analyst
  • Global Product Manager
  • Import/Export Specialist
  • International Logistics Coordinator
  • Analyst – International Benefits
  • International Claims Manager
  • Foreign Affairs Specialist

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