Some policymakers, economists and investors fear that globalization’s 30-year run may have finally peaked and could even suffer a sharp reversal after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, many companies still operate on a global level, and recent geopolitical tensions have only underscored the need for aspiring managers to understand the international context in which businesses operate.
A master in international business provides students with the latest thinking and techniques that are strongly required for a career in international business.
“Today’s increasingly global business landscape requires leaders in every sector to understand the nuances of international business and its intersection with public policy in order to transform organizations and better serve society,” says J Bradford Jensen, co-academic director of the MA in International Business and Policy at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
The Georgetown MA-IBP program sits at the intersection of policy, international affairs and business, combining the Walsh School of Foreign Service and the McDonough School of Business to provide students with an understanding of business and policy principles.
“With this foundation, professionals can use their degree to build skills in negotiations, leadership, cross-cultural communications, coalition building and influence, global research strategies and more,” adds Raj M Desai, co-academic director of MA-IBP program.
It is one of many business schools offering a global perspective through a master in international business, which differs in huge ways from traditional business masters degree programs.
“Our program meets the needs of careers in many different global settings, be they multinational companies, global new ventures, global finance sectors or the public sector. In other words, we get our students job ready and also prepare them to be job creators as globally focused entrepreneurs,” says Sam Kamuriwo, course director of the MSc International Business at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) in London.
The program provides a broad understanding of international business and management challenges and develops core skills required to assess and handle international business information. Students can apply their knowledge through a global project and come away with “an advanced appreciation of the role and impact of global business on society as well as the role of government and global institutions on business and society” says Kamuriwo.
“Understanding of key global trends and how firms and executives can navigate through them is of vital importance. We deliver up to date content that is relevant to current and future international businesses,” he adds.
Career destinations for graduates of the Bayes program are a mixture of companies in financial services, consulting, IT, automotive, consumer goods, media and other industries. These employers include EY, Cognizant, Sky, Dyson, FactSet, Bloomberg and Tesla.
“It’s clearer today than ever before that having a broader picture of the worldwide economy and an understanding of globalization is essential for growth, success, and one’s own professional development,” says Julia Teuber, associate director of admission for MSc Programs at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
The German business school last year launched its Master in International Business with the first crop of graduates earning their degrees in the fall of 2023. “If the choices that our students have made when looking for internships are any indication, we know they have an interest and a high rate of placement success in the fields of consulting, consumer goods, banking, entrepreneurship, and many other industries. We expect they will look for job opportunities in Germany that have an inter-European focus,” adds Teuber.
Success in the global corporate world is highly contingent on several factors, she stresses. “These include a broad understanding of all key areas of business administration (accounting, marketing, data science) and a focused knowledge of topics specific to international business (international trade and investment, global strategy and supply chain management),” Teuber says.
But business theory itself is only one part of the recipe. “A successful business leader, especially one active across borders, also possesses strong intercultural communication skills and a keen understanding of the cultures in which they come into contact.”
Ultimately, international business is about understanding how and why firms do cross-border business and how those activities are properly managed. “And hence we pride ourselves in providing those skills that help global firms to respond to exogenous shocks but also as agents of change that can help shape the future business environment,” says Kamuriwo at Bayes.
“In a multistakeholder world, the competing interests that business have to consider and reconcile are many and varied and will require a deftness that only well-informed and trained international business executives can provide.”