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What to expect in international business

International Business courses in an MBA are filled with cultural nuance

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an academic foundation shared by many professionals who are engaged in or lead a global enterprise. According to Harvard Business Review, running a global enterprise, whether for-profit or a non-governmental organization (NGO) requires emotional intelligence about cultural differences as well as industry knowledge and technical expertise.

There is a broad spectrum of careers for which international business MBA classes can prepare you. In addition to working within global companies that compete in international markets, such as airlines and chain restaurants, graduates of international business MBA programs often find careers within government agencies, import/export, nonprofit organizations and banking. Graduates may also seek to work within international corporations in the travel and hospitality industry, which are continually dealing with both businesses and consumers from around the world.

We operate in a global economy but the regional differences are important and relevant

International business graduates learn how to do business and achieve results by learning how to understand, appreciate and employ strategies that may fall outside their comfort zone. A survey of 1,500 global business executives reveals what tactics work best, where. For example, the direct, action orientation that is part of doing business in the U.S. requires leaders working in the Middle East to display comfort with ambiguity and be low key in response to feedback, while respecting the inevitable tension between modernity and tradition. In India, international MBA graduates learn to think "team first," encourage inquisitiveness and give feedback sensitively.

An online international business MBA program can show graduates the importance of building warm relationships in Latin America while ensuring that structures and processes are tight.  Graduates who elect to work with European-based executives after graduation will have learned to appreciate that their counterparts are flexible with ambiguity and change, but put a priority on people's desire for inclusion and the importance of alignment and buy in. They understand firsthand that humor works well in Sub-Saharan Africa, but you'd be better off playing to a Chinese person's continual drive to improve and succeed.

Curriculum for an online MBA program in international business

You can expect that your online international MBA curriculum will include academic and real-world knowledge of business, finance, economic and cultural issues that are necessary to contribute meaningfully to a business operating regionally or globally. Some of the specifics may include courses in international management, accounting, human resources/organizational behavior, corporate finance and marketing management. It is very important that international business MBA graduates are fluent in these key business disciplines, know how they interrelate in a global context and understand how the stark (and muted) differences between countries and regions impact a business's day-to-day operations.

Finally, your online MBA degree program is likely to include the opportunity for professional development including in-market practicum(s) which will help you flesh out your understanding, appreciation and effectiveness in a global business world.

You do not need to have an undergraduate degree in business to pursue an international business MBA, but it will be important that you have taken and succeeded at basic business classes including accounting, economics and finance.

If you've always been drawn to the global arena, have enjoyed the business fundamentals of your undergraduate degree program, and are fascinated by what makes the global business environment so robust and challenging; If you have an appreciation for cultural differences and can envision how to make a difference in your world by leaving your comfort zone(s), then the opportunity to gain an online MBA that includes classes in international business might just be for you.


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