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Best Colleges with International Business Degrees in the U.S. 2017

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We live in an increasingly global world, where being an expert in one geographic area only is no longer enough. If you’re looking to kick start a career in business, the best thing you can do is expand your focus to include an international perspective. Not only will this make you more competitive to employers, but in this day and age an understanding of the expanding global market is generally required in any career path. Sound like something you might be interested in? Here is everything you need to know about getting a degree in international business.

The Best International Business Colleges of 2019

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is an international business degree?

The short answer is that it is basically a standard business degree magnified to a global scale. What makes it different from —and arguably, more advantageous than— a general business degree is that it helps you develop a detailed understanding of the different economic, political, and management systems that act as the foundation of all international business activities in the United States and abroad. In other words, if you’re thinking of working for a company that functions on a global level or think you might want to work in business abroad, an international business degree is a must.

It also comes in handy if you’re not quite sure exactly what you want to do with your life yet, as an international business degree can be applied to a number of industries. According to the John Molson School of Business,

“International Business graduates are hired by multinational corporations, businesses involved in foreign trade, government and public institutions, international relief and environmental organizations. This industry is highly impacted by the continued growth of globalization and graduates will find this evolving industry complex and at times volatile.”

Rank School Name Location Description
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California Marshall School of Business is basically a case study in how to best go about a well-rounded dedication to the arena of global studies. For starters, the importance placed on a global mindset at Marshall isn’t just an ideal they aim for; rather, it’s an intrinsic part of the school’s fabric. Over 70% of Marshall freshmen study abroad, and it was the first school to require international travel and study projects as a key part of every MBA degree. Even broadly as a school, USC has undergrads from more than 120 countries, and since we tend to learn from and be influenced by those around us, having an extremely diverse student body is an essential part of gaining a good understanding of international business.

Marshall offers international business at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. The undergraduate business program incorporates several non-classroom opportunities for international experience, such as its Learning About International Commerce initiative, an experiential learning opportunity that exposes students to non-U.S. business practices via a course and eight day trip abroad, or its Global Leadership Program, open by invitation to select first-year students. Living by an “all business is global” mantra, the business program includes a number of global commerce-related classes like International Business Law, Global Leadership Seminar, and International Trade & Commercial Policy. Looking to expand your global studies outside the U.S.? In partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Bocconi University in Italy, Marshall developed the World Bachelor in Business (WBB) program, the first of its kind that gives students the chance to study and earn degrees at all three universities over the course of four years.

The school’s full-time MBA core curriculum further places global education at the forefront, starting students off early in the spring with a course called The Global Context of Business. This three-module course molds students into global managers via travel abroad and granular study. Another unique part of USC’s MBA is the mandatory 10-day overseas experience known as PRIME International Experiential Learning where students are given a chance to flex the international business muscles they’ve gained in the classroom in the real world. Participants visit select companies and governmental institutions, and work in teams to complete projects using their global strategy and economics skills. There’s no better real-world prep than legitimate real-world experience, right?

2 New York University New York, NY

The NYU Stern School of Business consistently makes an appearance on every business school-related ranking, and there’s a reason why. Actually, there are multiple reasons why, starting with the fact that it’s one of the first higher education institutions to specialize in business management, and to create a strong research and teaching capability in the global business realm. If courses like Emerging Financial Markets, Operations in Panama, and International Social Impact Strategies sound like something you might want to learn more about (or need to learn more about), then Stern might be the place for you. It’s a decision that will pay off in the long run, too: employers of Stern grads range from Hulu to the United Nations to Credit Suisse. No matter your international business path, there’s something for you to learn at Stern. Start off by pursuing the undergraduate global business concentration, taken with a primary concentration to ensure you’re exposed to all facets of the business industry.

Stern’s International Business Exchange (IBEX) sends juniors or seniors to directly enroll in a top business school abroad, thereby developing the skills and sophistication to navigate foreign countries and prove to potential employers you have the chops to work on a truly global team. For a different kind of study abroad experience, look into the International Studies Program (ISP), part of the Edward & Nancy Barr Family International Studies Program. Selected students take a strategy-based course during the spring of their junior year that includes a weeklong trip to a foreign country to meet with high-ranking business executives based in that country. It’s a great networking opportunity that is one of the only of its kind.

3 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania is home to the famous Wharton School of Business (which we ranked as the #1 undergraduate business school), so it only follows that it has an excellent program for global commerce as well. The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business is a four-year interdisciplinary course of study that meshes business education, advanced language training, and a liberal arts education. The best part? When those four years are over, you’ll walk away with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the School of Arts and Sciences as well as a Bachelor of Science in economics from the Wharton School. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

This combination of a liberal arts curriculum with more rigorous, business-specific classes truly makes for a well-rounded educational experience that will give you a unique skillset and make you stand out to employers. Perhaps a by-product of a broader education, graduates pursue careers worldwide in multiple fields instead of being restricted to just a few commerce-related industries, ranging from finance to politics to law to medicine. Students gain that much-needed international exposure as a result of the required study abroad component which dictates that each student spend at least one semester studying at a university in a region where the language they are specializing in is spoken. Huntsman Summer Study Grants and Huntsman Program internships with foreign organizations and firms further give students the chance to make the most of a global education. There is currently a grand total of 183 Huntsman students across all four classes, and the intimate program size ensures you get one-on-one attention from professors and fellow students alike to foster a successful learning environment.

4 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC

Maybe it’s in the name, but the other USC (University of South Carolina) has an equally impressive and all-inclusive approach to international business. The international business faculty, rated #1 in research productivity by the Journal of International Business Studies, helps its students excel in all areas of the field through a comprehensive curriculum of functional, regional, and thematic global business courses. The B.S. in Business Administration in International Business must be taken in combination with a second business major, offering you the perfect opportunity to build on your business prowess even more. There are five business tracks available, each focusing on a different geographic region: the Chinese track, the Middle East and North Africa track, the European track, the South American track, and the Eurasian track.

The Darla Moore School of Business houses the Sonoco International Business Department, which has not only been ranked the #1 Undergrad International Business Degree by U.S. News & World Report for the last 17 consecutive years, but also ranked as a top three graduate school for international MBA programs for 26 consecutive years. With max enrollment set at 160, it’s extremely selective, but once in students reap the many rewards of an extensive international business education. Moore gives its students the chance to participate in cohort programs, where students divide their time between the Moore School and one of several partner universities. Students follow strict foreign language requirements and spend at least one semester abroad, and this mandatory exposure early on to different cultures is what sets USC’s Moore graduates apart in the job market. If, once enrolled, you don’t want to leave —we don’t blame you!— you can pursue one of the many graduate degrees offered, such as an International Master of Business Administration, a Master of International Business, or a Dual Degree in International Business and Law.

5 George Washington University Washington, DC

Located in the heart of Washington D.C. undoubtedly has a few perks, from having access to some incredible internships to being able to observe national and international businesspeople and politicians at close proximity. But location isn’t the only thing George Washington University has going for it in the international business department; experiential learning (aka hands-on experience) is the name of the game at GW. The Consulting Abroad Program, part of the Global MBA curriculum, sees all first-year students participating in one of several Consulting Abroad Projects (CAPs). Designed to equip students with the necessary skills needed in leading consulting projects, the three-course sequence gives all Global MBA students experience working on a faculty-led, team-based consultancy in a foreign country by the end of their first year of study. GW also hosts the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which provides extensive resources for international business research. In addition to CIBER, there are 12 different research centers available for students’ use, from the European Union Research Center to the Institute for Corporate Responsibility.

In addition to the Global MBA program, George Washington has a BBA with a concentration in international business available for undergrads and a doctoral program to boot. Not sure if you want to fully commit to a global commerce degree? The Elliott School of International Affairs is an interdisciplinary program that allows you to get a taste for the international political, economic, and social sphere. In terms of study abroad, George Washington offers exciting opportunities in cities on the new frontier of business, like Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and Mexico City. Whatever your path to international business, be it through formal education, study abroad, or an interdisciplinary international affairs program, George Washington is a great place to start.

6 Northwestern University Evanston, IL

There are tons of different ways to get involved in international business at Northwestern. Starting with the Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) program, which sees 250 students participate annually in an intensive global business course aimed at providing an in-depth understanding of the economic, political, social, and cultural characteristics of a non-U.S. country. Students conduct international business research on a topic of interest, and further develop teamwork and leadership skills via meetings with government officials and business leaders abroad.

The Kellogg School of Management, which houses the GIM and all other business endeavors at Northwestern, also has an MBA exchange program that allows students to study abroad on six continents. Kellogg Corps, a volunteer program for students, groups together small teams on consulting projects with non-profits in developing countries worldwide. This volunteer opportunity promotes global citizenship through community development and is a unique way to expand your knowledge of international business outside of structured class and case study scenarios. Sometimes the best way to get to know a culture and its values is through interacting first-hand with the community, and Kellogg offers that opportunity in spades.

7 University of Chicago Chicago, IL

If you’re looking to further your undergraduate education, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business offers full-time, evening, and executive MBAs as well as a PhD program so you’re guaranteed academic excellence at every level. The 70+ student-led groups (which provide leadership opportunities, an essential component of a successful international business career) are only one way Booth’s commerce program celebrates diversity; with more than one-third of Booth students coming from abroad and 55 countries represented on campus, the student body is truly a globally diverse group. This might have something to do with the school’s International Business Exchange Program, which boasts 33 partner schools in 20 countries worldwide.

Or maybe it’s due to the excellent International MBA program, specially designed for students who want to build intercultural management skills and a deep understanding of global business issues. Requirements to achieve an IMBA degree include five international business courses, a study abroad term, and demonstrated oral proficiency in a foreign language. In addition to fulfilling those requirements, IMBA hopefuls have their pick of coursework from other schools on campus including the Harris School of Public Policy and the law school, giving them a well-rounded education sure to benefit them in pursuit of their dream job. With unique opportunities like attending the Latin America business conference and joint degree programs (you can earn both an MBA and an MA in international relations, for example), Booth offers a balanced approach to international business.

8 Florida International University Miami, FL

Want validation that Florida International University is doing something right? A fifth of more than the 50,000 business school alumni own their own businesses. As they say, the proof is in the paycheck. The College of Business is among the five percent of elite business schools worldwide, as accredited by the AACSB International. And with initiatives at every level including undergraduate, graduate, doctorate, and executive education, there are ways to be a part of it no matter what your requirements are.

The Chapman School offers an International MBA that is one of the highest-ranked programs in the country and definitely worth considering. In terms of undergraduate options, the Honors in International Business curriculum is a unique way to gain a better understanding of global business by delving into the relationship between the cultural, religious, economic, and political forces that drive the global marketplace. Through an honors project, study abroad, and multi-disciplinary curriculum, the honors program gives you a broad insight into the world of international business at a fast pace.

9 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management is entirely globally-driven, ensuring that all your courses are specially tailored to your specific interests. Undergrads explore these specific interests in pursuit of either a Bachelor of Global Management degree (which offers courses like Intercultural Communication and Global Marketing) or a Bachelor of Science in international trade (which offers courses like Big Data in the Global Economy and International Trade and Regional Economic Agreements). One of the ways Thunderbird differentiates itself is in its requirement of a global internship for both of these degrees. Coupled with tons of study abroad opportunities, this requirement ensures that the school’s graduates have some relevant work experience before being thrown into the global business world. In addition to those two undergraduate degrees, Thunderbird also has a graduate school and an option to complete your studies online, giving you the flexibility, affordability, and expertise you need to be successful in your future.

10 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO

Washington University’s approach to international business is all in the first-hand travel experience. During your junior or senior year in the BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) program, you can participate in one of the business school’s renowned international internship programs and/or partake in one of two “study tours”. The European Study tour is a great introduction to the European Union and European markets, where you and a partner travel to an EU capital to meet government officials and businesspeople and conduct onsite research before gathering in Brussels with the rest of the program participants to meet with European Parliament members and debate your findings at a mock parliament. The Asian Study tour explores the culture of the region during a weeklong program that offers its students a mix of classes, business meetings, and cultural activities. If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track, there’s also an Israel Summer Business Academy, where students are encouraged to take advantage of the entrepreneurial nature of the country —Israel has more start-ups per capita than any other country in the world— to immerse themselves in a truly global professional environment. Beyond the incredible travel opportunities, Wash U students can also minor in international business at the Olin Business School during their undergraduate time and get a comprehensive introduction to the field along with first-hand experience in foreign countries. With an apparent emphasis on learning through experience, Washington University’s approach to international business is one that will get you out of the classroom and into the real world early on.

List of International Business Schools in the U.S.

Degree Levels
  • Associate's
  • Bachelor's
  • Certificates
  • Doctoral
  • Master's
Program Length
  • Less than 2 years (below associate)
  • At least 2 but less than 4 years
  • Four or more years
Control Type
  • Private for-profit
  • Private not-for-profit
  • Public
School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Southern California University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
16 : 1 43,401
New York University New York University New York, NY
8 : 1 50,027
University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
12 : 1 24,876
University of South Carolina-Columbia University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC
20 : 1 33,724
George Washington University George Washington University Washington, DC
17 : 1 26,212
Northwestern University Northwestern University Evanston, IL
10 : 1 21,655
University of Chicago University of Chicago Chicago, IL
7 : 1 15,391
Florida International University Florida International University Miami, FL
34 : 1 49,782
Arizona State University-Tempe Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ
27 : 1 51,984
Washington University in St Louis Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
9 : 1 14,688
Georgetown University Georgetown University Washington, DC
13 : 1 18,459
Northeastern University Northeastern University Boston, MA
15 : 1 19,940
Duke University Duke University Durham, NC
5 : 1 15,984
Harvard University Harvard University Cambridge, MA
14 : 1 29,652
Tulane University of Louisiana Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
12 : 1 12,485
Brandeis University Brandeis University Waltham, MA
14 : 1 5,752
Pepperdine University Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
16 : 1 7,632
Tufts University Tufts University Medford, MA
11 : 1 11,137
University of San Diego University of San Diego San Diego, CA
15 : 1 8,251
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
7 : 1 28,649
University Logo University of Georgia Athens, GA
18 : 1 36,130
Thunderbird School of Global Management Thunderbird School of Global Management Glendale, AZ 24 : 1 416
The University of Texas at Dallas The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX
28 : 1 24,554
Arcadia University Arcadia University Glenside, PA
14 : 1 3,984
Villanova University Villanova University Villanova, PA
14 : 1 10,711

Find Local Colleges Offering International Business Degrees

Getting an International Business Degree Online

Can you study this online?

Yes! Many, if not most, accredited online colleges offer some courses in international business. The big benefit to online learning is the flexibility offered, and when it comes to studying international business —a challenging degree requiring dedication— flexibility can be key. It allows people of all ages and backgrounds to get their degree at their convenience, opening up the student body to include non-traditional college students, such as an already employed adult studying international business to advance or expand their career options. Another way this wider student body benefits you is that it could potentially be more global. Learning from global classmates and listening to their perspective is essential in gaining a comprehensive worldview; which, in turn, is essential to being a successful international businessperson. Other benefits traditionally associated with online schooling, such as lowered costs and a vaster array of course options, also apply here.

That said, there are of course drawbacks to pursuing an international business degree online. You may run into accreditation issues later on, as some brick-and-mortar graduate schools still do not accept the legitimacy of online colleges. However, you can get around this by getting your master’s degree online, too. Northeastern University, ASU Online (Arizona State University’s online college), the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and Scranton University are just some of the online higher education institutions offering MBAs in international business.

Another potential problem with studying international business online is related to the necessity of personal connections in the business world.

“In business it is not only what you know but whom you know that is vitally important. While online courses may foster a platform for networking and business connections, face-to-face interactions and social skills may tend to decrease. The best way to interact with a foreign client is still face-to-face.”

So while it is definitely possible to study international business online, you need to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. The decision is entirely personal.

Schools offering online International Business degrees

Online International Business degrees are available at a variety of different schools with as many as 339 degrees earned at the most popular school. Read more below about all schools that have offered online International Business degrees. If you are interested learning more about getting a degree online, check out our page dedicated to online degree information.

School Name Certificate Associate's Bachelor's Master's Doctoral
Thunderbird School of Global Management 33 0 0 306 0
Florida International University 0 0 292 0 0
Arizona State University-Tempe 212 0 0 0 0
Berkeley College-New York 0 9 63 0 0
University of Maryland-University College 5 0 22 62 0
How many schools offer online International Business degrees?
  • 18 Certificates
  • 11 Associate's
  • 34 Bachelor's
  • 25 Master's

What can you do with a International Business Degree?

International Business Careers Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)
Year Financial managers Employment Market research analysts and marketing specialists Employment Business operations specialists, all other Employment Financial analysts Employment Economists Employment Interpreters and translators Employment
2015 559,660 504,730 1,002,800 280,840 21,620 62,750
2016 563,420 513,960 1,007,600 284,080 21,740 64,500
2017 567,180 523,190 1,012,400 287,320 21,860 66,250
2018 570,940 532,420 1,017,200 290,560 21,980 68,000
2019 574,700 541,650 1,022,000 293,800 22,100 69,750
2020 578,460 550,880 1,026,800 297,040 22,220 71,500
2021 582,220 560,110 1,031,600 300,280 22,340 73,250
2022 585,980 569,340 1,036,400 303,520 22,460 75,000
2023 589,740 578,570 1,041,200 306,760 22,580 76,750
2024 593,500 587,800 1,046,000 310,000 22,700 78,500

International Business Major Career Outlook

“The majority of jobs in international business involve sales and marketing - in a traditional employee role, on contract, or as an entrepreneur.”

Similar to a standard business degree, an international business degree qualifies you for pretty much any industry, as “business” is a rather versatile skill needed by every company. International business opens up more doors and expands your potential reach to foreign markets and economies, meaning your employment opportunities are multiplied. A B.A. is required for most —if not all— careers, and advanced diplomas such as a master’s or doctorate will help you gain higher-ranking positions within a company.

Here are some examples of jobs in international business:

International Trade Specialist- International trade specialists work across a variety of industries that range from government work to financial organizations. They analyze foreign trade information, evaluate economic and market factors that impact trade, and participate in developmental programs. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, international trade specialists will need three to five years of international trade experience to get a job. Also useful: problem-solving, customer service, organizational, and communication skills. Knowledge of international trade regulations and tariff structures is a must as well.

International Economist- An international economist is pretty much the same as a regular economist, except he works on a global scale. They are vital to international companies who need economists to study the trends and economies of the global marketplace and make informed projections about the best places to do business.

International Finance Writer- Similarly, the only difference between a finance writer and an international finance writer is the scope. Those writing about international finance will create educational or market content for various publications across several financial verticals from news to business to trends in the economic sphere. Writers have some flexibility, as they can either work in-house at a publication or freelance their work out to numerous media sources.

International Banking- Prospective employees can either work at a local (or national) bank with branches in foreign countries or at a foreign-owned bank that operates in their native country. For those interested in the finance and accounting side of business, this is a lucrative career path that will allow you to work in pretty much any country in the world.

Cultural Advisors- A cultural advisor will work with international businesspeople to, well, advise them in the ways of foreign cultures. This can range from instruction in foreign language to helping them navigate the customs of a foreign country. Typically, cultural advisors specialize in specific areas of business and work primarily on a contract basis. This is the ideal career path for international business degree holders who are interested in participating in foreign market research, who have a passion for learning different cultures, and who are knowledgeable in at least one other language.

Diplomat- Diplomats are appointed by the state to liaise with others abroad representing the nation’s best interests. There are four ranks of diplomats: ambassadors, envoys, ministers, and charge d’affairs. Each rank varies in day-to-day duties slightly but has the same underlying responsibility of maintaining international relations between countries. A diplomat advises and is active in deciding matters regarding to peace and war, culture, the environment, human rights, treaties, and —the area most relevant to international business— trade and economics.

International Business Career Legend
Financial managers
Market research analysts and marketing specialists
Business operations specialists, all other
Financial analysts
Interpreters and translators
About this Data

*Sources for career information and data include the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may vary depending on year.

Average annual salary for International Business careers

  • $69,596 2005
  • $81,119 2010
  • $79,284 2015

What skills do you gain with an international business degree?

A big reason to study international business is that you learn a skillset applicable to every industry. This degree gives you a toolkit that will make you stand out in the job market because of the global perspective it provides.

Broadly, you learn cultural awareness through international study, as you learn adaptability and tolerance, as well as an understanding of how other countries and cultures think and operate. An international business degree is also often supplemented with at least one foreign language.

In terms of specific abilities gained through study, an international business degree covers a wide range of academic and practical skills you will need to implement in your day-to-day professional life. The organizational leadership, people management, and public speaking skills garnered will give you experience for future leadership positions. You will also learn strategic planning, accounting and finance, business-oriented computer applications, information technology, marketing, and critical analytical skills.

Of course, all this varies depending on the specific school and program you choose, but as a general rule of thumb these are the skills you can expect to walk away with from an international business degree.

What degrees do people get in International Business?

Degree Level Program Length Colleges Graduates
Associate's 2-year Length 67 Colleges 266 Graduates
Bachelor's 4-year Length 460 Colleges 6,358 Graduates
Certificates < 1 year Length 117 Colleges 761 Graduates
Doctoral 1-2 year Length 11 Colleges 31 Graduates
Master's 1+ years Length 137 Colleges 2,126 Graduates

International Business Degree Overview

International business degrees are available at every education level, from associate to doctoral programs.

Associate degree programs are the first step in an international business education, and are often supplemented with one or more of the following degrees. They can be done online and are a great first step to take if you’re unsure whether or not you want to fully commit to studying international business. An associate degree typically takes around two years to complete and will give you a firm grasp and basic understanding of what it means to study international business. 

Bachelor’s degree programs offer a similar educational path to associate degree programs the first two years, then give students an opportunity to fine-tune their studies through more specific areas of study, such as accounting or business law, for the remaining two years. A bachelor’s degree is required for most master’s programs. There are several types of bachelor’s programs available depending on your needs. A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is the most general, and prepares future businesspeople for work in international business, trade, and finance. Bachelor of Science in International Business (BSIB) degrees teach import/export policies, trade controls, and banking in foreign markets. Finally, those interested in focusing on global differences and cultural diversity issues in international business law, management, and marketing are best suited for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). 

Master’s degree programs are the next step after completing an undergraduate education and are required to be successful in most high-level positions. Master’s programs will usually take one or two years to finish, during which time you cultivate a skillset similar to that of an MBA but grounded in an international perspective. A master’s degree shows potential employers that you are serious about international business and have an excellent understanding of the global economy and business practices. 

Doctoral degree programs are the highest level of international business education, and doctoral candidates demonstrate an expert command of the international business field. Doctoral programs are built for those with established leadership and managerial skills, and are often designated for those wishing to pursue a career in academia rather than the corporate world —though of course, this level of education would qualify anyone for a high-level business position. Doctoral degrees are earned in three to six years, depending on whether the program is part-time or full-time. Candidates must write and defend a doctoral dissertation and pass a comprehensive examination in order to obtain their degree.

Average cost of college for a International Business degree

Average Tuition and Fees for a 2 year Degree

Average Tuition and Fees School Control Student Residence
$2,624 Public In-State
$15,262 Private In-State
$6,841 Public Out-of-State
$15,262 Private Out-of-State

Average Tuition and Fees for a 4 year Degree

Average Tuition and Fees School Control Student Residence
$8,474 Public In-State
$28,173 Private In-State
$18,883 Public Out-of-State
$28,173 Private Out-of-State

Questions About International Business

Who are some notable people that hold international business degrees?

An international business degree serves many industries and careers, so notable degree holders vary widely in occupation. Despite coming from a variety of occupational backgrounds, the one thing all these people have in common (besides their degrees, of course) is leadership experience, showing that an international business degree is a great foundation for fostering future world leaders.

Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, graduated with an international business degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business before attaining a certificate in international business from the University of Brussels. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Austria under Reagan from 1986-1987 (see: diplomat), dabbled in politics, and if his last name sounds familiar you may also know him as the Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies.

Natale Ricciardi served as Senior VP & President of Global Manufacturing of Pfizer Inc. from 2004-2011. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the City College of New York, he earned his Master of Business Administration in finance and international business from Fordham University.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in international business and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Oregon, Renée James went on to become the president of Intel Corporation in 2013. That same year, President Obama appointed her to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). She was eventually named Vice Chair of the NSTAC in 2015.

What advantages will I get with an international business degree over a regular business degree?

A standard business degree is widely known to be one of the most widely applicable and therefore most useful degrees you can hold. An international business degree only broadens your future opportunities. Potential jobs multiply; not only across fields and companies, but also across countries. Where a regular business degree might limit you to one place, an international business degree gives you the freedom and ability to travel and live abroad.

“Studying international business allows students to appreciate how globalization has brought about an increasing 'connectedness' of businesses, markets, people and information across countries,” says Dr. Kieran Conroy, lecturer in management and international business at Queens Management School in Belfast. (, Why Study International Business?)

In other words, international business degree holders will walk away from their education with an understanding of and ability to analyze the interconnectedness across industries all over the world. This comes in handy should you decide to embark on a sudden career change down the line, as you will have already held some basic knowledge of a number of industries. It also helps your analytical skills, making you able to conceptualize isolated circumstances in the broader global sphere to accurately predict trends. In non-career related benefits, students of international business are exposed to a wide variety of skillsets, beliefs, and cultures not necessarily taught in regular business school. You probably wouldn’t learn dining customs in China in a regular business school, but as part of a study abroad or cultural experience in an international business program you might, as those customs would undoubtedly come in handy should you have to entertain a potential future client from China. These little lessons add up to becoming a global citizen, and will undoubtedly shape —or even change— your personal world view. You learn awareness of other cultures, build foreign language skills, and develop a tolerance and understanding of different ways of life that make you more rounded as a person and better suited to live in the truly global world we inhabit today. The benefits of pursuing an international business degree are both personal and professional, possibly why the degree is one of the most useful and lucrative academic options out there.

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