Let’s Go Global!
With companies going global today, it’s essential to have knowledge in international business in order to ride this wave. Samantha Yong speaks to Sharmila Sethu, the Academic Group Leader/Programme Leader (Business) from UCTI & APIIT to find out more about this growing trend.
Most important point
International business degree provides a comprehensive knowledge of doing business in a changing international environment.
There are various definitions for the term International Business. However, all of them generally note the convergence of markets, economies, and the different way of life across the world.
The term International Business is used collectively to describe the topics related to the operations of firms with interests in several countries. These usually include multinational companies (MNCs), like McDonald’s, Toyota, Sony, etc, or even companies in the private sector with offices in other parts of the world.
In today’s economy, most boundaries have already disappeared and those remaining will continue to diminish. This phenomenon is partially due to the proliferation of electronic communication, which allows instantaneous information transfer for sales, marketing, manufacturing and outsourcing. Furthermore, growing distribution networks, supply chains and transportation hubs simplify the movement of products.
Anyone planning a career in business must first understand the intricacies of doing business with partners from other countries—whether the business is conducted in Malaysia or outside our borders. In order to be prepared for a career in any facet of the business world (accounting, finance, marketing, information technology, law, healthcare, etc.), knowledge and understanding of global issues is critical.
Studying international business
Studying international business prepares you for the diverse business opportunities. A good example is the understanding that respect for and knowledge of prospective business counterparts will definitely give you the competitive advantage, in the cutthroat world of business.
The objective of an international business degree is to provide a comprehensive knowledge of doing business in a changing international environment. This programme trains specialists for internationally operating businesses in the various industries, service sectors or other business fields.
Is international business for you?
- I want to travel and work in foreign land
- I would like to work with new business opportunities
- I would like to understand the global economy and be able to predict economic trends
- I would like to understand and adapt to various cultures I am exposed to
- I like to be exposed to international negotiation and the ability problem solve at a more macro level.
- I would like to pick up on foreign languages and cultures
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to more than 3 statements, you are most likely suited for a course in international business.
Students will develop comprehensive skills in entrepreneurship, which will equip them with skills to start a business of their own. They are familiarised with the business operations of both small and medium-sized enterprises. They also learn the principles of international project management.
The degree provides students with a solid basic business education, knowledge of the international dimensions of business, specialisation in one major world region and an associated language, and direct overseas experience. The educational experience is designed to prepare students for positions in business, government, and international agencies in the fields of industrial development, international trade, and global business operations and planning.
Multinational companies include:
- Procter & Gamble
- Sony Corporation
Skills and knowledge
International business students are trained to apply knowledge learnt in the classroom to the development of company strategies, instruments and processes. Students will also learn how to do market analysis across various countries, understand different institutional environments as well as develop a sharp eye for processes within multinational enterprises.
Strategies are often related to country selection, entry strategies, marketing approaches as well as to questions related to company currency policies. Additionally, students will also
develop effective communication skills in order to work well with people from different cultural backgrounds.
A wide range of business management careers in international, multinational or trans-national companies are available for graduates in international business.
Some graduates have found positions with obvious international dimensions, such as export manager, international marketer or international sales manager. Besides that, graduates in this area can also fill positions such as product manager, treasury manager, human resources manager and management development officer as they operate increasingly in an international context.
Graduates looking to fill positions with organisations engaged in conducting, regulating or monitoring business operations across national borders will require the understanding of culture and business practices that shape international economics and environmental variables in foreign countries that influence the practice of overseas management, marketing, finance and supply chain.
This article first appeared in doctorjobs' CoursesNOW! 2007.