As even small businesses grow their companies overseas through outsourcing, international customer outreach, mergers or global investing, future business professionals are going to need a solid understanding of international business culture in order to find any kind of job, let alone keep their edge. From CEOs to marketing assistants, being able to work with different groups of people while being able to analyze and work with the constantly fluctuating global economy is vital. A graduate degree in international business is therefore a useful way to add to your work experience or undergraduate preparation, even if you have chosen to specialize in a separate business field, like finance or entrepreneurship. If you’d like to go back to school or extend your education before entering the workforce full-time, here are some tips for picking the right graduate-level international business program.
- Pick a program that focuses on promoting cultural awareness: International business is all about managing different concepts, people, cultures, time zones, currencies and marketing strategies to pitch a cohesive idea, brand or product. If you’re unfamiliar with how the Chinese do business or interpret commercials, you’ll be wholly unqualified to make a business deal with a Chinese company, no matter how smart you are at American marketing principles.
- Consider studying abroad: Whether or not you studied abroad as an undergraduate, consider going to another country to intern or study as a graduate student. Just as b-school is much different than undergrad, your study abroad program will be much more focused and intensive. Plus, it’s the best way to practice a language and build up your international contacts.
- Decide what kind of certificate you want: Graduate school is actually a very broad term when it comes to b-school programs. Decide how long you want to be in school and what kind of program you want to enroll in: MBA, certificate program, distance learning, Master of Arts, Master of Science, full-time, evening, or a language program. Larger b-schools will typically offer more selection, but if you find a smaller school that offers the right kind of program you want, that’s fine, too.
- Research the school’s network: One of the main reasons people decide to go to b-school is to gain access to a program’s professional network of alumni, business recruiters, and other valuable contacts. Before enrolling in a school, find out which companies your school has relationships with, in the U.S. and abroad.
- Interview students and faculty: If you want to learn more about a particular program, contact the admissions office or program’s office and ask them if you can interview students, teaching assistants and full-time faculty. You will get a much more personal and accurate summary of classes, internship opportunities, study abroad experiences and post-graduate options than if you just read it online.
This guest post has been contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited colleges online. She welcomes your comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org .