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International Business, Trade, and Finance - Overview


International business, trade, and finance programs prepare people to do business in other countries. Students learn about import and export policies. They learn about trade controls and banking in foreign markets.

We now live in a global economy. That means that if you are working in a business, you have a good chance of buying from or selling to people in other countries. And you are likely to have many job opportunities if you make international business your specialty.

To do business in a global context, you need to understand the people you will be dealing with. You must feel comfortable with their language and culture. Your educational preparation also should cover the legal complications of foreign trade. You may study how materials and goods are shipped and stored when trade crosses borders. And you may learn how to market products to foreigners or attract investment from them.

Therefore your education will probably begin with a general grounding in business methods. It will include a certain amount of foreign language and culture. Then you will take specialized courses in international business.

You can get a two-year degree in this field at about 70 colleges. At others you may major in some other kind of business and take a few global-business-related courses. With this degree you may work in positions such as sales, shipping, customer service, or currency conversion.

You can get a bachelor's degree in this field at a large number of colleges. This normally requires four years of full-time study beyond high school. Many programs encourage you to study for one year in a foreign country. In some, it is required. With a bachelor's degree you are likely to be hired as a management trainee or as a specialist in a department such as marketing or finance.

Still another route is to study this field at the graduate level. A large number of business schools let you earn a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in international business. This most often takes two years of full-time study. You may enter the MBA program after getting a bachelor's in a specialized business field. Or you may have a bachelor's in some other field, plus some business course work and some work experience in business. An MBA degree will create many opportunities for you in management.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

• Introduction to Business
• Public Speaking
• Second Language
• World Geography
• World History
• Economics

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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