MBA in International Business: Salary and Career Facts

Read about what you'll learn in an MBA in international business program. Discover certifications, potential careers and salary information for graduates with this degree. Schools offering International Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Do With an MBA in International Business?

A Master of Business Administration in International Business is a specialized graduate degree teaching students high-level business management skills for internationally recognized businesses. Graduates have many options for potential careers after graduation, in addition to greater mobility in any job you may already have. Management positions are common. Banks, large companies, financial institutions, and government agencies are some employers who may want you.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Chief ExecutiveFinancial ManagerOperations Manager
Key Responsibilities Establish company goals, manage day to day running, analyze financials and other reports Prepare financial statements, business reports and make forecasts Run daily company needs, negotiate contracts with employees and vendors
Licensure/Certification Required Some licensing may be required Licensure required in some areas, certification available Licensure required in some areas
Job Outlook (2014-2024) -1%* 7%* 7%* (all general and operations managers)
Median Salary (2015) $175,110* $117,990* $97,730* (all general and operations managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Skills Can I Acquire in an MBA in International Business Program?

A Master of Business Administration program with a specialization in international business combines advanced management practices with an understanding of business conduct in foreign environments. As a student, you learn about global economic trends and how to identify business strategies and opportunities in foreign markets. Many programs require students to develop skills in a second language. You may also have the opportunity to study abroad or complete an internship overseas to gain first-hand experience in a foreign business environment.

What Jobs Might I Pursue?

Once you have your MBA in International Business, you may remain with your current employer and move up to a higher-level position with more responsibility or you could seek a new position within a larger company. You may qualify for managerial and top executive positions and direct the overall operations of a business. Your job title might be chief executive officer, chief operating manager, or financial manager.

An understanding of global economic trends and cultural issues are valuable in many areas of business. Careers in business development, entrepreneurship and international finance are common among MBA graduates with an international business focus. Other areas of business you may enter are sales, marketing and information technology. Potential employers include international financial institutions, investment firms, banks, multinational corporations, and government agencies. Depending on your interests, you may also seek employment abroad.

What Do I Need in Addition to a Degree?

You may wish to consider completing company training programs to advance within your organization. International seminars and conferences can also keep you updated on international business trends and new developments within your industry. And although they are not generally required, certification is another strong way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills and remain competitive in the marketplace.

The International Certification Institute offers the Certified MBA (CMBA) designation to qualified professionals. This certification verifies mastery of the main curriculum areas required among the MBA programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. You need to complete an online application, submit transcripts and pass an exam to earn your CMBA credential. The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers a Certified Manager (CM) credential for professionals at all levels of experience. You must have a certain amount of work experience in addition to a degree to sit for the three exams needed to earn this designation.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Expect your salary to vary considerably depending on your type of work, level of responsibility, level of experience, and the size of your company. Top executive positions within large, international corporations have very high earnings potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wages of chief executives were $175,110, while the median annual wages of general and operational managers totaled $97,730 as of May 2015. In addition, financial managers had median annual wages of $117,990 as of that same year, reported the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Corporate executives and managers often receive stock options and performance bonuses in addition to their base salaries. Non-monetary benefits are also common, such as the use of a company car and expense allowances while traveling or entertaining clients.

What Are Some Related Careers?

In addition to CEOs and general and operational managers, there are several more top executive roles these degrees could qualify you for. COOs are similarly powerful figures within a company, overseeing other executives and directly influencing the actions of various departments. Chief financial officers (CFOs) oversee the activities of lower leveled financial managers, ensuring their company's financial reports are accurate and overseeing the budgeting and goals for a company's economic future. Within the public sector, both mayors and school superintendents could qualify, with mayors running the operations of a town or city, while superintendents solve issues related to their school district and set curricula. Other government officials could also apply.

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