July 12, 2016
Everyone knows the world has become smaller. Social scientists have been saying it for years, braying about how radio and the telephone, television and finally the Internet have eliminated the time it takes to talk to anyone anywhere in the world, essentially erasing borders and the distance that once limited a businessperson's ability to buy and sell goods or services in far-flung cities without great expense and effort.
But as much as globalization has been talked about in a theoretical sense, there are still many people - many of them businesspeople - who don't appreciate the impact that has on all of our lives in a very practical sense, according to Bruce Stetar, executive director graduate business programs at Southern New Hampshire University's College of Online and Continuing Education. "The idea that you're going to do business only in the United States is pretty much null and void," Stetar said. "You may end up working somewhere else, or you may end up sitting in your office in Boston talking to someone in Taipei about how you're going to source products for your business. The world is now an international marketplace, therefore everybody in business could benefit from a set of international skills."
That's why an online International MBA program at SNHU can give you the leg up in the global marketplace.
Competing in the 21st century business world means expanding your knowledge beyond the borders of your city, state or even country. That means that in some ways international MBA programs focused on global commerce can give you advantages over other businesses in your field. The traditional MBA is seen as the inside track to a management position. It prepares students to have a broad base of knowledge in a number of business-related fields including finance and accounting, sales and marketing, product development and much more. Because the degree was developed and taught in the United States, it focuses on doing business in the United States, based on U.S. culture, business laws and company environments. While that's still as relevant as ever, there is also an increasing awareness that candidates in business need to have more knowledge of those influences in other parts of the world and how they interact with one another. With that realization have come the development of international MBA programs like the one at SNHU. "The way that works in the U.S. is vastly different than how that works in the rest of the world because cultural norms, how offices are run, how people relate to each other, laws, human resources - all that's different in other countries," Stetar said.
International MBA program classes are in some ways similar to traditional MBA classes. Both have classes covering business environment and entrepreneurship and marketing strategy. The difference is International MBA program classes focus on those areas as well as how they are affected by different countries' laws or customs. "The IMBA offers similar courses to traditional MBA, but the practical application within the courses are all based on international markets and multinational corporations," said IMBA instructor Zuzana Buzzell. "If we look at modern markets, large corporations always have a presence in foreign markets no matter the type of business they are in. And even small businesses, if they are online and ship their product abroad ... they are (a) multinational company since they export their product."
Since learning the ins and outs of financial reporting rules, for instance, in every country is impossible, SNHU's international MBA program will help prepare you to find out where those differences are, how to discover them when they do exist and then how to adapt to them. "How do I look for the differences?" Stetar said. "That's what we spend more time talking about. OK, what's the differences and how do you handle them when there is a difference?"
The International MBA program essentially prepares you to think about and plan for the added complexity inherent in doing business in multiple countries and added layers of laws, regulations and bureaucracy you will need to negotiate. Doing business internationally isn't just about navigating foreign laws though. It also adds intricacy to your own business plans. How you rollout a new product, what it costs, how it's packaged and how it's marketed can all vary in different markets - or it can stay the same. McDonald's, for instance, customizes its menu offerings depending on the market its in. You can't expect to get a Cheese Fondue Chicken Burger in Omaha, but you might in Tokyo. But if you're buying a product like an iPhone you can expect the same phone whether you're in Ohio or Hong Kong, Stetar pointed out. "You're going to learn more about business but now we're going to be talking about business in an international context," he said. "To me, it's just giving yourself that one more set of skills that someone else doesn't have. And you're giving yourself a very relevant set of skills because whether you like it or not you will be involved in international business."
But international business isn't just about launching your own products or services overseas or working for a giant multinational corporation. Even smaller businesses and companies are impacted by globalization either to find resources needed to make a product or by foreign customers and partners interested in your services. "We are surrounded by products that are manufactured in different countries, watch and share content on social media produced by people from different cultural backgrounds," Buzzell said. "Thus learning about (the) global world and knowing how to interact, do business and succeed in foreign market(s) is essential in (the) 21st century."
Studying for your International MBA doesn't mean giving up the flexibility or specialization afforded traditional MBA students. SNHU's International MBA program has 23 concentrations ranging from an International MBA in Accounting online to International MBA in Healthcare Management and International MBA in Sport Management online. International MBA programs are useful in a huge range of industries, including financial services, science and technology, healthcare, manufacturing and more.
Those specializations can lead to an equally varied number of positions, including business development manager. A few examples include:
Many of the topics in international MBA programs, looked at broadly, are similar to undergraduate business classes. The advantage of a master's degree is a more in-depth study of those areas and a chance to develop more real-world soft-skills such as critical thinking, writing and networking, Buzzell said. "With a graduate degree a program provides the students with materials and explanations, but also requires them to research and develop critical thinking skills," she said. "They need to be able to research a specific topic, form an educated opinion about the topic based on their research and present the findings. This is very valuable for career advancement or when students (are) seeking a change in career."
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.
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