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What is the difference between an international business degree and a traditional business degree?

An international business degree tends to focus on providing students with a cross-cultural perspective, which is essential for those who aspire to work in businesses that operate on a global scale. Specifically, an international business degree outlines topics such as the global economy and market policies. This degree is known to provide students with international experience and to develop leadership skills. 

Read on to find out how an international business degree differs from a traditional business degree and why it is a good option for students who you want to work globally. 

What is an international business degree?

An international business degree programme focuses on topics that are directly related to global business. Students develop an understanding of politics, economics and legal issues in international businesses and the challenges they face in these areas. Some general subjects that are taught in an international business degree programme include:

  • International monetary system – this term encompasses international; financial institutions, multinational corporations and investors. The system provides a structure for determining international payment policies, exchange rates and movement of global capital.

  • International exchange rate – an international exchange rate is used to determine the value of a country’s currency in comparison with the currency of another country. Also known as foreign exchange (FX) rate, it is employed by nations worldwide to determine their relative economic wealth in accordance with rates of interest and inflation.

  • International trade – this is defined as the exchange of goods and services between countries. Trading globally allows consumers around the world to experience services and goods that are not available in their countries or at a cheaper price.

  • Tariffs and duties – in international trading, tariffs (or customs duty) are referred to as the tax that is imposed on goods that cross national borders. This is primarily exercised to raise revenues and protect domestic industries from discrepancies that may arise during foreign trade. Tariffs and duties in international trade consist of three types:

    • Transit duties;

    • Export duties;

    • Import duties. 

  • International organisations – there are a plethora of international business organisations who work to facilitate global business transactions. These are some globally recognised organisations that deal with international business:

    • World Trade Organisation (WTO);

    • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC);

    • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC);

    • International Business Organisations (IBO);

    • The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA);

    • The World Technology Network (WTN);

    • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE);

    • International Executives Association (IEA);

    • Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU);

    • Coalition of Services Industries (CSI).

  • Government dynamics – this refers to the political and legal systems around the world that every business has to deal with. The three main types of legal systems involved in international trade are: civil law, common law and religious law. The relationships between national governments and global businesses are a necessary aspect of promoting and preserving every nation’s social, cultural, political and economic structures.

  • International business ethics – global business ethics is an integral part of international business that is designed in accordance with the global perceptions of ethics, morals and social behaviour. It is divided into three major sectors:

    • Ethics and management practices;

    • Ethics and corruption;

    • Corporate social responsibility.

What is a business degree?

A business degree helps students acquire general business skills that can help them obtain management or marketing roles in the corporate sector. Traditional business degrees generally cover subjects that can be employed in the regular business areas such as accounting, finance and management. These degrees often include a wide range of subjects that help students to learn about the key components of creating a successful business. Taking up a business degree can help you understand the multidisciplinary nature of business and choose from a number of opportunities when applying for graduate jobs.  

Key differences between an international business degree and a business degree

  • International business degrees teach students to maintain business operations throughout the globe in real-time, while traditional business degree graduates may find they are limited to working within their home country;

  • An international business degree prepares students to deal with economic transactions within several countries, whereas with a business degree student will be limited to performing economic transactions within the borders of their own country;

  • International business degree students are required to grasp the rules, laws taxation, tariffs and quotas of several countries. By comparison, business degree candidates face few restrictions as the organisations they work for will probably only be subject to these in one country;

  • With an international business degree under their belts, students get the opportunity to deal with international clients and multiple currencies. On the other hand, a business degree limits students to interacting with domestic clients and their national currency;

  • International business degree holders are equipped with specialised skills that require them to deal with high-quality products, services and large capital investment. Traditional business degree holders will probably be involved in transactions with less capital investment and the quality standards of products and services are usually lower.

London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers a full-time Master in International Business (MIB) programme that covers all the essentials of international business. The degree is awarded by the prestigious Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) business school. For more information about this course, click here.

This blog was written by Deblina Dam and edited by Emma Chadwick. 

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