International Business Careers
GVSU students visiting a GM office in Shanghai, China.
Today’s business is global. Companies everywhere sell to people in other countries, source materials from other countries, and make goods in other countries. Global and domestic companies in every industry -- from aerospace and agriculture to entertainment and transportation -- need people who can navigate the challenges of doing business in almost every country in the world. They need people who can successfully execute global transactions in their businesses. They need professionals in accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and supply chain, and offer exciting and challenging careers working for organizations that do business with companies and people worldwide.
“We have stepped up our global investment program over the last 18 months, particularly in emerging markets, including Thailand, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. We’re putting in new brick-and-mortar facilities and adding capacity in order to expand our ability to manufacture and assemble products in those markets. I firmly believe that with seven billion people on the planet wanting to live as we do in the US, they’re going to want infrastructure. Caterpillar makes infrastructure, so we have to be there.” —Douglas R. Oberhelman, Former Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc. (Source: PWC CEO survey 2012)
If you enjoy traveling to new places, if you appreciate people of other cultures, if you embrace new challenges, and if you appreciate foreign languages, you are well suited for a career in international business. While many international business jobs are overseas, others are located in the U.S.:
- U.S. based international business position:
You might work for a U.S. company that conducts business in other countries. Or you might work for a non-U.S. company that is located in the United States. Your job may or may not include international travel. If the position does not include travel, an international business professional is likely to engage regularly with customers, co-workers, and vendors located overseas via phone or video conferencing. If the position includes international travel, the professional may travel several weeks per year, depending on the requirements of the IB position.
- Non-U.S. based international business job:
You might work in another country for a U.S. or a foreign-owned company. You would live and work in a foreign country, with travel to other countries and the U.S. occasionally, depending on the geographic scope of your employer’s business. People who accept this kind of international assignment are known as expatriates, and they tend to work and live in a foreign country for 2 - 3 years, or more.
What special skills do I need to build for a successful international career?
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
- Be adaptive to change
- Strong grounding in a business discipline – a second business major
- Cross-cultural competency
- Strong communication skills
- Foreign language ability
How do I find a job that might lead to an International Business Career?
GV’s Career Center can help you: Handshake is its powerful online resource that connects GVSU students with employers and career resources, and connects employers with GVSU students. Use Handshake to find:
- internships, both international and U.S.
- part-time and full-time jobs with companies that do business internationally
- upcoming Career Center events
- how to schedule an appointment with an International Business career advisor
- read the International Business Career Guide and see where IB majors have landed after graduation
You can also drop-in and visit with the Career Center during CareerLab, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 101B DEV.
Prof. Thuy Simpson
Professor of Finance
3035 L. William Seidman Center
Prof. Anton Fenik
Professor of Marketing
3076 L. William Seidman Center
Prof. Brad Koch
Professor of Management
3101 L. William Seidman Center
IB Career Resources:
GVSU Career Center:
Phone: (616) 331-3311
Allendale Campus: 206 Student Services Building
Phone: (616) 331-6708
Pew (Grand Rapids) Campus: 101-B DeVos Center