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Why Study International Business Marketing?

March 14, 2022

Dr. Aadel Darrat

My name is Aadel Darrat. I am an Assistant Professor of Marketing at LSU Shreveport, and I have the privilege of describing the marketing major and the International Business concentration. This concentration is most suited for students majoring in Marketing, Management, General Business, or Business Administration. There are several international career opportunities available to students who choose this concentration, and I want to share what makes international business such an exciting field of study. 

But first, let’s talk about the real definition of marketing!

What is marketing, and how is it different from advertising?

Marketing is so much more than advertising. It is everything.

Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA), is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. What does this definition actually mean? 

Many marketing experts differ in their exact definition of marketing, usually focusing on the aspect of marketing they work most closely with. 

One of my favorite definitions of marketing comes from a previous guest speaker to my international marketing class. This managing director and global implementation director from a Fortune 500 company defines marketing as he knows it with just two words: "creating demand". In other words, creating value leads to demand for that value. 

Everyone has heard the cliché that marketing is all about delivering the right message, in the right place, at the right time. From AMA’s definition, we can extract the 4 P’s of marketing: 1. product 2. place 3. price 4. promotion Products (or value, or demand) are created, effectively communicated via promotion, delivered at a designated place, and exchanged at a particular price. Promotion is effective communication, and there are various elements of promotion (e.g. advertising, public relations/publicity, sales promotion, personal selling, and social media). 

If advertising is just one aspect of promotion, then saying that marketing is advertising is wrong. Advertising is simply one piece of marketing.  

What is international business?

Now that we know what marketing is, what is international business? Very simply put, it is any business activity that occurs in more than one country or across national boundaries. It is no secret that there is a trend toward globalization due to increased trade between nations and non-stop advancements in technology. Smartphones and social media have proven to be major forces in making the world a smaller place.

Studying marketing and business from a global perspective is essential for anyone interested in working abroad and learning about different cultures. 

A concentration in international business will give you a thorough understanding of how globalization is making businesses, markets, and people increasingly connected. Conducting business across national borders has become a necessity for most companies nowadays. There is always a growing need for business graduates who have an international perspective and are willing and able to work in today’s globalized world.

Careers in International Business

Recent studies have identified the various factors that define people who consider international business careers. Of these factors, the two that stand out to me are: 

  1. People who are most committed to their professional careers sign up for overseas work 
  2. People with prior international experience are more likely to take on another foreign assignment. (Due to increased compensation and benefits associated with these assignments)

Marketing: International Business Position Examples:

Position  National Median Salary Growth
International Bank Manager $129,890 Much faster than average
International Marketing Manager $129,380 Much faster than average
International Human Resource Manager  $110,120 Faster than Average 
International Financial Analyst $84,300 Much faster than average
International Management Analyst $82,450 Much faster than average

These above examples are a few examples of the lucrative international business career positions and their corresponding median salaries. More importantly, take note of the fantastic growth rates for international careers. Aside from these managerial and analyst positions, there are countless other international jobs not included here because employees at all levels have to interact with international customers, suppliers, and/or partners. 

Also, keep in mind that the knowledge gained from an international business concentration gives you a better perspective of how to internationalize your own business for aspiring entrepreneurs. You might even have a family-owned business that wants to expand out of a domestic market to overseas. 

International Business Skills

The skills that you develop in international business are highly sought after by employers. For example, when conducting business internationally, you have to be very familiar with the culture and practices of that country. This skill is crucial to being an effective member of a multinational team. You must be able to communicate your ideas effectively and efficiently. Developing good speaking and writing skills cannot be over-emphasized.

You may even decide to take courses to learn a new language, which is fantastic. All of this preparation is a part of growth and progress. You cannot expect to start flying all over the world at the very start of your first job. Most international careers begin domestically, and then you move on to overseas positions once you have established yourself at home. The exciting part of it all is that opportunities might come up in countries that you have never even considered before.

You will be always be seen as an asset when you are creative, you can adapt, and you show excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Your employer will know that you have what it takes to sense and evaluate new developments wherever with these qualities.

Concentration Courses

You may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but I really do not want to take any extra courses that would delay my graduation.” This thought process is a common misunderstanding relating to the various business concentrations. Choosing to have a concentration in international business or any other concentration does not mean that you have to take extra courses on top of your required major courses. Concentration courses guide and direct your choice of electives that you need to take anyway. 

For the International Business concentration, you must take Introduction to International Business. You would then need to take 3 of the these 6 listed electives listed here: 

  • International Law
  • International Economics 
  • International Finance 
  • International Human Resource Management
  • International Business Communication
  • International Marketing 

A marketing degree with a concentration in international business can help you be a better global professional. 

I teach international marketing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I always have a discussion with my students about two major obstacles that make adaptation much harder for international businesses. We call these phenomena the self-reference criterion (SRC) and ethnocentrism.

Self-reference criterion (SRC) is an unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values, experiences, and knowledge as a basis for decision-making. Ethnocentrism takes it a step further in that we tend to develop strong biases in favor of the way our specific country or culture does things. The risks of SRC and ethnocentrism are huge. These biases can prevent managers from being aware of cultural differences or recognizing the importance of those differences. Sometimes, this may lead us to react to situations in ways that are offensive to someone from another background. 

This is especially true for those of us who never really venture out of our hometown bubbles. Traveling to other countries and learning about other cultures forces us to get out of our comfort zones and allows us to expand our perspectives and grow as individuals. Pursuing an international business concentration will help pave the way toward an exciting career filled with travel and growth. 

Start Your International Career with LSU Shreveport 

LSU Shreveport, in partnership with LSU Online, provides access to several online programs so you can start learning when it is convenient for you. Our online Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a concentration in International Business is perfect for working professionals and other nontraditional students. 

Ready to move your global career forward? We have the tools you need.

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