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International Business Studies

There has been a recent increase in provision of business courses offering a specific international flavor, developed both in UK institutions and overseas. Indeed, universities previously offering only traditional subjects are showing great interest in this expanding and exciting field of study, with some institutions enrolling as many as 50% of business students in new international business programmes.

Numerous collaborations are taking place across universities from all corners of the globe, and Business Schools are beginning to respond to calls from employers for the promotion of a world view of business, providing the necessary skills for the increasing number of global managers now required in industry. Large organisations recruit from Europe, the US and Asia, and many US companies are specifically looking towards European Business schools to fill their recruitment quotas.

Why study International Business?

Of current importance is the development of the multinational enterprise and the impact of foreign direct investment as a vehicle for the increased globalisation of business activity. Foreign direct investment has become the fastest increasing productive unit in the UK Economy recent investors in the UK including Toyota, Samsung and Nissan. None of these multinationals are confined to solely Japanese manufacturing companies, as the impact of new global technology and information systems is leading to a wider range of opportunities. Indeed, Numura securities in the Finance section, as well as the French car company, Peugeot, provide an example of the diverse range of Multinational Business activities in the UK alone.

Further liberalisation of trade has taken place through the various round of GATT and European Union, with these trading blocs are committed towards full removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and allowing the free movement of labour and capital in the creation of a single market. Similar agreements are taking place within the US, Canada and Mexico, as well as Japan and the association of South East Asian Nations. All these developments highlight the importance of understanding international business in the 21st century.

Additional Opportunities

Students also gain many other benefits arising from the study of an International Business degree, besides increased job prospects. Some of these stem from the opportunity to work on projects in cross cultural groups, learning new techniques arising from working with people with a wider range of business cultures. In terms of curriculum units, the International Business degree offers the opportunity to gain fluency in another language such as Japanese, French, German, Spanish or Italian. Particular emphasis is placed on the acquisition of a foreign language in the business context, and some institutions offer the opportunity to study two languages.

There is, however, much more to an International Business Degree than foreign languages. The study of International Business includes the development of skills whereby students learn to think in the business context of another trading nation. There is much to be learnt from how business is carried out across a wide range of newly emerging markets, as well as gaining an understanding of various business practices in the more affluent nations, including European countries, Japan and the US. A wide range of international options are available for study, including Global Environment Management, International Marketing and Global Information Technology.

The study of International Business also offers the possibility of studying and completing a work placement in another country. European funding is available to support these programs; indeed, over 60% of a poll of UK students studying business between 1991-1996 indicated the period of study abroad to be the most valuable experience of their whole degree being both character building and rewarding. Comparable academic units are chosen at a partner institutions and credits can be transferred using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) for those studying across Europe with other forms of credit transfer now also being developed. After completion, students can achieve a diploma or dual certificate from the partner institution, thus providing an additional qualification to the initial degree course.

Why Study International Business in the U.K?

The study of International Business is now proving to be more popular than ever before in the UK, particularly in the light of recent changes, not least the introduction of modularisation. This has led to a wide range of options becoming available, and there is now much room for flexibility. For example, International Business can be combined with subjects such as English languages, Law and IT, as well as the more traditional approach of combining with foreign languages. Further, international business can be taken with or without foreign languages, and students may choose whether they wish to take up a study period or work placement abroad.

Some universities are pioneering the development of study periods abroad taught in English, as well as providing opportunities to study in a foreign language. This is an extremely useful development for those who wish to achieve an understanding of how business is carried out across other countries, but have a limited knowledge of languages. These can also be taken up at various stages of the degree programme, providing continuous access to the development of linguistic skills. The International Business degree course can then be completed in either 3 or 4 years, depending on whether students decide to take up the Industrial Placement year. These initiatives are increasingly being developed as new and exciting opportunities arise from the opening up of trade.

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