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For the open-minded and curious student aiming to globalize their career, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in international business is the gateway to achieving that goal. These programs are designed to prepare graduates for diverse careers, from accounting and auditing to underwriting and analysis. These fields are not only anticipated to witness substantial growth over the next decade, but they also offer a median salary of $76,850, illustrating the high demand and value of these roles in the global market.

Typically, obtaining an MBA in international business takes 18 months to two years, with an average tuition cost of $19,749. This investment opens up a world of opportunities, providing students with the skills and knowledge to thrive in this field.

How to Choose an MBA in International Business Program

Choose your area of study

While international business is already a specialization, you can further refine your expertise by selecting an area of study that aligns with your career goals. Options may include global finance, international marketing, supply chain, or cross-cultural management.

For instance, students eyeing a career in global finance would benefit from focusing on international financial strategies, whereas those interested in managing multinational teams might choose cross-cultural management.

By tailoring your studies, you can align your education with your professional goals while boosting your competitiveness in the job market. Specialization within your MBA can provide a distinctive advantage, making you stand out in the applicant pool and job scene.

Research schools and programs

When researching programs, you’ll want to consider how well each program supports your area of interest and evaluate other critical aspects to ensure the best fit. Key questions to guide your research include:

  • What international experiences, like internships or study abroad, are available?
  • How does the program’s curriculum align with current global business trends?
  • What is the faculty’s background and expertise?
  • What career support and networking opportunities does the program provide?

This information can be found by visiting program websites, attending information sessions or open houses, and speaking with admissions counselors. These resources can provide insights into how each program can meet your educational and career goals, helping you make an informed decision.

Prepare for tests and applications

When applying for your MBA in international business, start by securing transcripts and letters of recommendation early to avoid a last-minute rush. These parts of your application can be time-consuming, so getting a head start can be critical to a successful admissions experience.

Additionally, consider enrolling in a test prep program for the GMAT or GRE to maximize your scores. Don’t forget that your personal statement is your chance to stand out — focus on your international aspirations, professional experiences, and how the program aligns with your career goals. Write about your vision and the unique perspectives you bring.

Select your program

Once acceptance letters arrive, revisit your initial research criteria, focusing on elements most crucial to your career goals and personal preferences. Consider the program’s alignment with your interests, the quality of faculty, and the international opportunities offered. It’s also essential to evaluate the total cost of attendance alongside any financial aid packages to understand the financial commitment required.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Financing your MBA in international business without accruing substantial debt requires a strategic approach to financial aid.

Prioritize funding that doesn’t need to be repaid, like scholarships and grants, which are awarded based on merit, need, or specific criteria. Explore assistantship opportunities, which can offer tuition waivers or stipends in exchange for research or teaching duties. If you’re currently employed, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement programs, as many companies support continuing education.

If there are still financial gaps, federal loans should be your last resort, offering lower interest rates and more favorable repayment terms than private loans.

Best 50 Accredited MBA in International Business Programs

Best MBA in International Business Degree Programs

University of South Carolina

FIU College of Business

University of California, Berkeley

Rutgers University - Newark

Temple University

NYU Stern School of Business

GW School of Business

DePaul University

USC Marshall

Northeastern University

University at Buffalo

University of Texas at Dallas

University of Michigan

Seton Hall University

St. John’s University

University of Central Arkansas

Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Park University

University of Scranton

California State University, Sacramento

Dallas Baptist University

University of Chicago

Wright State University

Tulane University of Louisiana

Kent State University

Saint Louis University

Ashland University

Keiser University

Fordham University

University of California, Los Angeles

Mercy University

Duke University

Tiffin University

University of Hartford

City University of Seattle

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How we rank schools

This list focuses on programs that are specifically geared for those who want to function at an international level in the business world. All of these programs lead to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in international business.

These programs have been accredited by organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Accreditation ensures that professors and curricula have been benchmarked against the highest standards.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From an MBA in International Business Program?

An MBA in international business prepares students for the global business landscape by offering all-encompassing training in cross-border commerce, international finance, and global marketing strategies. Generally taking 18 months to two years to complete, these programs examine subjects like international trade laws, cultural sensitivity in business, and global supply chain management, ensuring graduates are well-prepared to navigate international markets.

Many programs enhance learning through practical experiences, requiring students to engage in international internships or shadowing opportunities. This hands-on approach allows students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, fostering a deeper understanding of global business operations and practices. Such immersive experiences expand professional networks and cultivate adaptability and insights into the complexities of conducting business across cultures and regulations, positioning graduates for success in a globally interconnected economy.

Potential courses you’ll take in an MBA in international business program

  • Global Financial Management: This course delves into the complexities of financial planning, asset management, and investment strategies in an international context. Students learn how currency fluctuations, cross-border investment risks, and global financial regulations influence economic decisions in multinational corporations.
  • International Marketing Strategies: Students explore the nuances of marketing across different countries and cultures, including strategies for entering new markets, adapting products and marketing communications to local preferences, and navigating global digital marketing trends. The course emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity and local consumer behavior in creating effective international marketing plans.
  • Cross-Cultural Management: This course focuses on the challenges and strategies for managing diverse teams in a global business environment. It covers leadership across cultures, conflict resolution, and motivational strategies for international teams, preparing students to lead effectively in a multicultural setting.
  • Global Supply Chain and Operations Management: In this course, students learn about the complexities of managing supply chains that span multiple countries — including logistics, supplier management, and the impact of global trends on supply chain efficiency. It covers strategies for optimizing global operations, reducing costs, and improving sustainability in international supply networks.

MBA in International Business Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an MBA in international business degree program?

To apply for an MBA in international business, start by preparing your application packet, which typically includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • A minimum GPA, usually of 3.0
  • Letters of recommendation from professional or academic references
  • A personal statement outlining your career goals and reasons for pursuing the degree
  • GMAT or GRE scores, as required by many programs

Don’t hesitate to reach out to an admissions counselor early in the process. They can provide insights into application requirements and offer advice on strengthening your application, ensuring you present your best self to the admissions committee.

How much does an MBA in international business degree cost?

The cost for these degrees can vary widely by institution. The average graduate tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year was $19,749. However, students should also budget for additional expenses like books, living expenses, and potential travel for internships or coursework, especially in traditional programs. These costs can significantly increase the overall investment in your education.

It’s essential to speak with a financial aid counselor at your prospective schools to understand the total cost of attendance and explore financial aid opportunities that may help offset some of these expenses.

How long does it take to earn an MBA in international business degree?

Earning this degree takes 18 months to two years for full-time students, depending on the program’s credit requirements. Part-time enrollment, which allows students to balance their studies with a full-time job or family commitments, usually extends the completion to three or four years. The total number of required credits can significantly impact program length, with more extensive programs taking longer to complete.

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