International Business Concentration
Preparing Students for Global Careers
An international business concentration prepares you to conduct business across borders in a variety of situations. Often combining some training in language and other business areas, graduates will be able to manage business relationships that are central to the global business environment.
We also offer a minor in international business.
Who Should Study International Business?
- I like to work with many types of people
- I want to use my interest in foreign cultures
- I like the challenge of getting people together across cultures to pursue common goals
- I enjoy working with complicated programs and situations to find solutions
Why should I study international business?
Even as the idea of globalization is under challenge, the necessary skills to manage both collaborative and adversarial relationships in international business remain essential. Rather than a simple global story where products are similar and low-cost production dominates, we live in a world of substantially increased complexity. Thus the skills of a person trained to handle that complexity of international business will continue to be valuable, even as they are used in different situations and for different organizational goals.
How do I apply to the international business program?
You apply for the international business program at the same time you apply for admission to the College of Business and Economics. Please visit the CBE website at the following link for the application form and instructions.
The college has pre-major advising for all programs in the college. Visit the following website to get more information about our advising system.
What will I learn?
- I will put my basic Western liberal education to good use in a business context
- I will attain the same basic functional skills as any business graduate
- I will learn how to integrate those functional skills with international business conditions to solve problems in international markets
- I will be exposed to the way functional areas like economics, marketing, or even political science view the international stage
What can I experience outside of IBUS classes?
- An international experience (language, internship, or study abroad)
- Optional international market research classes with real, local Northwest companies
- The possible combination of my IBUS training with another major or minor
- The International Business Network Club (IBN)
- Interact with alums, international experts, and IBUS student colleagues
What job opportunities are open to me with my International Business training?
- Management of international relationships between firms
- Supply chain management
- Combination with a speciality graduate degree (law school, public administration, analytics)
- Work for an internationally active firm or organization
See What Alums are Saying
My favorite class in the IBUS program was the one where we worked directly with local companies to help develop a strategy to get into a foreign market because it gave you contacts for the future.
Sr. PM, Strategic Programs, Software Supply Chain Security, Amazon Web Services
Study Abroad, Japan
The International Business program at Western engages and challenges its students to analyze and resolve real business challenges that are very relevant in today's globalized economy.
Principal PM Manager, Microsoft
Study Abroad, Uruguay
I feel like I received a rounded education. I think the greatest thing is that I am interested in continuing to learn outside the classroom, especially when it comes to international issues.
Senior Program Manager, Asia and Eurasia Region, Americares
Study Abroad, Finland
What Do the Professors Say?
Plan of Study
Please download the Planning Sheet to help organize your schedule. The IBUS Student Advice has a lot of information that reflects the experiences of students in the program. Since the program has a lot more options than many other programs, it can be a good idea to meet with your faculty advisor to help you consider multiple options. This will also allow you to finish your degree in a timely manner. The department officer manager can often be of help as well, especially on scheduling challenges.
Study Abroad is managed by the Institute for Global Engagement. Visit their site for more information on the application process. Scroll down to ‘Studying Abroad’ and click on the various links to get information on their one hour Western Abroad 101 orientation.
To find locations that offer business and economics courses, visit the following site: https://studyabroad.wwu.edu/map/international-business
General University Requirements (GUR)
For those considering Western or who are in the early stages in a program of study-
You should try to pick GUR’s that have international content when possible. Here you will find suggestions on courses that will satisfy the liberal arts breadth, and still connect to your future major in international business. Remember that ECON 206, ECON 207, and MGMT 271 count toward your GUR requirements and your business degree.
It is important to think of the GUR’s as an integral part of the overall program of study for a College of Business and Economics degree. Western’s commitment to a liberal arts education is an important advantage to you as a business student. But it is also important to think about how to best select from the wide variety of available courses the courses most appropriate for an international business program student. Courses in the liberal arts can be important for their own sake, but careful selection from the menu can provide important support for the business classes you will take as you progress through the program.
Each program in the College of Business and Economics builds on the experience of your liberal arts education in different ways, so it is important to understand how you can build an appropriate foundation for your business degree as you work through the GUR requirements. For international business, there are several important goals to keep in mind that will help you select GUR courses.
For students who want to specialize in international business.
1) Learn as much about other cultures as you can, even if you don’t plan to study that particular culture. Learn to compare different cultures against your own, and with each other.
Rationale: You have already learned a lot about US culture (except for foreign students), so you should take every opportunity to add knowledge of different cultures, history and maybe even art. Comparative courses can be helpful.
2) Begin or further strengthen any language skills that you have.
Rationale: Language takes a long time to do well. Since so many people speak languages well nowadays, you need to take as much language as you can if you want to work in non-English speaking countries. Recruiters like to see a lot of language, because it shows you can work in a disciplined way. When you study abroad, the more language you have ahead of time, the better your experience will be. Don’t wait to study language abroad. Of course, language is not the only way to learn about other cultures, but it helps.
3) Take courses that require to make sense of complicated issues, and come up with your own opinions and express them well.
Rationale: The most challenging and rewarding jobs in international business require you to assess a complex situation and find a solution that is better than others, not a perfect one. Much of your business school training will of necessity be the acquisition of tools, where perfection is the goal. But perfection is seldom possible in international business, and people who can deal with that uncertainty and come up with resourceful alternatives will prosper. Many GUR’s allow for this, so be willing to take courses that are a bit ‘messy’ and require you to critically evaluate information and ideas.
Consistent with these goals for International Business Students
No business school professor can be knowledgeable about all of the GUR alternatives. This list is suggestive, to give you some idea of the kinds of courses that might contribute to the goals stated above. In any given term, there may be many other courses that meet the goals, but some guidance, we feel, is helpful
COMM 101 Fundamentals of Speech
Modern and Classical Languages 103, 104, 201
PHIL 107 Logical thinking
Comparative Gender and Multicultural
Choose anything in Block A Better to take courses in your world area of interest Block B (one course) ANTHRO 104 American Mosaic Choose a course about Americans from the part of the world you are interested in (e.g.: Asian American for Asia; Hispanic for Latin America)
Modern and Classical Languages at second year level (only European, unfortunately) Classes in Global Literature Class in Literature in your geographic area of interest
Consider Environmental courses, since these issues are going to be important for international business.
Computer Skills are important, so a basic programming class to develop literacy is a good use of this kind of GUR. PHIL107 Logical thinking Students thinking of combining finance or economics with IB should take conventional math classes.
You will be able to take MGMT271, ECON 206 and ECON 207 to satisfy this requirement. BUT, you may want to consider adding another course under electives that broadens your social science exposure. The following courses seem logical candidates
ANTH201 Cultural Anthropology ANTH247 Language and Culture PSY341 Psychology and Culture C/AM 201 Introduction to Canadian Studies PLSC 101 Government and Politics in the Modern World PLSC271 Introduction to International Relations EGEO312 Economic Geography (If you don’t plan to study abroad, this EGEO312 course can do double duty as a 300 level social science course in the IB program. Note the EGEO 201 prerequisite is waived for IB students)
Applying for Graduation
When you are ready to apply for graduation email the Department of Management Department Manager to request a Major Evaluation. Please include your Student W#.
There is no need to first consult your faculty advisor before requesting your Major Evaluation from the department. The Department Manager, not your advisor, approves your Major Evaluation needed to graduate. Faculty advisors are available if needed for help planning remaining coursework.
After the department reviews and completes your Major Evaluation in Degree Works, they will notify you via email that you can turn in your Degree Application to the Registrar's office, using the link below. Please keep in mind during busy times it may take up to 10 working days for Major evaluations to be completed.
When you submit the required Degree Application Form to the Registrar's office, they will bill your student account for the required application fee.