Master’s in international business vs international business MBA

The trade industry supports over 40 million jobs in the United States, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But trade is just the tip of the iceberg—there are many other sects of international business that affect the livelihood of people and economies around the world. Those interested in careers in this field can have a substantial impact on our globalized marketplace, and, in order to do so, they must develop a dynamic and adaptable skillset.
master's in international business vs mba
In a recent interview, Gerard Penning, an HR executive for international conglomerate Shell, discussed some of the aspects of international business he looks for in job candidates, including trade and finance. Like Shell, many organizations seek professionals who can successfully coordinate business operations, as well as to identify new international opportunities.

A master’s in international business prepares students to think about operations, marketing, finance and other core functions on a global scale, but this is also one of the key objectives behind an MBA with a specialization in international business. The right option for you will depend significantly on how much flexibility you want to have in your career— for example, an MBA program will include foundational courses that allow you to develop expertise in all types of business, while a master’s in international business is more focused on global environments, trade and investment.


MBA vs. Master’s in International Business Salary

In deciding which degree is right for you, it’s helpful to consider the salary potential available to professionals who pursue an MBA or a Master’s in International Business. According to compensation platform PayScale, the average salary for MBA graduates is higher. MBA graduates make an average of $86,000 per year while graduates of a Master’s in International Business program make an average of $81,000 per year.


International Business MBA

Earning an MBA with a specialization in international business prepares students to be global leaders with a thorough understanding of cutting-edge trends in trade and investments as well as a strong foundation of business skills. When combined with coursework that explores global challenges, the international business MBA curriculum empowers graduates with deep business expertise that can be scaled to global operations.

An international business MBA offers coursework in international marketing, global management, comparative economy systems, international law and compliance and ethics in addition to core business classes related to financial, operations and marketing management.

This degree sets graduates up for success in both international and domestic leadership positions and it is this distinction that allows a more dynamic career and a wider range of professional growth options.

One of the key differentiators of an MBA with a specialization in international business is the focus on building communication and interpersonal skills. Softer skills like persuasion and collaboration are among LinkedIn’s most in-demand job skills in 2019. International business MBA programs help to build these skills through coursework that examines culture and business practices in different regions.

Lynn University’s pursue additional specializations in fields like financial valuation and investment management.


Master’s in International Business

Besides the fact that an international business MBA offers expertise in domestic and international leadership, the other major difference between an international business MBA and a master’s in international business is that the latter often has a stronger focus on cultural differences in the industry while the former covers the way business is handled in specific regions in addition to financial and marketing management.

Because these differences are often the focal point of the master’s in international business, not all of these programs cover business functions like finance and accounting to the same depth that an MBA program does. However, graduates will gain exposure to management styles and culture differences between different regions of the world, which can be assets in careers that involve international negotiation and trade.

Both programs prepare graduates for senior level positions at multinational and international organizations, but roles that require more functional business knowledge (e.g., Chief Financial Officer) or in certain industries like banking would be better suited for an international business MBA program.


What can you do with an international business MBA degree?

While the curricula for these programs can be similar, there are slightly different career outcomes between the two. As mentioned above, PayScale shows that the average salary for MBA graduates is over 6 percent higher than those with an international business degree. For example, both degree holders can fill the position of a senior analyst, but those with an MBA earn nearly 7 percent more per year than those with an international business degree.

Because the international business MBA has such a strong focus on managerial skills, these graduates often fill roles such as chief financial officers, project managers or human resource managers. However, because those with a master’s in international business focus so strongly on multicultural business skills, they’re excellent coordinators who fill roles such as implementation managers, technical advisors and sales directors.

With both degrees, it’s important to maintain a strong sense of multicultural business practices to remain cordial and respectful. In China, for example, it is not out of the ordinary to ask what Americans would perceive to be personal and unprofessional questions when making a business deal. On the contrary, German business professionals are likely to steer in the complete opposite direction, avoiding any personal life inquires to the point that might seem cold or standoffish to Americans.


Finding work-life balance while earning your one-year MBA

Regardless of what degree program is right for you, choosing a university that respects work-life balance is important.

The 100% online international business MBA program from Lynn delivers the highest quality education with the utmost flexibility at a competitive price. Ranked one of the best online MBA programs in Florida by U.S. News and World Report and the South Florida Business Journal, students can complete this specialized degree and reach their academic goals in as little as one year without ever having to take the GMAT or GRE exams.

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