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International Business graduates pursue international careers as sales managers, international marketers, human resources managers and more. Management is their main focus, but they also have talents specific to an international context. They speak at least two languages and have a high ‘cultural IQ’. They know about exchange risks, political uncertainty and about international differences in various fields, such as regulations and laws. They are sensitive to differences in customs and social norms, know how to adapt their management styles and can change the way they deal with their investors, suppliers and distributors.
Although there are various career opportunities for International Business experts, most find a career in large multinational companies. These multinationals are responsible for a major share of world
production and trade. They play a big role in the international diffusion of technological and managerial knowledge and are crucial as an employer of the local population, with all the responsibilities that this entails.
As a result, multinationals have to change their strategies to account for international differences. For instance, sometimes it is necessary to make adjustments to a product because consumer preferences are country-specific – the taste of Coca-Cola in the Netherlands is different from that in Nigeria: Customers only buy a product if its name appeals to them. Heineken beer is branded as such all over the world, but the same company now sells Amstel beer under many country-specific brand names. These are just a few examples of a broad range of issues that arise.
Is this the programme
International Business in Groningen is challenging and fast-paced. You need to be hard-working, have a good command of English and be able to understand mathematical expressions, quantitative research methods, and economics. Most importantly, however, you need to be deeply interested in the very broad range of issues that make doing business different from country to country. Learning from lecturers and fellow students from diverse nationalities is therefore essential.
What is International Business?
Bouwen met zoden
International, cross-cultural and smart
In some respects, we think and act like true global citizens. But do we know enough to advise firms about how to make the most of opportunities and respond to the challenges of internationalization? Will customers stop purchasing cheap clothing if they discover that it is produced by underpaid workers in overseas factories that do not meet safety regulations? How can the firm accommodate different national standards for the same product? What are the pros and cons of hiring local managers to run host-country operations, versus sending in expatriates?
Why do entrepreneurs often fail when trying to expand or start up a business in a different country or on another continent? Is it due to language problems, cultural differences or legal issues? What strategies can be adopted to minimize the chance of failure?