Friday, November 25, 2011

What Careers Are Available With a Major in International Business?

Do you love to travel? Are you fascinated by exotic cultures, people whom are different from you, foreign languages and world customs? If so, you may be the ideal candidate for a college degree in International Business.
Students who are interested in an International Business college degree should enroll in a specialized degree training education program at a college or school. This program should consist of focused courses and hands-on training classes that prepare students for a successful career.
International business is a term used to collectively describe any topic or subject that relates to the operation and function of organizations that are involved or located in several different countries. These organizations are often called multinational corporations.
Popular examples of multinational companies are Toyota, McDonald's, LG, Verizon Wireless, Siemens, Yahoo, Sprint, Google, Hyundai, Dell, Microsoft, L'Oreal, Revlon and Honda. Such companies usually possess an interest or subsidiary over another company in the country of venture. International business is powerfully impacted by the political, socio-economic, cultural, global and legal environmental standards of individual countries. Globalization has also greatly contributed to the increasing success of 
international businesses.

Laws, regulations and standards of living can differ substantially in a multitude of countries. A person who wishes to work professionally with international clients must address issues like language barriers, cultural differences, climate changes, business practice variations and many other potential conflicts.
A college education in international business will focus on business studies courses, general studies classes and cultural awareness training programs. College degree programs provide students with training in information technology, international studies and business management. Students will develop in-depth skills that utilize business strategies and intelligent techniques in an international context. They will also acquire a general liberal arts education that will eventually lead to the development of a well-rounded, knowledgeable and worldly business leader. The program will also include basic courses that address the economic aspect of business.
Why do some college degree programs incorporate a liberal arts approach to the areas of international politics and culture? Many colleges believe that this type of knowledge can dramatically improve a person's cultural understanding. These programs survey the dynamics and various aspects of the global business setting. They focus on the international economic, historical, political and cultural foundations of the modern business climate, ideal multinational corporate functions and the general successful management of a corporation in an international environment.
There are many paths that a student can take with a degree in international business. A graduate can explore the fields of importing and exporting tangible goods, foreign banking, world-servicing nonprofit organizations and international business empires. By pursuing an education in international business, a student can:
  • Explore business practices, ideals, standards and laws in an international or multicultural setting
  • Familiarize oneself with the legal practices and procedures of various cultures and countries
  • Grow knowledgeable in the areas of international business that are constantly evolving or changing
  • Learn about cultural differences that may strongly impact an international relationship among clients
Are you excited earning an International Business Bachelor's Degree? Contact us today to schedule a Potomac College tour or visit our website to see the Bachelors & Associate Degrees available at Potomac College.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

International Business Organization Development Factors For Consideration

International Business Organization
Export/International business can take on many challenges as it unfolds. Goal should be to construct the company's strategic building blocks, using it's assets to support international opportunities. The outline is formatted from a more basic approach, increasing through stages of complexity. There will be points below that overlap and dovetail. Some corporations may have already touched on many of these points. The examples below are geared toward the food/protein industries. Nevertheless, the concepts are transferable to many others. Below are organizational ideas for consideration:
I. International Business Unit Establishment- Create P&L. 
A. Budget to encompass 3-5 key trade shows and conferences that support the geographic strategy.

- Restaurant Chain Shows (Subway, McDonalds, etc.)- Important shows that demonstrate a company's willingness to globally expand with the chains.
- Distributor Shows.
- Trade organization conferences. Provide key insights to new emerging markets and trends i.e., USMEF, USDEC, etc.
B. Forecasting- By product category and market to determine business profitability.
C. Expenses- Identify expenses against the business. Be fiscally prudent.
II. Geography- Are the most immediate markets being efficiently addressed by export? Begin with the immediate opportunities i.e., target nearest or import friendly international geographic markets.
A. Canada-
B. Mexico-
C. Caribbean-
D. Domestic Exporters-
III. Export Product Portfolio- Product's export potential? What are the popular US items sold? Using meat products as an example:
A. Pork- More than likely highest export potential.
B. Poultry- Certain drawbacks (Avian viruses), but often has the necessary price points for market entry.
C. Beef- Still questionable into many overseas markets (BSE). Slowly improving.
D. Other- Veal and lamb offer the specialty items often sought in many of the smaller boutique markets i.e., Caribbean. Should be a high margin opportunity?
IV. Utilize and maximize current customer base. Grow internationally with domestic customers.
A. Chains- What chains are currently being serviced (i.e., McDonalds)? What are the int'l springboard applications of those chains?
B. Distributors- GFS,US :: GFS, Canada; Sysco, US :: Sysco, Canada...Sysco, Export 
C. Schools- Offer products supplied to the US to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam have same requirements.

D. Retail.
V. Expand Geography- Be first in emerging markets. Chains, trade organizations and trade shows will assist in breaking into new venues.

A. Australia, open to US pork imports. US plants must be Australian approved.
B. Brazil and Argentina- as economies improve, so should pork imports.
C. Middle East- Israel.
D. Asia- SE Asia, Latin America.
VI. Product adaptation-
A. A commitment to international product customization. Overcome import non-tariff barriers through product modification.
B. As point "A" is evaluated, determine volumes and pricing with the customer completing the value proposition.
C. New protein introduction- Growing US Hispanic community looking to satisfy traditional diets i.e., goat. US ranchers begin to emerge from their traditional ranching habits to fill a consumer need. Shift creates new export opportunities.
D. Profit Margin/Revenue Growth- Theoretically, there is no competition for custom production and margins should reflect business value.
VII. Resource utilization-
A. R&D efforts to meet a qualified opportunity. Example, a 51% breaded product can be exported to Canada vs. a product with less than 50% breading.
B. Account Managers- Joint calls on corporate to further support the chains international expansions.
Distributor Managers- Joint calls in evaluating immediate opportunities extending across borders. 
C. School Managers- Joint calls in US territories to expand and maximize product presence.

VIII. International Partnership Arrangements. Partnering/Joint Ventures with like businesses overseas. Some ideal targets are Japan, Australia, Mexico, China. Key defining terms...product novelty, business profitability, uniqueness, pricing, product demand, market distribution, language understanding, product understanding. If there is a commitment from an overseas manufacturer who understands the product/species, but lacks certain manufacturing capabilities, a partnership should be suggested.
A. Responsibility considerations :
o Raw Material Hedge
o Currency Hedge
o Brokerage Agreement
o Time lines
o Production Capacity
o Legal contract/Export Insurance
B. Partner's Responsibilities:
o Volume Projections
o Co-Pack Agreement
o QA Plant Approval
o End User Presentations
o Stand-by Letter of Credit/Purchasing Contract
o Exclusivity
o Currency Hedge
o Other product opportunities
Notice currency hedge may fall under both and is open for negotiation. It depends on relationship's strength. Many times it should be for the account of the partner. An exception may be made to consummate the deal, or as a long term service insuring a yearly contract renewal.
IX. Licensing- Often used as a barometer in evaluating potential opportunities and minimizing immediate risks.
A. Brand Licensing- What is the true value of a certain brand in an international market? Would be determined by the partner company in that country.
Example. What was the value of the Parkay brand in Canada? Became the second best Canadian margarine brand. Produced by Parmalat in Canada. Brand was licensed by ConAgra US.
B. Technology- Minimizes capital overseas investment, while transferring US production technology.
X. Mergers and Acquisitions- Up to this point a corporation may be supplying and evaluating their export potential. Simultaneously, it should be considering the business worthiness of certain key markets. Ultimately, it may consider investment in those markets.
A. Partnership/JV company may be ripe for buy-out.
B. Margin potential internationally warrants an acquisition for corporate diversification purposes. 
C. Many similarities i.e., language, business culture, profitability, increased product demand from growing middle class, business supporting political environment.

D. Overcome stringent food import barriers i.e., EEC. Example- Companies have improved international exposure, opening manufacturing plants within the EEC. An example has been the recent purchase of Sara Lee European brands by Smithfield.
XI. Summary- These idea compilations are based on 20 years of international business experiences with four major corporations and an MA in International Business. No one size fits all. The outline can be used to build new profitable opportunities that may not otherwise have been realized or fully exploited.
RICHARD J. PORWIT has been an International Sales and Business Director with extensive food and CPG experience, including new product development, market growth, profit and loss accountability in retail, food service and business to business markets. Consistently known for exceeding set goals, division turn arounds, with cross-functional team leadership in customized product development. Recognized for ability to establish and expand international markets in Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, and the Middle East.
Sales Management and Business Development Strengths are: 
• Building Customer-Centric Relationships 
• New Product Development 
• Food service development and management of distributors and brokers
• Retail brand establishment and marketing focused on value-added brand attributes
• ROI Based Decision Making 
• Strategic Planning with executional excellence

International Business Schools Provide Exciting Opportunities

The concept behind international business schools is to prepare students to manage global businesses with an understanding of worldwide business operations. Students have many degree options to choose from: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and doctorate (PhD) degrees. Students can learn international business accounting, marketing, management, administration, law, information systems, and much more.
Good training in international business often includes subjects related to principles and processes of exporting and importing, international sales, trade rules and regulations, foreign operations, international business policy, cultural relations and trade problems, legal issues, monetary issues, and applications of business in specific markets and specific countries.
Degree programs in international business (also called global business) can include development of real-world business skills, analysis of international trade and finance, policies and relations that affect business decisions, and the many challenges that face global and international marketplaces. The course should cover basic principles of financial management, policy and business applications, global significance of the Eurodollar, international finance models, developments in international financial arrangements, foreign exchange markets, and worldwide banking systems.

The growth of global commerce has increased the demand for business professionals who can develop effective strategies for entering into the world market. Business people are prepared to answer that need and to pursue positions as international sales representatives, international trade managers, global distribution managers, and many other exciting professions.
As U.S. firms expand their businesses abroad, many will need employees who have degrees in international business to advise them on legal matters of specific regions and countries, to direct organizational administrative issues, to supervise mergers, and to provide analytical data from marketing research.
Graduates can gain exciting opportunities to travel and work abroad, and to develop comprehensive knowledge of global businesses, languages, and foreign cultures. Incomes can be very satisfactory, with annual salaries beginning around $50,000, and soaring to hundreds of thousands per year for senior consultants, managers, and partners.
To learn more about schools for international business [http://www.schoolsgalore.com/categories/3/international_business_schools.html] and how they can help you succeed, search our website for business schools and colleges offering international or global business programs and contact them today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

International Business Etiquette

"To have respect for ourselves guides our morals; and to have a deference for others governs our manners." Lawrence Sterne, Irish novelist & satirist (1713 - 1768)
Etiquette, or good manners, is an important part of our day to day lives. Whether we realise it or not we are always subconsciously adhering to rules of etiquette. Much of the time these are unwritten; for example giving up your seat to a lady or elderly person, queuing for a bus in an orderly fashion according to who arrived first or simply saying "please" or "thank you". All are examples of etiquette; complex unwritten rules that reflect a culture's values.
Etiquette accomplishes many tasks. However, the one noteworthy function that etiquette does perform is that it shows respect and deference to another. By doing so it maintains good interpersonal relationships. Ultimately, it could be argued, etiquette is about making sure that when people mix together there are rules of interaction in place that ensure their communication, transaction or whatever it may be goes smoothly.
We all now how we or others feel when a lack of etiquette is shown. If someone jumps the queue, does not thank you for holding the door open for them or forgets to shake your hand, we naturally feel disrespected and perturbed.
International Business Etiquette
Keeping the above points in mind, now consider the complexities of working on the international stage. Modern business is global and demands people travel to foreign countries and mix with foreign clients, colleagues or customers. Each one of those cultures will also have their own etiquette rules, many of them unwritten. When two or more different cultures mix, it is easy for small etiquette mistakes to be made that could have negative consequences. Just as you may have felt annoyed when a foreign businessman did not shake your hands upon greeting you, imagine how your Chinese client must have felt when you wrote on his business card or your Indian colleague reacted when you flatly rejected an offer of a meal. Sometimes, not understanding the etiquette of another culture means you show a lack of manners and as Lawrence Sterne said, a lack of deference. This can and does lead to soured relationships, lost deals and in the end poor business results. Anyone working on the international stage needs to understand international business etiquette.
International business etiquette manifests in many shapes and sizes. Throughout the world people from different cultures have varying etiquette rules around areas such as personal space, communication, gift giving, food, business meetings and much more. For those wanting to make a good impression and understanding of international business etiquette is crucial. By way of introducing some of the key areas within international business etiquette we shall look at the following common areas...

Business Card Etiquette:
When you exchange business cards (even if you exchange them) do you simply pass it over and forget about it? In many countries the business card has certain etiquette rules. For example in the Arab world you would never give or receive a business card with your left hand. In China and Japan you should try and use both hands to give and receive. In addition it is always good etiquette to examine the card and make a positive comment on it. Whereas in the UK it may be OK to sling the business card into a pocket, in many countries you should always treat it with much more respect such as storing it in a business card holder.
The Etiquette of Personal Space:
How close do you stand to people? Is it impolite to touch somebody? What about gender differences? In the Middle East you may get very touchy-feely with the men, yet one should never touch a woman. A slap on the back may be OK in Mexico but in China it is a serious no-no. Touch someone on the head in Thailand or Indonesia and you would have caused great insult. Without an appreciation of international business etiquette, these things would never be known.
The Etiquette of Gift Giving:
Many countries such as China and Japan have many etiquette rules surrounding the exchange of business gifts. International business etiquette allows you an insight into what to buy, how to give a gift, how to receive, whether to open in front of the giver and what gifts not to buy. Great examples of gifts to avoid are anything alcoholic in Muslim countries, anything with four of anything in Japan and clocks in China.
The Etiquette of Communication:
Some cultures like to talk loudly (US and Germany), some softly (India and China); some speak directly (Holland and Denmark) others indirectly (UK and Japan); some tolerate interrupting others while speaking (Brazil) others not (Canada); some are very blunt (Greece) and some very flowery (Middle East). All will believe the way they are communicating is fine, but when transferred into an international context this no longer applies. Without the right international business etiquette it is easy to offend.
By way of conclusion we can state that etiquette helps maintain good relations with people. When dealing with people from a shared culture, everyone knows the rules and there is not much to think about. Those that lack etiquette are branded as uncouth and rude. However, this is not the same when working on the international stage. Someone may very well come across as being rude through a lack of etiquette but this may be because in their culture that behaviour is normal. As a result international business etiquette is a key skill for those wanting to be successful when working abroad. Through a great appreciation and understanding of others' cultures you build stronger and longer lasting business relationships.
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