International Trade vs International Business – A Comparison You Must Know

In today’s globalised world, the demand for business professionals armed with a global perspective has never been greater.

Whether it is to coordinate a huge exchange of goods between different countries or move an entire business unit across the globe, international business and international trade are disciplines that are essential in today’s globalized order.

However, they are not the same and both disciplines can unlock a world of opportunities that could diverge quite greatly.

Thankfully, in this article, we will demystify for you the differences between international trade and international business to help you better decide the right course to pursue your degree in!

What Is International Business?

Pursuing a degree in International Business is about building the skills necessary for international business management. International business involves activities that take place beyond the geographical boundaries of a country.

For example, if Facebook decides to set up an office in China and starts an advertising business centred in Shanghai, that’s international business.

If an oil company in Saudi Arabia decides to buy and operate an oil field in Ontario, Canada, this is also considered international business.

International business includes the movement of goods, manpower, capital, technology, intellectual property and services. This also includes understanding international finance such as currency exchange risk as sales and receivables commonly involve foreign currencies.

Career Opportunities In International Business

As a graduate in international business, you’ll be equipped with the business savvy and skills to find employment across a spectrum of industries, especially in multinational companies that transcend borders.

Graduates will be able to find careers in financial services, retail management, manufacturing, management consultancy and technology.

These positions include:

  • Business management analyst
  • Research analyst
  • Marketing analyst
  • Financial trader
  • Supply chain manager

What Is International Trade?

International trade involves the exchange of goods between different countries in the world. Pursuing a degree in international trade will frame you as an expert in the cross-border trade of goods, both importing and exporting.

For example, if a gold refinery in Switzerland transports gold bars to China, that is considered international trade.

If a textile business in Vietnam ships its clothing to an international American brand based in New York, that is also international trade. While international trade is under the umbrella of international business, it has a more specialized scope that allows for more specific expertise to be developed.

Career Opportunities In International Trade

As a graduate in international trade, you will be equipped with a specific niche set of skills that makes you in high demand in many international trading, business and financial firms.

This can include international brokerages, commodity trading houses, international banks, transport carriers and international trade management companies.

These positions include:

  • Trading analyst
  • Trade support analyst
  • Trading operations executive
  • Financial trader
  • Freight analyst

Differences Between International Trade & International Business

While both international trade and international business sound exciting, they are quite different and could launch you in totally different trajectories should you pick one over the other.

International business is more comprehensive and covers all monetary dealings. Because it goes beyond just importing and exporting, there is a breadth of knowledge to be covered. The aim of international business is the effective management and running of a company overseas, to acquire resources, minimize risk and expand the business.

As such, you will be learning core subjects that include consumer behaviour, international economics and financial decision-making, strategic management and organizational behaviour. You will be equipped with the skills necessary to effectively assist, manage and grow a business cross-border.

However, for international trade, it revolves around the complex nature of international export and imports. The movement of goods can be very complex even though it has a narrower scope compared to international business.

This means you will be learning the intricacies of co-ordinating international trade as well as finding buyers and sellers for your goods, depending on which side of the trade you are in.

As such you will be learning global trade subjects including macroeconomics, microeconomics, business geography, statistics for analytics and international trade. You will gain the ability to help companies in their trading activities, to effectively export and import goods while maximizing margins.

Why Pursue A Degree In International Business Or International Trade

With fierce competition to enter some of the world’s biggest companies and the opportunity to work overseas, a degree in international business or international trade allows you to stand out from the crowd.

Multinational companies and trading firms require professionals that are not just numerically strong, they also need to have an international perspective coupled with the knowledge of how to drive business internationally.

As an individual and professional in this firm, you’ll develop an exciting career that could span across the globe. You’ll gain the ability to build an international career and interact with counterparties globally, further adding to your international perspective of business and trade.

This will enable you to easily network across the industry, allowing you to seamlessly add to conversations and easily integrate into a new environment. This is valuable in an industry that is fast-paced and graduates are expected to hit the ground running with minimal guidance.

With either degree, you can expect to launch a degree that has longevity, challenge and good remuneration. You’ll gain that extra edge against the competition and be more sought after compared to generic business graduates.

You’ll have a keen understanding of the commercial aspects of international business, the global macroeconomic trends and how best to interact with international counterparties to reach the best deal possible.

If you envision yourself working in a big corporation, conducting a large cross-border trade or building an overseas branch of a company, pursuing a degree in international business or trade is definitely the right career move.

Embark On Your International Business & Trading Career With SIM

Keen on taking the next step and start pursuing an exciting career in international business or international trade?

At SIM, our Bachelor of Science (Honours) International Business programme, awarded by the University of Birmingham and the Bachelor of Arts (International Trade), awarded by the University at Buffalo, are designed in consultation with employers and industry groups to provide you with the most relevant education in the respective field.

As the leading private education institution in Singapore, our lecturers demonstrate both professional and academic competence in the industry, ensuring you receive the very best learning experience possible.

It’s time to join an evergreen industry brimming with potential for you to develop a fulfilling career across various exciting roles.

The International Business Course is offered by the University of Birmingham. It is one of the top 100 universities in the world. It is also a top 21 university in the UK and a member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 UK research-intensive universities.

Learn more about the University of Birmingham’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) International Business programme today.

The International Trade Course is offered by the University at Buffalo. The institution is a Member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), engaged in the highest levels of research and dedicated to academic excellence.

Learn more about the University at Buffalo’s Bachelor of Arts (International Trade).

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