International business is part of everyday life, no matter where you live. The products you use, the foods you eat and the clothes you wear are part of a vast global marketplace. Business is becoming even more international in scope, as organizations seek new markets for their products and services.
At the same time, the business environment is getting more competitive and complex. As a result, there may be growing demand for professionals with international business management expertise. Becoming an international management consultant offers the opportunity to combine business, travel and immersion with other cultures into one exciting career.
This career guide discusses the various aspects of the profession of international management consultant, including typical job duties, education and training requirements and potential salary ranges.
Job opportunities for management consultants, also known as management analysts, should expand faster than the average growth rate for all occupations in the coming years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Federal projections call for employment in this category to increase by 19% between 2012 and 2022, partly driven by the expansion of U.S.-based firms into international markets.
Candidates who have a graduate degree and foreign language fluency should have better employment opportunities, the BLS reports.
International management consultants help firms find or sustain success in overseas markets by analyzing the organization’s operations and proposing improvements. They focus on achieving objectives that contribute to growth and profits in a highly competitive environment. International management consultants may specialize in areas such as production, sales, distribution, purchasing, human resources or supply chain.
Firms seeking new markets abroad often need help in setting their strategies, navigating through new legal situations or interfacing with overseas partners. They depend on the expertise of international management consultants to help them take advantage of promising opportunities and achieve their business objectives.
Skilled international management consultants are valued for helping organizations become more efficient by reducing expenses, cutting waste, and developing successful sales and marketing strategies.
International management consultants may work alone or on teams. Their duties vary according to the employer and industry, but, in general, these professionals analyze a company’s operations and plans, determine feasibility and identify potential problem areas. They may be responsible for solving a particular problem by analyzing data, making observations and proposing recommendations.
Employers in a wide variety of industries – selling myriad products and services – depend on the skills and talents of international management consultants. They may be U.S.-based corporations or foreign firms with U.S. subsidiaries. International management consultants may be employed in industries such as petroleum, financial services, education, medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, software development, electronics, telecommunications, information technology, and manufacturing and distribution.
Specific qualifications for international management consultant jobs will vary based on the employer and industry. However, most hiring firms are likely to require a college degree at a minimum.
Some employers may seek candidates with advanced degrees, such as an MBA with a specialization in International Business. Graduates of such programs are expected to be able to.
Some firms and organizations may provide tuition assistance to employees seeking to advance their educational qualifications. Internships may provide students with valuable work experience in an international setting through exchange programs.
Achieving success as an international management consultant typically takes a combination of business acumen and leadership ability. It also requires a respect and appreciation for the contributions of other cultures to the economy and society at large. These professionals must also be flexible, resourceful and ready to adapt to changing situations.
Knowledge of a specific industry will be helpful when seeking positions and foreign language skills will likely be a requirement of many employers. A career in international business management also calls for knowledge of the global marketplace, and strong functional business skills in finance, accounting, marketing, information systems and trade laws. Employers will typically seek candidates with the following attributes:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for management analysts nationwide was $89,990 as of May 2013. The top 10% of earners had a yearly wage in excess of $145,000.
Because salary ranges can vary depending on the employer’s location and the candidate’s education and experience, prospective students should conduct independent research to gauge their earning potential.
If your career goals include working in business and you have a desire to make your mark on the global marketplace, you could be a great fit for an international management consultant career.