Business Is Global: Do Your International Business Skills Measure Up?

Business is global. Do your business skills match up? Learn how an Online MBA from SMU Cox will help you master your international business skills.

Hands raised with a graphic of a globe overlayed

This blog was originally published November 2019, and was revised April 2023.

Technology allows people to conduct business remotely, staying connected with associates whether they’re across town or time zones. The ease with which you can buy, sell, trade and transport goods and information across the globe is unprecedented. However, if you intend to succeed on the worldwide stage, you will need to build and refine a set of international business skills. It requires a solid foundation upon which you can relate to constituencies around the world in enterprising ways. It’s about knowing more than just the language and customs of people on the other end of an email chain. It’s about being able to communicate in a clear way, nurture a rapport built on trust and goals, and collaborate constructively to anticipate market needs in a changing global landscape.

Become Culturally Astute

To conduct business in good faith, parties must be on agreeable terms. One way to engage someone is through their values and traditions; their culture. From introductions to dress code to small talk, different aspects of business dealings may be done in ways that seem unusual to you but are completely acceptable in various parts of the world. Through intellectual curiosity and openness to diversity, you can help guide your organization toward achieving its global goals.

Clear Communication in a Foreign Language

The ability to communicate clearly is crucial to the success of any business. If there are misunderstandings, the consequences can be significant. Do your best to learn, understand and write in a foreign language, even at the most basic level. Mobile apps and immersive programs can help you learn some key words and phrases to conduct your business smoothly despite a language barrier. With some rudimentary language skills, you can conduct your business and build fluency from there. You’ll also want to avail yourself of skilled translation services. You may need to meet local business or government leaders, visit facilities and factories, and borrow from your knowledge of foreign cultures to understand global markets. The less language nuances, the better. In fact, studies show poor communication is one of the biggest reasons projects fail. SMU Cox values its alumni network for this reason: the career growth of our students goes beyond the classroom and into the global business world.

Network on a Global Scale

It’s very important to have an expanding network of professionals to turn to, whether it’s for lead generation or just plain old advice. For many, networking begins in business school among fellow students, professors, and alumni who understand many of the same challenges you face and how you may overcome those. Networking can be difficult for those who are introverted but putting yourself outside of your comfort zone can have big payoffs. The impact and value networking have on business is undeniable: more than 80 percent of jobs are filled through networking, and almost 100 percent of people agree face-to-face meetings are essential for a long business relationship.

Executive Leadership for a Global Business Strategy

Leaders aren’t all born that way; you can acquire leadership abilities as you grow professionally, especially if you pursue the above three skills. With a solid grasp on those, you can become a business leader on any continent. To be a good leader you need high-level skills like decisiveness and empathy, in addition to intricate knowledge of analytics, markets, marketing and corporate finance. This knowledge will bolster your leadership in the personal, interpersonal and organizational realms by immersing you in corporate strategy, introducing you to management and executives, and acquainting you with the full cycle of transactions.

The SMU Cox School of Business recognizes the challenges students face in the business world upon graduation and we are dedicated to preparing you to succeed as a business executive. With a tailor-made curriculum, world-renowned faculty, and the flexibility to take courses online at your convenience, the Online MBA program is ideal for those who seek to enhance their career or shift their career trajectory.

Our program is built on three foundational pillars: leadership, analytics, and experiential learning. Combined, these pillars provide the basis for good entrepreneurship: governance, finance, data interpretation, and management. This knowledge and experience will instill in you the acumen, interpersonal skills, and confidence to boldly address real-world issues and challenges. Request more information from SMU Cox today (or start your SMU Cox application, if you're ready) to learn about what it takes to become a well-rounded business leader.

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