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Top 10 International Business Schools

Date Updated: November 3, 2020

Are you interested in understanding other cultures, learning a foreign language, and traveling around the world? If so, an international business degree might be for you.

International business programs focus on the global reach of business, giving learners a nuanced understanding of issues like managing international companies, strategies for global marketing, and global finance systems. Graduates qualify for a variety of well-paying careers with private, governmental, and nonprofit organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% growth for business and financial occupations from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. The BLS attributes the strong demand for business professionals to factors like globalization, complicated tax rules and business regulations, and increased use of data to understand customers. Potential careers for international business school graduates include management analyst, human resources manager, and budget analyst.

This page features a list of the 10 top international business schools. We explain what to expect from a bachelor's program and describe potential careers and salaries for international business graduates.

Top 10 International Business Bachelor's Programs

Rank School Location
1 University of South Carolina Columbia, SC
2 New York University New York, NY
3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
4 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
5 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA
6 Florida International University Miami, FL
7 Saint Louis University St. Louis, MO
8 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
9 Georgetown University Washington, DC
10 San Diego State University San Diego, CA

See Detailed Rankings

What Is International Business?

A degree in international business prepares learners for an exciting career traveling around the world or even living in a foreign country. Globalization has made international business an important and in-demand field. In the past, one country's economic decisions and actions did not necessarily impact others across the world. Today, each country's economy is tied to all of the others. Because the economy is global, companies and governments need professionals who understand how to do business in this context.

International business deals with everything related to commercial activities across borders. This includes the movement of goods and services from one country to another, creating and managing companies in foreign markets, and developing or deciphering contracts that let companies use services and products from other countries.

International business professionals understand how to approach people from different cultures and countries to make sure business activities run smoothly. Graduates work for private, public, and nonprofit organizations in roles like budget analyst, management analyst, and manager of training and development.

Studying international business provides insight into different areas of the world and how global markets work.

Many international business programs also require a foreign language and study abroad experience, offering good preparation for those who want to work abroad or travel to other countries as part of their career. The field often draws people who want to see the world.

Why Get a Bachelor's in International Business Degree?

Although completing an international business bachelor's degree takes time, effort, and money, it pays off. The best international business schools help students develop fundamental business skills and gain knowledge of global issues that prepares them for a variety of well-paying careers. Graduates also develop professional networks, make lifelong friends, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

  • Varied Career Opportunities: The skills and knowledge that students gain by earning an international business degree apply to many career paths and industries. Potential international business job titles include management analyst, budget analyst, and human resources manager.
  • High Salary Potential: International business careers typically pay much better than average. For example, training and development managers make an average salary of $113,350 annually, much more than the average annual salary for all workers of $39,810.
  • Interdisciplinary Education: International business majors study an interdisciplinary field, which lets them use very different skills and parts of their brain. Most international business programs draw from foreign language, political science, and business, giving students a unique integrative learning experience.

Ranking the Best International Business Schools

The ranking list below includes the best international business schools we could find. This helpful resource is a great starting place for prospective students figuring out their priorities when choosing an international business program. The best school for one person does not necessarily meet the needs of someone else. Only you can decide what program is right for you.

Our Methodology

You can rank international business programs in a variety of ways, but we use the following metrics for our list. Learn more at our methodology page.

  • 50% – Previously awarded accolades from top national syndicates
  • 25% – Course rigor
  • 25% – Student satisfaction with both education received and post-graduation career placement

1. University of South Carolina

Public university in Columbia, SC, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

The state's flagship postsecondary institution, UofSC in Columbia, acquired its first building in 1805. The school serves more than 35,000 students and features an endowment of $788 million.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in International Business

UofSC's school of business offers a BSBA in international business that emphasizes cross-border relationships. Students can add a second major in business with tracks in European business, South American business, Chinese business, and Middle East and North African business. The curriculum includes classes like international financial management, exporting and importing, foreign market entry and growth, and business in Latin America.

UofSC also offers a master's in international business and an international MBA for those who want to pursue graduate school.

Applying to UofSC

  • – Common App, Coalition Application, or UofSC application
  • – Minimum high school core course curriculum
  • – $65 application fee (waiver available)
  • – School report form
  • – Unofficial high school transcripts
  • – Supplemental materials

2. New York University

Private university in New York City, NY, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1831, NYU's 19 schools and colleges welcome more than 50,000 students from 133 countries. The school conducts about $1 billion in research annually.

BS in Business with a Concentration in Global Business

Students can pursue an interdisciplinary BS in business at NYU with a concentration in global business. The degree explores issues like the economics of global business, leadership, and organizational communication.

In their junior year, business majors complete an international studies program that includes a class business trip abroad. The curriculum also features a four-class social impact core that explores the effects of business on society. Business majors at NYU gain access to a variety of professional development opportunities with alumni, faculty, and prospective employers.

Applying to NYU

  • – Common App
  • – $80 application fee
  • – Teacher evaluation form
  • – School report
  • – Official high school transcripts
  • – Common App mid-year report
  • – Meet NYU's standardized testing requirements

3. University of Southern California

Private university in Los Angeles, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

The oldest private research university in Los Angeles, USC delivers more than $450 million in financial aid and scholarships to students annually.

BS in Business Administration and International Relations

USC's school of business offers a BS in business administration and international relations in partnership with the School of International Relations. The program provides a foundation in business fundamentals while emphasizing international issues. Students learn to apply business skills to address global, commercial, civic, and political problems.

The curriculum includes courses like data sciences and operations, management and organization, and business communication. The business school offers more than 250 business elective courses. Enrollees also gain access to a center for entrepreneurial studies and an experiential learning center.

Applying to USC

  • – Common App
  • – USC writing supplement
  • – ACT/SAT scores
  • – Official high school transcripts
  • – Letter of recommendation
  • – Midyear report of grades

4. University of Pennsylvania

Private university in Philadelphia, PA, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A private Ivy league school in Philadelphia, Penn's history dates back to before the Declaration of Independence, with a founding date of 1740.

International Studies and Business Dual BA Program

Penn's business program offers dual undergraduate degrees in international studies and business, emphasizing experiential learning. The curriculum combines liberal arts, business fundamentals, and foreign language. Enrollees live together on campus in the Kings Court/English College House for their freshman year.

The curriculum covers business fundamentals, leadership, and the global economy. The program also includes a study abroad semester, during which learners practice their foreign language and concentration area knowledge. A senior capstone requires students to complete a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member from the Wharton Business School or the School of Arts and Sciences.

Applying to Penn

  • – Common App or Coalition Application
  • – Penn-specific essay
  • – Official high school transcripts
  • – Counselor recommendation
  • – School report
  • – Academic teacher evaluations
  • – Midyear report
  • – Final report

5. University of California, Berkeley

Public university in Berkeley, CA, accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Established in 1868 as the first land-grant university in the state, UC Berkeley boasts 184 academic departments and programs, and eight Nobel prizes held by current faculty.

Global Management Bachelor's

The global management bachelor's from UC Berkeley's school of business combines project-based travel opportunities with foundational business courses. The curriculum emphasizes quantitative skills, business knowledge, leadership and language skills, and a global perspective. Students begin their freshman year studying in London, returning for the spring semester at Berkeley with a cohort of global management classmates.

The four-year program offers classes like entrepreneurship to address global poverty, international consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises, brand management and strategy, and negotiation and conflict resolution.

Applying to UC Berkeley

  • – UC application
  • – $70 application fee
  • – Meet minimum high school course requirements
  • – Hold a minimum 3.0 GPA in required high school courses
  • – SAT/ACT scores
  • – Supplemental essay for global management program
  • – Possible virtual interview for global management program

6. Florida International University

Public university in Miami, FL, accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Florida's only public research university, FIU holds the highest research activity ranking from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. One of the biggest universities in the U.S., FIU serves nearly 54,000 students.

Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business

The 120-credit BBA in international business from FIU's undergraduate school of business covers global trade, cross-border financial and legal issues for multinational corporations, and marketing strategies for the international market. The university offers the BBA online or in person, and international business majors can apply for financial aid and scholarships.

Students take classes like international marketing, international financial management, Asian financial markets and institutions, and trade policy and business. The business career management office helps students find internships and develop career plans.

Applying to FIU

  • – SAT/ACT scores
  • – Apply for financial aid
  • – FIU application
  • – $30 application fee
  • – High school transcripts
  • – Residency documentation

7. Saint Louis University

Private university in St. Louis, MO, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

A private Jesuit Catholic university founded in 1818, SLU serves nearly 13,000 learners. The SLU community participates in more than 1.6 million community service hours annually.

International Business BS

SLU's school of business boasts an international business BS that provides a holistic foundation in global business with opportunities for internships, student activities, and special events. The school encourages learners to study abroad, with opportunities for semester-long or shorter one- to two-week global immersion experiences.

The curriculum includes a business capstone during the last semester of the program. The international business degree takes four years to complete and is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Applying to SLU

  • – SLU application or Common App
  • – High school diploma or its equivalent
  • – ACT/SAT (optional)
  • – Apply for financial aid and scholarships

8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Public university in Ann Arbor, MI, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission)

Founded in 1817, U-M features more than 275 academic programs. Michigan's athletics program includes 29 NCAA Division I teams and more than 900 student athletes.

BBA with an International Studies Minor

The 120-credit BBA with an international studies minor from Michigan's business school takes four years to complete. The program features hands-on learning experiences that let students start, invest in, advise, and lead real businesses. The curriculum includes classes like entrepreneurial management, social venture funds, and living business leadership experience. Business majors complete an entrepreneurship practicum in their final semester.

The program offers opportunities to join a business-focused student club, help organize a student-led conference, and manage a student-run investment fund. Business majors can also enroll in a global student experience to live and work abroad.

Applying to Michigan

  • – Common App or Coalition Application
  • – Select preferred admission for the school of business
  • – Four essays
  • – Admissions portfolio
  • – $75 application fee
  • – Counselor recommendation
  • – School report
  • – One letter of recommendation
  • – Standardized test scores

9. Georgetown University

Private university in Washington, D.C., accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit postsecondary institution in the U.S. The university emphasizes education of the whole person, offering 350 student organizations.

International Business Bachelor's

Georgetown's international business degree teaches students to apply business skills in global and cross-cultural contexts. The program offers two majors: regional studies or international political economy and business.

The regional studies option lets learners explore the economics and politics of a chosen region. The international political economy and business major focuses on the global context of international business and requires an internship or study abroad experience. The curriculum includes classes like global financial institutions, business government relations, and marketing across borders.

Applying to Georgetown

  • – Georgetown application
  • – $75 application fee
  • – Alumni interview
  • – Application supplement
  • – Secondary school report
  • – Teacher's recommendation
  • – Midyear report
  • – SAT/ACT scores
  • – SAT subject test scores

10. San Diego State University

Public university in San Diego, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

A public research university, SDSU serves more than 35,000 learners. Founded in 1897, SDSU is among the oldest universities in California.

International Business BA

SDSU's Fowler College of Business and College of Arts and Letters jointly offer the interdisciplinary international business BA program. The degree incorporates business administration, regional/cultural studies, and a foreign language. International business majors qualify for several program-specific scholarship opportunities and general financial aid through SDSU.

The program offers extensive hands-on learning opportunities, including a full semester of study abroad and a semester-long internship. Learners can also participate in extracurricular activities like the International Business Society, more than 20 business student organizations, and language clubs.

Applying to SDSU

  • – Cal State Apply application
  • – $70 application fee
  • – Successfully complete high school college preparatory courses
  • – High school GPA
  • – Preparation towards indicated area of study
  • – Unofficial high school transcripts
  • – Social security number and citizenship status

What to Expect From International Business Programs

Specific program details for what to expect from a bachelor's degree in international business vary by school. Most programs take four full-time years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated options that take less time. The typical bachelor's in international business degree requires 120 credits and includes general education, major, and elective/concentration courses.

Many programs require internships, study abroad experiences, and capstones. Some international business programs offer area concentrations and/or require majors to choose a foreign language.

Admission requirements for international business school include a high school diploma or its equivalent and completion of college preparatory coursework. Some universities require applicants to meet GPA and SAT/ACT test score minimums. Many colleges use Common App, a website enabling prospective students to apply to multiple schools at the same time after filling out one general application. Some programs require applicants to submit supplementary materials, like extra essays or letters of recommendation, in addition to completing the Common App.

International Business Degree Options

Schools offer the following types of international business bachelor's degrees: bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of science (BS), and bachelor of business administration (BBA). Below, we explain the unique features of each degree type.

  • BA in International Business: A BA in international business provides a foundation in the liberal arts and emphasizes critical thinking. Graduates qualify for a variety of jobs across industries. Students interested in applying for jobs both in and outside of business should consider a BA.
  • BS in International Business: A BS in international business requires a lot of mathematics and hard science coursework, while focusing on the major. This degree prepares students to go directly into a career in international business. BS programs often offer internships and other career development opportunities.
  • BBA in International Business: A BBA in international business is a career-focused degree that emphasizes practical international business skills and knowledge. This degree provides good preparation for those who plan to go to graduate school to earn a master of business administration (MBA). A BBA is also a great option for those who want to go directly into a career in international business.

Popular Bachelor's in International Business Courses

International business schools typically offer core, foundation, and elective courses. Many programs also require internships, study abroad experiences, and capstone/practicum courses. The specific classes available vary by program, but typical courses explore issues like global marketing, business communication, cross-border relationships, and the global economy. Below, we describe some common international business classes.

  • International Marketing: This course explores marketing from a global perspective, looking at issues like foreign trade practices, business customs in other countries, and multinational businesses. Students learn about market entry strategies, global pricing and distribution, and international promotion and negotiation.
  • Business Communication: Learners study the practices and principles of effective business communication. This core course looks at strategies for planning, developing, and communicating business information in a variety of business environments in the global economy.
  • Global Economics: This class investigates international finance and trade and the economic principles underlying them. Students explore regional trade agreements, exchange rate determination, balance of payments, and international adjustment. The course also looks at tariffs, trade policies for developing countries, and international banking.
  • Doing Business in Latin America: Students in this course receive an introduction to the challenges and benefits of conducting business in Latin America. The class looks at cultural, economic, and political issues that impact doing business in Latin American countries.
  • Export and Import Management: This course provides an introduction to a major component of global trade, exporting and importing. Students learn to calculate import and export prices, understand buyer and seller obligations, and how to classify products and pay duty.

What Jobs Can International Business Degrees Get You?

Graduates of international business school programs hold in-demand business skills and a nuanced global perspective applicable to nearly any industry and a variety of jobs. For those who earn a degree in international business, salary potential varies by position, employer, and years of experience. Earnings also fluctuate by region.

Workers with international business jobs typically earn good money, from $63,790 for market research analysts to as much as $116,720 for human resources managers. Earning a master's degree or pursuing additional training or certifications can open the door to even better career opportunities in international business.


Budget Analysts

Budget analysts help organizations create budgets and manage their finances. They review budget proposals, make recommendations, monitor spending, and review funding requests. Industries employing budget analysts include federal, state, and local governments; education; and professional and technical services. Budget analysts need strong numerical, communication, and analytical skills.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): 3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $76,540

Management Analysts

Management analysts help organizations become more efficient and increase profits. Typical job duties include analyzing financial data, creating solutions, making recommendations to managers, and interviewing members of an organization to identify ways to improve efficiency. Typical job duties vary by project, and many management analysts work as consultants.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): 11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $85,260

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts help companies figure out what types of products and services people want to buy. They conduct consumer research, analyze data, write reports, and make recommendations to companies. Most work for consulting services. Market research analysts need at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's or certification can lead to better job opportunities.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): 18%
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,790

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers coordinate administrative issues for their organizations. They work in nearly every industry. Human resources managers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some high-level positions require a master's degree. Common job activities include planning employee benefit programs, interviewing prospective employees, and mediating disputes between staff members.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): 6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $116,720

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers coordinate training and education programs for employees of organizations. They create training budgets, review training materials, evaluate training programs, and teach training techniques. They often work with managers from other departments of their organization. Training and development managers need a bachelor's, but may qualify for more positions with a master's degree.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): 7%
  • Median Annual Salary: $113,350

Choosing Between International Business Programs

A rankings list provides a great place to start, but students should consider other factors when choosing an international business program. See below for some issues to think about before you make your decision.

  • Make sure to find out if your school is regionally accredited. Attending an unaccredited school makes it much more difficult to get financial aid, transfer credits, and qualify for graduate school. The best international business schools also hold programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.
  • How long does it take to earn your international business degree? Most programs take around four years to complete, but some programs offer accelerated options.
  • What types of extracurricular activities matter to you? Do you want to join a student business club or attend sporting events on the weekends? Find out what your prospective school offers.
  • Do you value attending a prestigious international business program? Earning a degree from a school with a good reputation can sometimes make it easier to find internships or land a job after graduation.
  • Do you qualify for admission to the program? What types of admission materials and test scores does the school require?

Should I Get My Degree Online?

Earning an international business bachelor's degree online offers flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Most distance education programs offer courses asynchronously, allowing learners to log in to a virtual classroom, watch recorded lectures, and participate in discussion forums anywhere and anytime. This flexibility gives degree-seekers the freedom to keep working, take care of family, and do other things that might otherwise be difficult to fit around a typical college schedule.

Online learners can save money by finding programs that charge a discounted or in-state tuition rate to distance students. They may also avoid paying some student fees and save on the cost of commuting or living on campus. Distance learners who work full time can reduce their reliance on student loans and graduate with less debt than those attending a traditional in-person program.

Taking classes online does not require advanced technology skills, but distance learning does require self-motivation and the ability to complete work independently. Only you can decide if an online degree is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of jobs are there for international business majors?

Potential jobs for international business majors include human resources manager, management analyst, and marketing analyst. Other possibilities include budget analyst and training and development manager.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in international business?

A bachelor's degree in international business typically takes four years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated online programs that let students take more credits each semester to finish more quickly.

What can I do with a degree in international business?

Graduates of international business programs qualify for a variety of globally focused business careers. A degree in international business also prepares students to pursue a graduate degree in business.

Is international business a good major?

International business is a good major for students interested in global issues related to business. Students typically gain foundational business skills, a knowledge of international relations, and proficiency in another language. Graduates qualify for a variety of well-paying careers.

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