The international business major is designed to provide students with the sound understanding of international business principles and the languages and cultures of other regions that are essential for success in today's global economy.

Students who major in international business must declare another major in business, as functional business skills such as accounting, marketing and finance are important for initial career placement and emphasized more in the early stages of business careers. International skills are generally utilized after mastering functional skills. Career opportunities include private firms with world-wide interests, government and international agencies and U.S. and foreign colleges and universities.

Students must choose a region of emphasis and select language and area studies courses accordingly. Currently, regional tracks are established for Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Studying abroad through the Wisconsin School of Business International Programs for one fall or spring semester in the selected region is required for the major.

Related Student Organizations


Study Abroad

Studying abroad for one semester through the Wisconsin School of Business International Programs is required for the International Business major. In addition to the required semester abroad, many students may also choose to take advantage of summer programs or short programs embedded in a course to gain additional international experience. Students are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad section to learn more about study abroad opportunities and to meet with their academic advisor to discuss course planning. Students can take a maximum of two courses in their major abroad (no limit to International Business courses). Other common course options abroad include core, breadth, and foreign language courses.

Q: How do I declare a major in international business?

A: Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business in order to declare a major in international business. Please visit our Admissions page for more information. Students indicate their intended major when they apply to the business school. If they are admitted, the major(s) indicated will be declared for them. Students may change their major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: How do I cancel the international business major?

A: Admitted business students may cancel their declared international business major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: What are common parallel plans related to international business?

A: Common parallel plans that lead to careers in international business include international studies (College of Letters & Science), political science (L&S), or a foreign language (L&S). Students are encouraged to contact the Cross College Advising Service ( or the appropriate school/college for advising related to these or other majors.

Q: How do I run a DARS report for the international business major?

A: Please see the Academic Advising page for information on how to run a DARS report.

Antonio Mello
Academic Director of the Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance and Investment Banking

Sachin Tuli
Faculty Associate

David Ward
Senior Lecturer

Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business to complete a major in International Business.

The curriculum requirements for the International Business major can be found on Guide.

Students who matriculated to the Wisconsin School of Business prior to Fall 2018 will follow the requirements listed here. 

A limited number of multi-national organizations offer graduates international career opportunities earlier in their career.  In international business, however, most businesses require their employees to work in their United States office(s) for three to five years before assigning significant international responsibility.

Sample of Issues Facing Multi-National Firms

  • Political, economic and foreign currency risks (e.g., war, regime change, global recession or pandemic, severe weather)
  • Differing legal systems and laws (e.g., patents, contract enforcement, unreliable judicial systems, product certification and liability)
  • Transportation and infrastructure barriers (e.g., insurance, time, cost, security)
  • Foreign language and intercultural communication barriers
  • Corporate and personal tax issues and differing accounting standards
  • Trade policy (e.g., tariffs, quotas, subsidies, WTO and multilateral treaty law)
  • Ethics (e.g., sustainability, corruption, fair trade)

International Business Career Essentials

  • There is no one typical path to an international career
  • More and more jobs will be “international,” without being expatriate positions
  • In-country talent pools getting bigger and better
  • Technology is making communication easier and cheaper
  • Expatriate packages are very expensive
  • Trend towards global teams and learning
  • Experience in emergent economies will be most sought by firms (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Africa)

Sample International Business Opportunities

  • Operational Manager
  • Supply Chain & Customer Relations Manager
  • Quality Assurance Coordinator
  • Distribution & International Operations Manager
  • Assistant Treasurer
  • Vice President Global Marketing

Essential Skills

  • Cross-cultural fluency
  • Ability to build successful relationships with others
  • Confidence to lead effectively through ambiguous new territory where there is often no “right answer” and ethical issues abound and change is constant “Others-orientation” that is founded on genuine appreciation for differences
  • Sense of humor
  • Creativity
  • Effective collaboration
  • Organizational and planning skills

Angie Badura
Associate Director of Career Advising
Ariel Sorenson
Academic Advisor

Please visit the Contact Advisors and Staff page for information on advising and appointments.