Master's in international management: preparing leaders for complex global challenges

By Ysobel Croix

Whether to qualify for a leadership position in a company's overseas office or to become an international business consultant, ambitious individuals may seek a Master of International Management degree. These professionals want in-depth instruction on managing the relationships and day-to-day activities of complex organizations. In these programs, students can gain the necessary confidence to make strategic decisions while minimizing risk and taking into account the culture of countries where business is being conducted.

Graduate degrees in international management

At some institutions of higher learning, a master's degree in international management may be very similar to a master's degree in international business. However, many Master of International Management degree programs are heavily focused on management, leadership and international business strategy. Universities may offer international management as a specialty of the Master of Business Administration or MBA degree, though others consider the Master of International Management a completely different degree from an MBA. In fact, some schools offer students the option of earning a dual MBA/MIM degree, which results in two separate degrees. Though some universities offer intensive, one-year programs, a master's degree typically takes students about two years to finish.

Like many MBA programs, MIM programs sometimes require students to have professional experience for admission into the program. Some institutions allow internships or assistantships to count toward the professional experience requirement.

One exciting feature of some MIM programs is the opportunity to study abroad for several weeks at a company's office in another country.

Online Master of International management programs provide a flexible, convenient alternative to attending classes on campus. Some institutions offer hybrid degrees that combine online and campus instruction. Those institutions offering fully online international business master's degree programs may offer several choices in start dates so that new students do not have to wait until fall semester to begin their program.

Specializations in international management

The Master of International Management is considered by some institutions to be a highly specialized degree. Other institutions offer further emphasis in management-specific disciplines such as these:

  • Global management
  • International enterprise management
  • International financial management
  • International marketing management
  • Strategic management and international consultancy

Typical coursework for international business degrees

It's not uncommon to find Master of International Business degree programs that combine business, international affairs, law and political science in an interdisciplinary approach. Though MIM programs can have this sort of interdisciplinary approach and core courses vary by institution, generally the curriculum for a master's of international management degree emphasizes management courses like these:

  1. Intercultural communication and leadership
  2. International financial management
  3. International marketing management
  4. International strategic management
  5. Managing country risk
  6. Strategic logistics management

Quite a few MIB and MIM programs require fluency in one foreign language with an emphasis in business communications. Some institutions host mandatory accounting or business technology workshops prior to the start of the semester. Foundation courses in statistics, economics, ethics and accounting are sometimes required for students with sub-par grades in previous business courses or students whose undergraduate degrees were not in business.

International management careers and salaries

People who earn online master's degrees in international management can seek a number of different careers in business, including various management positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. financial managers had a mean yearly salary of $116,970 in 2010, compared to general and operations managers, who earned a mean annual wage of $113,100. Employment and salary projections for graduates with MIB degrees vary widely depending on the specific industry and location in which a graduate works.

As businesses expand into markets outside their home borders, knowledgeable leaders who can manage complex organizations are needed. An online Master of International Management degree gives these future leaders a way to efficiently develop critical management skills for these challenges.

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