How to build a career in international business

A Career In International Business

A career in international business can look extremely attractive to many Irish students and graduates. With Europe’s most mobile student population and our willingness to adapt to new cultures, Irish people have always had a strong presence in international businesses around the world, punching well above our weight.

Developing inward investment (via the IDA) and export-led growth (via Enterprise Ireland) are key planks in the government’s economic recovery plan, and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs has recently published research for Forfás that looks into the key skills for enterprise to trade internationally. Central to this are the skills that graduates will need to develop successful careers in this area.

Five key business functions were identified alongside relevant skills and competencies.

1. International business management

Organisational skills for this business function

  • Strategic thinking
  • Building alliances
  • Networking
  • Relationship building
  • Negotiation skills.

Soft skills for this business function

  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Analytic skills
  • Customer focus
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Creative problem-solving.

2. International marketing and sales

Organisational skills for this business function

  • Negotiation skills
  • Networking
  • Relationship building.

Soft skills for this business function

  • Customer focus
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Communications.

3. Fulfilment – logistical and distribution

Organisational skills for this business function

  • Relationship building
  • Customer and client focussed
  • Networking
  • Negotiation skills.

Soft skills for this business function

  • Commercial awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation skills
  • Communication
  • Analytical and numerical skills.

4. Customer service/support

Organisational skills for this business function

  • Relationship building
  • Customer and client focussed.

Soft skills for this business function

  • Communication skills (oral and written) – person-to-person and online.

5. Product/service development & design

Organisational skills for this business function

  • Relationship building
  • Customer and client focussed.

Soft skills for this business function

  • Creative problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation skills
  • Communication skills.

Many of the necessary skills cross over into different categories, but the order listed shows the different emphases that the Forfás research gives to these skills, depending on the business function. Foreign language skills and cultural awareness cross all of the above functions and are critical to a successful career in international business regardless of the job role.

If you are serious in developing your career in international business you should read the full report, titled Key Skills for Enterprise to Trade Internationally.


2 Comments on “How to build a career in international business”

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