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International Business with Language and Culture

International Business with Language and Culture

In your world, the daily drama of business — the tension between opportunity, innovation and competition — plays out on a global stage. In this ecosystem, growth favors companies that make learning — identifying scarce expertise, talent and insights — the number one priority.

Likewise, employers favor graduates who possess nuanced and detailed knowledge of local culture. Succeeding in international business requires deep self-awareness, intense curiosity and humility — traits and habits fostered when studying business at a Jesuit university.

In the past, business viewed culture mainly as a physical boundary or logistical obstacle to overcome. Large multinational businesses from dominant countries could assume that local leadership and talent would defer to US and European headquarters, and that competition would mainly come from other foreign entrants, not locally based entities. And few worried about sustainability as a shared concern.                                                                      

Today, the world has grown more flat and interdependent. Boler International Business with Language and Culture students, faculty and alumni recognize that transcending one’s cultural perspective and learning how every aspect of business — and life — is done in different contexts is more essential today than ever before.

  • Sometimes, the business challenge involves adjusting a product menu to fit local tastes. For example, Dunkin Donuts or Coke fine tune recipes or select community investments based on location.
  • In other cases, local knowledge informs strategies seeking universal appeal, as when Airbnb and the World Wildlife Fund launch global social campaigns aimed at bridging distance and differences.

In every instance, technology and big data are accelerating the pace of change.

What You Will Do

Old notions of how to go about doing business globally — companies exporting world-class production, design, supply chain, etc. to new markets — face a changing reality.

In today’s borderless economy, it’s no longer enough to see, think and act with a global mindset. Everyone from the CEO to the marketing intern must adapt on the fly to insights gleaned from customer, supply chain, HR and other data. Examples of how big data informs a wide variety of international business decisions and investments include:

  • How plentiful are local talent pools?
  • Do assumptions about supply chain, logistics and materials anticipate the full range of potential uncertainties?
  • Are projections for market expansion as up-to-date as possible?
  • What’s the regulatory climate and track record for potential mergers and joint ventures?
  • How well will brand equity from a company or product translate across climates or cultures?
  • Will unforeseen weather or political events impact operations?

As you advance into more senior and strategic management roles, you will apply a global perspective to questions of how you strategically manage a business using the best people and data from around the planet.

What You Will Learn

Through a combination of curricular and experiential learning, you and your fellow International Business with Language and Culture peers gain significant business fluency in a foreign language and a deep understanding of business culture and practices.

In an increasingly interdependent world economy, a proficiency in a second language and culture is crucial to excel in the commerce, politics, and society of today’s global marketplace. As an International Business major, you will focus course work, study abroad and internship experiences on one of at least three general areas:

  • international marketing (analysis, development, and promotion)
  • international logistics and supply chain management
  • international financial management

Combining language and culture with business in both course work and experiential activities produces students who are well prepared for the unique challenges and problems encountered in international business. You will graduate with a set of highly valued tools:

  • proficiency in a second language and culture
  • understanding of, and, appreciation for, cultural variations in behaviors and values
  • an ability to analyze international business contexts (e.g., markets, financial arrangements, currencies, transactions)
  • an ability to analyze change, risk, and uncertainty, and how change will affect the performance of people, products, and organizations across cultures
  • an ability to adapt to different cultures and the flexibility to tackle organizational challenges across cultural settings and situations

Job Outlook

International Business with Language and Culture students gather the experience and skills needed to make strategic decisions and to understand how the business world works on a global scale.  Potential employers include a wide variety of organizations:

  • consulting firms
  • NGOs
  • companies providing international services
  • multinational companies

You may work across a full range of functional areas such as accounting, finance, marketing and logistics.

International Business with Language and Culture Program Requirements

University Integrated Core, plus a total of 60-78 credit hours as follows.

Language and Culture: 0-18 credit hours. Proficiency in a second language typically demonstrated by satisfactorily completing the 301-302 series of language classes is required.

Country-Specific Culture Classes. Six credit hours of country-specific culture classes are required. The country-specific classes may be counted toward University Integrated Core requirements, when feasible.

Business Core: 43 credit hours, including MN 461. Major Courses: 21 credit hours. IB 301, IB 495, MK 361, FN 439 or EC 342 plus three preapproved international business courses to be taken during the student’s semester abroad. In addition, BPD 490 must be completed for the internship requirements of the program.


Study Abroad: This major requires a study-abroad semester in a country of the student’s language of study, typically during the spring semester of the junior year. Beyond seeing how various pieces of global industries play out internationally, the goal is for you to establish a global peer network. Students must apply through the Center for Global Education by the deadline prior to the semester of study abroad, and the location must be approved by the IBLC co-director(s).

Internships: The student is also required to engage in one pre-approved internship either in the US or abroad: with an organization in the study-abroad country (or another country that uses the student’s language of study); or, with an organization in the U.S. that conducts business in that country.

Industry Statistics

124 number of countries that count China as its largest trade partner, more than twice as many as the U.S. at 52
$20bn total annual exports from just one U.S. Company. GE
76% people working in International Business holding a Bachelor’s s Degree, 2015


We encourage every Boler student to earn Bloomberg Certification. By completing the (free) self-paced Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) e-learning course, you gain a credential that tells employers you have a firm grasp of the gold standard financial markets data platform.

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