Earning a Ph.D. in International Business Online

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July 24, 2019

Earning a Ph.D in international business online opens an array of career options. Whether these degree holders become economic researchers, management consultants, or business executives, they steer organizations toward success. Furthermore, enrolling in international business Ph.D. programs online prepares students for academic careers, if they decide to teach at the university level.

Choosing an online doctoral program in international business means you possess a strong interest in globalization and countries’ economic interdependence. Moreover, the flexibility of online studies allows you to work full-time as you apply the lessons you learned on the job.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in International Business?

Completing coursework for a Ph.D. in international business online allows students to pursue a career in their field of choice. Their research abilities, critical-thinking skills, and understanding of the role of national governments provide a unique perspective on the competitive advantages of countries and multinational firms.

Potential Careers & Salaries

Graduates of international business Ph.D. online programs enter careers as professors, business executives and consultants, researchers, and government experts. The program’s highly interdisciplinary curriculum includes classes in economics, marketing, political science, and organizational theory. Graduates can enter either the private or public sector, which may include universities, global companies, management consulting firms, policy organizations, and government agencies.

Your chosen professional path should leverage the skills strengthened by your Ph.D. programs. Specialization options for the degree include marketing, finance, and management science. Look for a role that requires expertise in one or more of these areas to get the most out of your education.

Business Development Manager

Annual Median Salary: $71,785

These professionals help organizations achieve their revenue goals by strategically managing client relationships and devising business solutions for the challenges they face. In addition, this role requires creating business plans to increase brand loyalty and improve customer experience.

Management Analysts

Annual Median Salary: $83,610

This position requires performing organizational assessments, conducting studies, and designing processes for work simplification. Responsibilities include developing procedural manuals and helping others adopt new workplace protocols. Doing so enhances efficiencies and accuracy in systems like budgeting, payroll, and newly launched programs.

Marketing Manager

Annual Median Salary: $132,620

These professionals oversee and help create advertising and sales campaigns to raise visibility for an organization’s products. They collaborate with professionals in creative and research functions and track the outcomes and effects of marketing efforts to inform future advertising choices.

Policy Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $56,735

This role requires reviewing, assessing, and monitoring legislation to determine its effects, flaws, and impact on people’s lives. These professionals liaise with stakeholders to understand and record their concerns. They also collect quantitative and qualitative data to help develop evidence-based reports.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $78,470

This subject-matter expert teaches classes and advises students academically. They must possess strong research skills, including the ability to collect, analyze, and report findings in scholarly articles. In addition, they must grade student assignments and supervise graduate learners’ research and teaching activities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / PayScale

Traits of a Successful International Business Professional

Common careers for graduates with their Ph.D. in international business online require the skills and traits of an organizational leader. Fortunately, coursework for the degree sharpens students' decision-making abilities so they can make rational, informed judgments by thoughtfully weighing the consequences of various choices. This closely ties to problem-solving competencies that reflect how well learners assess, mitigate, and overcome risks.

Graduates also demonstrate outstanding written and oral communication skills to ensure relationship management with colleagues, business partners, stakeholders, and students. Effective communication skills allow these learners to work effectively with teams to execute projects and drive toward shared goals.

This skill requires evaluation of the costs and benefits as a result of your actions. You weigh evidence and data to inform how to make the most appropriate choices.
This competency allows you to identify where problems exist, what those problems are, and how to resolve them. This enables you to implement solutions to overcome challenges before they become more complex.
Whether interacting with peers, subordinates, supervisors, or external stakeholders, communication skills equip you to provide information in a way that's easy for others to understand. You can skillfully articulate messages in reports, emails, presentations, and everyday dialogue.

Steps to Earning a Ph.D. in International Business Online

Every school maintains its own unique degree requirements, but some expectations of international business Ph.D. candidates remain similar across institutions. If want to know what it takes to enroll in a program like this, review the steps below to learn how to identify, apply, and complete the program that best matches your interests.

Find the Right Program for You

Research several online doctoral programs in international business to determine the right one for you. Review each program’s curriculum, faculty, and instruction topics to see if they match your interests. Consult with current and recently graduated students to learn about their experiences, as well, including how the school helps with career placement. In addition, choose whether you prefer a fully online program or one that blends in-person and campus-based courses.


Admission to accredited universities offering international business Ph.D. programs online requires completing an application, submitting transcripts from all previously attended colleges, and providing proof of prior degrees. Some programs ask candidates to demonstrate professional work experience, as well. Applicants usually need to secure letters of recommendation from professors and workplace supervisors, and most need to draft a statement explaining why they wish to enter the program. Moreover, find out if you must submit graduate exam scores.

Capstone, Dissertation, or Thesis

Showcase how you integrate the lessons learned in your Ph.D. in international business online studies through a capstone project, which many programs require. You may or may not work with classmates to execute this assignment, which generally asks you to use your textbook knowledge to solve a real-world challenge. Finally, doctoral programs generally require a dissertation based on a research topic you choose in consultation with your advisor.

Fellowship or Internship

Your program might offer opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning through an internship. Whether paid or unpaid, internships bolster your practical application of textbook lessons while giving you one-on-one contact with professionals in careers you might consider pursuing. A fellowship after earning your Ph.D. can provide additional workplace experience coupled with financial support to undertake data collection and analysis for a research topic of your choice.

Curriculum for an Online Ph.D. in International Business

International business Ph.D. online programs immerse students in coursework that draws on multiple content areas, including organization theory, political science, technology, and economics. Students deepen their research skills as they examine key concepts like globalization theories, multinational marketing, and economic reform. Graduates possess in-depth understanding of the methodologies and theories underpinning international business and any area of study in which they choose to specialize.

The program builds learners' independent research skills, as well. Students can apply appropriate qualitative and quantitative approaches when conducting studies, and they can clearly communicate their findings and facilitate instruction to support others’ learning.

  1. Foreign Direct Investment: This class examines how an entity based in one country can directly invest in an entity based in another. It particularly considers how much influence the investing country can exert over the entity receiving its support. Topics include the impact of location, technology, and profitability on FDI.

  2. Theories of Globalization: This class explores how globalization affects international business by examining the concept through multiple lenses. These include world finance and economy, regionalism, corporate governance, and geo-political concerns. The class builds your philosophical thinking and cognitive abilities while preparing you to undertake research, teaching, and writing initiatives.

  3. Privatization, Economic Reform, and Globalization in Emerging Markets: This course explores applied and theoretical literature on these topics and strengthens students' skills in developing original research agendas. It delves into how government-dominated economic systems transition to a market economy, including the resulting macro and micro implications of that shift. It particularly examines emerging market companies.

  4. Theory of International Business: This class provides an overview of internalization, market power, eclectic paradigm, macroeconomic approaches, and international industry. It considers how these different methods of thinking about international business compare and contrast by reviewing salient areas of recent research. It also considers potential directions for future international business research.

  5. Global Political Economy: Students in this class look at long-term changes in the world economy from a global perspective, given how countries interact and the regulatory systems monitoring their behaviors. Learners consider the connections between trade and economic growth, protectionism and trade imbalances, and the effects of technological advancements on global competitiveness.

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