The so-called global economy has matured over the past ten years into a true marketplace. The emergence of India, Brazil and China as major economic powers is the most public evidence of the changing economic climate around the world; there are dozens of less visible nations that are exporting products to the major Western consumer nations, and dozens of Western corporations engaging in large scale offshore manufacturing and using offshore white collar services. The call service centers are merely the simplest example of offshore labor utilization in today’s economy.

The best way to gain employment in a global business environment is to acquire an education suited to the unique tasks and responsibilities of a multinational firm. There are several elements to global business activity that MBA graduates of ten or fifteen years ago may not be familiar with.

International business degrees are available today both at the bachelor’s level and as a master’s degree, most often in the form of an MBA with concentration in global management. Courses in these programs address the legal issues of international business which can grow enormously complex.

Intellectual property law, tax law, tariff issues and to some degree immigration law all enter into business in the global economy. Part of the use of offshore labor has been importing the best and brightest engineers, technologists and businessmen from other countries to work here – and often, that practice can lead to problems with immigration law.

Expansion into global markets can lead to unexpected cultural, economic and language barriers. Both Google and Yahoo have struggled with their Asian divisions for a variety of reasons. China is still resistant to unfettered internet access, which leads to censorship issues and on occasion, to law enforcement issues. The laws protecting freedom of expression simply do not exist in China, and companies doing business there are expected to follow the laws of the land. At the same time, it’s the biggest internet market in the world in terms of volume of users.

Businesses attempting to garner foreign market share need employees with cross-cultural skills and organizational development capabilities that can be applied in a foreign culture. Professionals in this field need to be able to function in the social environment as well as the business sector in order to be successful with a multinational expansion.

Several schools include cross-cultural business issues in their applied management degrees. Students in these programs examine the impact that differences in cultural, economic, operational, social and technological realities can have on a successful multinational business relationship. Basic issues such as the role of women in the society and the perception of time as it relates to daily obligations are lessons that are learned far more quickly in school than through mistakes made in the field.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Hartzell writes on careers and education for several websites