International business development: Breaking into international business development

International business development today means constantly keeping your own business objectives in sight while staying fully aware of the big picture. That big picture has never been more complex – market volatility, new actors, evolving technology, regulatory constraints and numerous other challenges mean the only certainty is change. If you're a young business development executive motivated to break into this demanding global arena, high-level executive education is imperative. Top international business schools are your source for management and leadership training to hone your cross-functional operational and leadership skills, put you in touch with global mega-trends, and boost your capacity to create bottom-line results in international business development.

Leverage opportunities: on-the-job and executive education
Especially if you work in an international organization, there are numerous ways you can use your work environment to reach your international business development career ambitions. Seize opportunities for experience in a variety of contexts as well as corporate training. Top international organizations today will support your educational needs – they understand the benefits of talent development to ensure strength throughout the organization and grow the next generation of global executives.

At the end of the day though, it's up to you to make sure that each on-the-job experience brings new knowledge and leadership strengths to prepare you for international business development. Executive education and leadership coaching help you better integrate the leadership skills and experience you gain on the job. Many international business programs offer experiential learning opportunities such as consulting projects in emerging markets.

The skills you'll need to break into international business development
As noted in the opening of this article, international business development is one of the most challenging, multifaceted careers you can take on. You'll be expected to leverage opportunities and head-off potential pitfalls. You will have to make difficult decisions running to the full gamut of business development strategy including finance, sustainability, stakeholder engagement, team leadership, and much more. Some of the skills you'll need to break into – and stay in – international business development include:

  • Understanding of the mega-trends shaping global business. The interdependent world economy is much more than "business" these days. International business development executives must also account for social, ecological and political contexts to be able to make the most measured decisions.
  • Language and cultural skills. These are basic but necessary skills for international business development because the smallest misunderstandings can lose the deal. Be ready to work in other languages and be sensitive to the business practice, social and cultural norms in different regions.
  • Effective negotiation skills. A successful international business development executive must drive the dialogue and influence the dynamics of a negotiation. You must be able to quickly assess the context and available choices, including your and the other party's needs and potential trade-offs.
  • Conflict management skills. Conflict is part and parcel of international business development – consider diverse international teams, the breadth of competitors, regulatory & legal challenges, and M&A's. You'll only be able to leverage opportunities if you can effectively manage these conflict situations.

Top international business schools
In the international arena, there's no room for second best. Before you head to any business development training program, investigate the independent business management school rankings from well-known reviewers such as the Financial Times, Forbes and The Economist. At schools ranked among the top international business schools, you gain vital global perspectives. Their executive programs are designed for the global context and you are taught by faculty who are often well-known as consultants with top international organizations. You will also study alongside people who are diverse in terms of culture, language, business background and business operations context – just like those you'll work with in international business development.


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