Misconceptions about International Relations and International Business: What’s the difference?
Thursday, October 8, 2020
International Relations and International Business are generally mistakenly believed to be the same or lead to the same career. It is easy to see why this misconception has been established, since both degrees involve jobs in the international sphere, but it is important to make sure that their differences are highlighted. If you are interested in pursuing one of these degrees, you should be aware of the differences between them.
International Relations vs. International Business
Where to study each of them?
- International relations degrees are typically offered by a college’s foreign or public affairs division at a School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The curricula generally range from topics such as political science, geography, world history, and social science. The modules of the programme could include: National Security, Immigration, Terrorism, Human Rights Law, Policy Analysis, among others.
- Business Schools offer International Business degrees. The programme’s curriculum starts with the general management basics. Some modules are: Supply Chain Logistics, Global Finance, Emerging Markets, and International Currency.
Prospective Global Career Pathways
These degrees also differ in the career paths you could expect to pursue:
International Relations career prospects: International Relations professionals are in charge of making sure that relationships between different states or cultures go smoothly in a way that both or all parts in the relationship are benefited from the bond. Their jobs include:
- NGO administrator
- Political analyst
- Intelligence specialist
- Foreign lobbyist
- Immigration lawyer
- Military officer
If IR graduates have enough experience, they could even be appointed ambassadors or even Secretary of State.
International Business career prospects: International Business leads to careers like:
- Export officer
- Product manager
- Budget analyst
- Advertising manager
- Human capital consultant
- Global communications specialist
- Sales director
Climbing the corporate ladder to big titles like VP of Diversity & Inclusion or Chief Financial Officer might be the end goal.
As you can see, International Business degrees lead to commercial jobs whereas International Relations degrees have a more political approach. Even though they are related in some ways, they are quite different, and it is important to be aware of those differences when considering pursuing any of them.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in one of these degrees, take a look at the programmes available in South Africa by visiting Top Universities.