Enter your email below to receive weekly updates from the Ashton College blog straight to your inbox.
Business Management is something of a commonplace term that could mean many different things depending upon who you ask. So when looking at this term through the lens of someone considering post-secondary education, just what is business management? From the words themselves, we determine that business management can mean the actual management of a business or can also be seen as managing the business (or work) of a company whether the business that company is involved in is domestic or international in scope.
In order to become successful in the world of business management (domestic and/or international) it’s important to gain the knowledge required to compete in today’s market. That means (in almost all cases) a formal education is necessary to get started. Experience is a significant factor as well and success stories abound of those in the industry who didn’t go to school (most from previous generations or a small number of the very lucky), however, in today’s marketplace, in order to get the proverbial foot in the door, education is the key. A number of education institutions recognize the value of business management education and have expanded the available offerings for prospective students.
The majority of business management programs have a strong focus on international trade and allow students to earn a business management certificate they can apply in their career in a wide range of sectors: working as a team member in the domestic market, as the founder of their own business management firm or as an employee of an international company they may relocate for.
Taking the right business management course and program is essential to achieving your goals. Understand what your desires and dreams are for the future, get an understanding of what business management means to you (you may want to be a business manager, work in business administration or your dream may be in international trade given the diversity of jobs in each area) and then find a school that aligns with that vision in how they offer business management courses and programs.
Whether you’re looking for a general business management course or an international business management program (or global business management program as it may be called), there are common elements to look for in terms of the school, the faculty and the program itself.
The first thing to look at is the overall areas of business management offered by the education institution. Schools with a strong background in business management will tend to offer more than one program in the field. This may mean general business management programs, international business management and/or diploma programs.
The individuals an educational institution has entrusted with teaching students are the core of the program. Most schools will have their faculty noted along with faculty member bios. Spend some time reading the bios to understand the background of the teachers and get a feeling for how their experience can help you understand the program and achieve your dreams.
Look for those with experience working in the industry for a significant number of years (10 or more) and diversity in their backgrounds. This diversity in instructor background could be in running their own firm, serving as a consultant, sales and marketing expertise, working in distribution or managing supply chain management. It’s also important to find a school with faculty members who have experience working both domestically as well as in international locations in order to understand the diversity of markets and help you gain the education you need.
Also, consider the importance of instructors with the Forum in International Trade Training (FITT) certification. Not only does FITT certification prove international business expertise, it also shows the ability of those with the certification to help students navigate the steps to their own accreditation with the organization.
When considering different programs from schools, the FITT designation also comes into play. Find an education institution that is accredited by FITT (whether you plan to work internationally or not) that allows credit transfers to the FITT programs to obtain the organization’s designation.
While FITT certification is far from mandatory in the field, the organization offers the only international business training programs (and related professional designation) endorsed by the World Trade Centers Association and the Canadian government. The designation may not be what gets you a job with a firm, but it may be the difference between you and a candidate who doesn’t have the credentials of FITT behind them.
Other things to look for in terms of courses and programs include: a mix of lecture and lab-style education to bring formal teaching and interactive discussion together, site visits at local companies and in-depth explorations of finance, sales, supply chain management, law, marketing, management and communication from both a domestic and international perspective.
As noted above, there are stories of those who have excelled in the industry without a formal education but many of those individuals are from a past generation or were extremely lucky to get their foot in the door or to find a great break into the market. The odds are more significantly in your favour if you can “walk the talk” and have the education behind you to prove your understanding of the marketplace. It’s a competitive field with many students fighting for available jobs on a daily basis.
Some of those jobs include: export sales manager, procurement manager, trade analyst, international management consultant, marketing manager, customs inspector and a range of government roles. While domestic-oriented companies may not yet be working on an international level, by proving you can, you enhance the options for your potential employer and show you are ready to level up and take the next steps with that company. The ground-breaking number of international trade agreements involving Canada show that more and more, international trade is an area for those in business management roles to take leadership roles.
If being involved in the inner-workings of business interest you and you’re fascinated by the idea of operating at an international level, an education in business management may be the perfect step for you. Get to know what it is you want your career to look like, then find the right school to help you with the education you need to make that vision a reality.