Following current trends in the United States and abroad, Wittenberg University recently added a new major in international business, beginning this spring. Unique and appealing to employers globally, students who major in international business are attractive to employers working in the global economy.
Wittenberg’s international business program is an interdisciplinary major that equips students with the ability to understand international business theory and practice. The program is comprised of five major components: a core of basic business courses, world language courses, cultural component courses, elective interdisciplinary courses with an international focus, an internship or study abroad experience, and a capstone course with a focus on globalization. This new major will be under Wittenberg's Department of Business umbrella.
“Students will study a variety of subjects, including economics, finance, accounting, management, marketing, political science, language, sociology, East Asian Studies, and international relations on top of studying abroad or participating in an internship abroad,” said Sunny Jeong, associate professor of business and economics and director of international business. “This program also provides students with a broad range of knowledge, experiences and critical thinking skills that will help solve complex social, economic, and environmental problems that we face on a global scale. Those skills are transferrable to any profession or graduate program they choose to enter.”
According to national statistics, Ohio is the seventh largest exporting state in the United States with $52.1 billion in exports in 2020. Ohio's foreign direct investment (FDI) totaled $62.8 billion in 2019 with 4,623 foreign-owned establishments in the state. Ohio's international trade supports over 1.1 million jobs in the state.
“A robust international business program integrates well within the liberal arts, and provides unique experiences and perspectives for Wittenberg students,” Jeong added.
Students who major in international business will understand how a foreign language provides access to different insights as they develop an increased knowledge of globalization. Benefits from being bilingual are also highly likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
"As a language professor, I recognize the need for speakers of multiple languages and for the development of intercultural competency among our students who will enter into the world of business,” said Vanessa Plumly, assistant professor of German at Wittenberg. “Success in the international business world is not merely contingent upon understanding how a business operates. It involves complex interactions across linguistic and cultural contexts that have to be deciphered in meaningful ways. The new international business major at Wittenberg requires language learning for precisely these reasons."
In addition, The Ohio State University and the State of Ohio Department of Development initiated a strategic partnership titled the Ohio Export Internship Program with 18 universities including Wittenberg, in order to train a global workforce, grow export sales, and create jobs within small to medium-sized Ohio companies. Jeong has facilitated the partnership over the past 10 years, preparing several Wittenberg students annually to attend a semester-long business program at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State followed by the summer internship program at international companies in Ohio. Most participants selected from among 18 universities are typically international business majors.
Wittenberg will host an International Business Networking Panel & International Business Major Launch event Thursday, March 23, from 4 to 6 p.m., in Bayley Auditorium inside the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center.
Panel speakers include Mark Grimes, Wittenberg class of 1981, treasurer with Sweet Manufacturing; Don Hutchinson, Wittenberg class of 2015, who is an operations and sales manager with GKS Lifting and Moving; Cameron Snider, Wittenberg class of 1991, aexecutive director of business development at Alliance for Multispecialty Research; and Madeline Imler, Wittenberg class of 2017, who is an indirect procurement manager with Fairlife.
The event will open with a brief introduction to the major and the course plan presented by Jeong, Lila Zaharkov, associate professor of languages, and JoAnn Bennett, director of the Wittenberg's Office of International Education and Study Abroad. Panelists will then talk about their companies, the international ties their companies have, and how they ended up in their careers. There will be time for a Q & A followed by a networking session with refreshments.
According to Zippia, international business majors earn on average $58,124 to $108,000 per year. The degree has become in demand for international organizations that do business with foreign partners and companies. International business majors develop the skills to do business in markets around the world and learn the ins and outs of multinational organizations’ strategic plans, as well as foreign business practices.
Wittenberg’s program will challenge students to adapt business concepts to other countries’ financial, sociopolitical, legal and economic systems. Students majoring in international business can develop a diverse skillset that can easily be paired with a foreign language. Many international business majors may find employment abroad.
"Students who have graduated with a language degree from Wittenberg University are now working in the field of international business because they have exhibited how their skills are transferrable to companies who need excellent communicators and critical thinkers,” Plumly said. “The newly established international business major allows us to combine the curricular goals of the Departments of Business with those of the Department of World Languages & Cultures, among many others in this interdisciplinary major, to demonstrate how and why thinking across areas of study can make students more innovative and appealing to companies with business hubs around the world."