A building products company in Pennsylvania ships insulation materials to Mongolia, where most of the country endures short, hot summers and long, bone-chilling winters. A Tennessee business ships patterned glass to South America and Europe, where their products become design features in churches and homes. A porcelain lighting manufacturer in Florida received so many orders from Australia that it decided to open an office “down under.”
Before the Internet connected the world in previously unimaginable ways (including the rise of online degree programs and fully online universities), exporting products and services to foreign markets was primarily the purview of large corporations. Today, small and medium-sized businesses account for 98% of U.S. exports, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA).* In its latest update, the ITA reports that the total number of U.S. jobs supported by exports in 2015 was an estimated 11.5 million, down 50,000 from 2014.†
Globalization will continue to affect an increasing number of businesses and employees. This fast-growing trend is a good reason for savvy professionals to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to conduct business effectively with companies and team members in other countries and cultures.
There are several important ways online education can prepare you to become a key asset to established global businesses or those planning for international expansion:
E-learning is a global business—Online colleges and universities perform at the leading edge of e-learning technology, utilizing sophisticated virtual learning platforms. These platforms interact with the same technology that powers the Internet and connects global markets. Students from around the world fine-tune their online communication skills in the virtual world of online education every time they access coursework, participate in webinars, and engage in interactive exercises.
Virtual teamwork—Collaborating and communicating in a virtual world is a mandatory skill in the global workplace. As a student in an online degree program, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate on projects with classmates from a variety of cultures and nations. Understanding how to be an effective member of a virtual team is critical if you want to excel in an internationally-focused business.
Effective workplace dynamics—Managing relationships with colleagues and associates in different countries is a vital skill for being successful in a global workforce. As an online student, your interactions with faculty and academic advisors offer the chance to hone your communication skills with direct supervisors and members of your business’s leadership team, while your peer-to-peer interactions with students help refine your ability to communicate effectively when you’re not in the same physical space.
Enhanced cultural understanding—An online education in a global environment offers a better perspective on other cultures, and you’ll become more sensitive to subtle differences. For example, you’ll learn the importance of avoiding jargon, slang, colloquialisms, and other language that might have a different meaning (or simply no meaning at all) in another country; and become aware of comments that seem innocuous to you but might be considered offensive in other cultures.
Conflict resolution—Over the course of earning your degree online, you’ll have opportunities to deal with problems, conflicts, and misunderstandings that may arise. Your ability to resolve conflict as an online student will become a key skill for success in the international business world.
For more than 45 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 52,000 students from all 50 states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates online at Walden.
Here are a few of our online degree programs that offer a specifically global perspective through curriculum specializations:
Explore Walden University's other online degree programs in 10 areas of study for undergraduates and graduates. Get the help you need to continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.
*U.S. International Trade Administration, “Exporting Is Good for Your Bottom Line,” on the Internet at www.trade.gov/cs/factsheet.asp.
†U.S. International Trade Administration, Jobs Supported by Exports 2014: An Update, on the Internet at http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/build/groups/public/@tg_ian/documents/webcontent/tg_ian_005500.pdf
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.