Hot MBA Jobs: International Business Consultant

International Business Consultant

International business consulting is one of the world’s fastest growing industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hiring rate of management consulting (the overarching job category) is increasing much faster than average, with an expected rate improving around 14 percent until 2024.

And there’s no doubt that the international side is growing even more quickly due to the globalization of the world economy, the emergence of new markets and explosive economic growth in countries such as India and China. Not to mention the fact that the world is smaller than ever and that almost every business across the world conducts business internationally—even many small and medium-sized companies. So, as more and more companies embrace the global mindset, international business consultants will be more valuable than ever.

As for MBAs, consulting is still one of the most sought-after career fields. According to the 2015 Prospective Student Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), consulting topped the list of intended industries for both millennial and Gen X respondents (41 percent and 27 percent respectively).

But before you make the decision to become an international business consultant, let’s take a look at what your career would look like.

International Business Consultant Job Description

IBS Global Consulting describes their work this way, “IBS Global Consulting offers global management consulting services to help small and medium-sized companies succeed in foreign markets. We provide strategic advisory and hands-on support to help drive sustainable growth.” As for their consultants, they offer new ideas and practical advice on being successful on an international scale. Some of their services include organizational strategy, strategic and operational planning, global supply chain management and cross-cultural training.

When it comes down to it, international business consultants are like any other consultants. They identify problems, examine strengths and weaknesses and use their specialized knowledge to propose solutions that best suite the situation. The difference is the international side of business. Global businesses depend on a wide array of suppliers, manufacturers, carriers, and other contractors and an international business consultant would need to be able to help their clients manage and optimize all of their resources. They have the unique challenge of understanding and adhering to social protocols in different cultures while also mastering strategy and communications.

Based on a job description from Mercer, a Senior International Consultant will be required to:

  • Provide guidance and direction to clients to ensure budgets and deadlines are met.
  • Generate measurable increased revenue and margins through proactively selling and winning services as well as understanding financial metrics.
  • Improve processes through research and development.
  • Represent the company at seminars.
  • Act as a mentor and role model for peers and staff while ensuring the team maintains a leading edge expertise.
  • Manage all international consulting relationships at the senior management level.


Unfortunately, there’s not much available in regards to salary. The salary range is entirely dependent on your experience, educational attainment, and the company you work for. Based on a sampling from Glassdoor you can expect a range between $60-to-$180,000 per year. At Liberty Mutual Insurance, an international business consultant can earn between $111-$121,000 while at Realogy they earn between $152-$186,000. At the same time, Dell only pays $87-$94,000 for an international business consultant and EGR pays even less between $56-61,000.

Where International Business Consultants Work

So, where do international business consultants work? Typically, you have two choices. You can either work for a consulting firm or in-house for companies that have major business operations in foreign markets. Some of the major consulting firms that deal with international business include McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, Deloitte Consulting and Accenture.

As for working in-house as a consultant, you’ll typically be a lot less specialized. More than likely you’ll serve as the on-site business facilitator offering a wide variety of solutions to accommodate all foreign marketing your company may wish to enter. And while you won’t necessarily be required to live in a foreign country, you should expect extended periods of travel.

Education Required

At minimum, all business consultants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in business. However, it’s important to note that some firms only hire consultants who have, or are working on an MBA, which is why The reality is that most consultants entering the international business field will, most likely, eventually earn their MBA or another advanced degree.  It’s also why schools such as USC’s Marshall School of Business offer International Business Consulting Projects.The global MBA program at Marshall has two objectives:

  • To provide a solid foundation in both theory and practice for management consulting.
  • To help companies find strong and cost-effective solutions to their international business problems.

As for Marshall’s consulting project, it takes place once a year and sends students to a particular country of interest for a two-week intensive global experience.

Top MBA Programs

Marshall School of Business at USC: In Los Angeles, the best MBA for a career in consulting is at the Marshall School of Business. Around 20.1 percent of the Marshall School MBA class accepted a career in consulting, with a mean salary base of $115,650. It was the most sought after career field and the most lucrative.

George Washington University School of Business: George Washington University is known for graduating MBAs ready for a career in consulting. In fact, in 2015, 38 percent of their global MBA class accepted a job as a consulting, and 27 percent accepted a job in the consulting industry. On average, their consultants earned $99,950 and worked at such firms as Deloitte, KPMG, RLR Consultants and Summit Consulting.

Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University: For the fifth year in a row, the Kellogg School of Management had more MBAs accept a job in consulting than any other industry at a rate of 35% percent. In addition to majoring in strategic management, Kellogg MBAs can also expand their consulting experience through the Analytical Consulting Lab (ACL).

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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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