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MBA in Marketing vs. International Business – The right choice?
by Bhanu Kaushik February 18, 2020

Still confused between MBA in Marketing vs International Business? You are at the right place.

In this post, we will dig deep and understand about these courses in detail. By the end of this post, we are positive that you’d be able to choose the right MBA stream for yourself.

mba-in-marketing-vs-mba-in-international-business

MBA in Marketing

We all know that Marketing helps to find a possible market for a business’ product lines.

What essentially happens in Marketing is an analysis of the current market, customization of the products and services according to requirement, analyzing the competitors, creating mind space in potential buyers and finally releasing the product in the market. Marketing is a matter of serious and well thought out decisions.

Marketing Management is indeed an extremely popular choice as a course in MBA among students. The main reason is that – there are always opportunities in big organizations for good Marketing professionals.

There is a dearth of products in similar ranges that are attractive, affordable, and accessible to all the customers.

Hence every company needs to carve out a niche for themselves and their products in the minds of customers.

In the era of cut-throat competition, every company tries to get attention drawn to themselves. The only way to do this is to design and promote a product with a USP or unique selling property.

A strategically aligned marketing team is required in every company for this purpose. Companies are willing to invest huge amounts in their marketing strategies to survive the competition.

Students in Marketing management learn concepts such as promotion, market analysis, research, advertising, competitor analysis, digital marketing and sales.

MBA colleges have two-year courses that are divided into trimesters or semesters. In the first-year general management is taught to all students where every student is introduced to the basic concepts of all streams of management.

During the second year, a student can choose from the available specializations, his or her course of choice. Some colleges offer students to do a dual specialization in Marketing and/or operations, Finance, entrepreneurship, etc.

The starting salary on an average of a Marketing management student from a reputed MBA college will range from 6 lacs and can go up to 50 lacs per annum.

There is no fixed upper limit. It differs from college to college. It also depends on existing market conditions and whether a student has prior experience or not.

Marketing is not sales or advertising as it is popularly believed so. Marketing is the whole gamut of activities required for designing to invoicing for its products or services.

It does not end there. It also derives feedback from existing customers to help design or improvise or customize products accordingly.

Serious professionals with a keen sense of sales and customers, awareness of lines of business, competitor analysis and rigor can drive Marketing for a company.

Companies prefer students with relevant work experience in this critical role or a candidate with an MBA in marketing to work in this function.

Who should choose?

Although there are no fixed criteria for choosing this specialization, some intrinsic characters of individuals make them stand apart in their respective careers:

  • Analytical mind
  • Excellent communication skills to confidently communicate with clients and customers
  • Problem-solving
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Adaptability
  • Result Orientation


Key Modules

Key concepts taught in marketing management in the MBA course are as follows:

  • Development of marketing strategies
  • Analysis of consumer behavior
  • Selecting markets
  • Brand management
  • Product management
  • Managing distribution, retailing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Marketing communications
  • Pricing
  • Marketing Research Analysis

Why critical for business?

“No sales, no company.” – Mark Cuban had said this. A business exists because of its marketing efforts to sell the products.

If no sale happens, there will be no business. Marketing is that branch of business that enables sale to happen by formulating strategies, targeting customers, generation requirement, advertising, sales and getting feedback for the production team.

It also helps to retain existing customers through numerous initiatives.

The feedback generated from sales of a previous batch of products helps in customization of the next batch of products and make them more customer-friendly and hence saleable.

Career Options

Profiles in which they are recruited are:

  • Market Analyst – They decide strategies for businesses and products by analyzing information
  • Brand Manager – Brand managers are essentially campaign managers who promote or a particular product line or brand
  • Marketing Manager – Marketing Managers design the promotion strategies, they do a competitor analysis and tries to generate more customers
  • Social media manager – These professionals generate interest and promote a product range using social media as a tool or platform
  • Sales Manager – The sales manager’s job is to ensure, track, and enhance the sales in the company. 

Marketing professionals have some other career options as well. They are:

  • Promotion manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Consumer behavior analyst
  • Marketing executive
  • Digital marketing manager
  • Advertising executive
  • Chief Marketing officer
  • PR and Communications Manager

Further prospects

Many MBA grads, after completing marketing management, pursue further education and career in academics and research to become a lecturer or professor. Both Indian, as well as international universities, offer Ph.D. courses in marketing management.

Several marketing students choose a dual specialization in Marketing as well as Entrepreneurship. They can venture into a new business.

International Business Management

In today’s world without boundaries, the companies are no longer restricting themselves within a single country.

Every business owner has the aspiration to expand its business internationally and make their products and services available to global customers.

Given the current situation, every company requires efficient professionals who can help the business expand beyond geographical boundaries.

Professionals who are adept at calculating the risk factors, cultural nuances, political regimes, and legal limitations. It is not possible to proceed in that direction without a person who has specifically studied these topics and is aware.

The course is sought by many students now, but not too many business schools offer it. At most, B-schools have International Business as one of the papers. It is a two year course, and the students specialize after completion of the first year.

Who should choose?

Students with a keen interest to study, analyze and work in the field of international business should opt for this course. They should be ready to travel, ready to be settled away from one’s own country.

While this may sound very glorifying, it may not always be so. ‘Abroad’ not only means the tier 1 countries. Businesses are want to move to countries where the taxation would be lesser and yet the market could be lucrative and competition lesser.

So, it definitely may not mean a location of choice. Students who have a knack for learning a new language will have an added benefit.

In addition to this, adapting to a new culture requires a high cultural quotient, emotional IQ. International business professionals should want to learn about foreign politics, laws and news.

Key modules

The subjects mostly cover topics ranging from SCM to HRM and finances, and marketing in the international scenario. Some of the key modules are as follows:

  • International Financial Risk Management
  • International Supply Chain Management
  • International Marketing
  • International Trade
  • Global Legal Compliances
  • Export market
  • International Human Resource Management
  • Contract Management
  • Business Environment
  • Cross Culture Management
  • Competitive International Strategy
  • International Marketing and Advertising Strategy
  • International Economics

Why Critical for Business?

As already mentioned, the primary focus of any business is to expand – within the country or outside.

While it may be easier to expand within the country (although in certain cases State laws and equations vary), it is very difficult to penetrate foreign markets without expert professional knowledge.

The impact of a wrong decision taken in a new land could be disastrous for the future of the business. It could do more damage than good.

Hence studying the foreign market or that of a specific country is what every company would want to do and invest in. This makes it very very critical for an organization to have professional expertise in the matter.

Career option

Studying MBA with a specialization in IB could mean a new door being opened on a career perspective.

Every multinational company, as well as those companies who wish to expand their business into other countries, need to hire professionals with the necessary expertise in their company.

Thus opportunities are huge for MBAs in International Business. Some roles that an International Business Graduate can land into are:

  • International Trade Manager
  • Global Marketing Manager
  • International Finance Monitoring
  • Export Manager
  • Business Development Manager
  • Business development executive

Further prospects

Most students, after pursuing International Business, take up a job in the international field.

However, it is possible to pursue higher studies in International Business and move into the academic side.

mba in marketing vs international business

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