Why Studying International Business is So Important: A Student Perspective

CGB Insights
4 min readJan 30, 2020


I often hear “if you have a business brain and a liberal arts heart, then International Business is the right major for you.” That may be true, but regardless of what type of heart you have, your brain should tell you that business today is global. There have been countless innovations and new developments that have consistently brought world closer together, from the rise of the internet, to something so small as the standardization of the size of shipping containers. It’s hard to ignore what is going on outside of the United States, which is why majoring in International Business is so important to today’s society.

Learn more about the international business major at McCombs at bit.ly/McCombs-IB.

For a long time, it was generally accepted that international trade was a net benefit to society, thanks to research done by Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Specialization and trade was the key to producing efficiently and boosting a country’s economy. Since then, we’ve learned even more about the keys to international trade. The Hecksher-Ohlin Theory tells us that every country has its endowments — land, labor, and capital — and that every country will specialize in goods in which they have a relative abundance of that endowment and trade for those in which they are relatively scarce. These theories formed the basis of how countries trade with other countries, and, for a while, international trade was relatively quiet, with the notable exception of the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs in 1930. Trade was generally not a divisive issue.

International trade exploded following World War II. To start off, the U.S. sent aid to the Europeans with the Marshall Plan to get their economies back up and running so that European countries could get back to trading. Europe then created the European Coal and Steel Community. The ECSC was originally meant to promote peace, but it has evolved because of trade ties into the deepest integration the world has seen, the European Union. Fast-forward to the 90’s when President Clinton pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement through Congress, an idea that was originally conceived by President George H.W. Bush. The nations of the world signed countless free trade deals, formed common markets, and created the GATT, which later morphed into the World Trade Organization, all of this promulgating the idea of free trade. The point is that for so long, trade was swept under the rug. Trade negotiations took place behind closed doors and the public didn’t pay much attention. Talking about international trade wasn’t “sexy.”

NAFTA would later become a polarizing issue in American politics.

Since that time, trade has increasingly become a polarizing issue, which is why majoring in International Business is so important. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t see some piece of trade news flashing across a TV screen. The trade war, the WTO Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute, currency manipulation, Brexit, labor rights in developing countries, all of these topics regularly make the headlines. The problem is that not everyone really understands how international trade works.

The International Business program teaches students the tools they need to set the record straight when it comes to trade. Whether it be environmental issues caused by climate change, labor problems, or culture clashes, students learn how the economy, supply chains, risk, cultures, and so much more fit into the giant puzzle that is the international trading system. Majoring in International Business prepares students for the future because globalization likely will not stop and countries will only grow closer and more dependent on each other.

With classes like International Trade and Investment, Intercultural Management, International Finance, Global Regulatory Strategy, and Global Supply Chain and Risk, students will learn how to work and live in a globalized society, will have a heightened cultural awareness, and a new global perspective. Students will have all the know-how of other business majors, plus knowledge of how the modern business world works. International Business majors will be better at many (perhaps most) jobs located in the U.S. if they deeply understand the global aspects of the modern business world.

Business has no borders: Eric will be working for PcW’s Transfer Pricing Group upon graduation.

The world is so much more interconnected than it used to be and it is hard to ignore the effects that come with that. We live in a 24-hour news cycle so the issues from globalization are more easily seen, and with social media, easier to share and a lot of that news is connected to my two majors. International Business is integral to understanding today’s society and graduates from McCombs’ International Business major are prepared to succeed globally. After all, What Starts Here Changes the World.

Eric Hines is a senior International Business and European Studies major from Keller, TX. Upon graduation, Eric is going to work for PwC’s Transfer Pricing Group in Dallas, TX.