Skip to content
The importance of business and management to global trade

The importance of business and management to global trade

Exploring global markets is helping businesses stay competitive

The roots of international trade can be traced as far back as 1st century BC when luxury goods from China made their way thousands of miles across the Great Silk Road to Europe and Rome.

Over 2,000 years later, advancements in technology and transport are enabling more businesses to operate at a global scale. International business and management is more important than ever to modern commerce.

You’ve got to be in it to win it

International business comprises a large and growing portion of the world’s business which, thanks to e-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, is no longer restricted to big sellers alone.

According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the world’s merchandise trade of manufacturing goods, fuels, and agricultural products was worth US$ 19 trillion in 2019, while the world trade in commercial services, goods-related services, transport, and travel, stood at US$ 5.9 trillion.

Here in the UK, figures from HM Revenue and Customs indicate that 317,000 firms traded internationally in 2019, up 3% on the year before. The Department for International Trade valued total trade at £1,153bn in 2020, of which imports accounted for £581.3bn, exports £571.7bn, goods £739.0bn, and services £414bn.

Can’t keep a good thing down

Despite a fall of 5.3% in international trade in 2020 – the knock-on effects of the global pandemic – the WTO is forecasting an 8% growth in 2021, followed by a further 4% growth in 2022, now that vaccines are being rolled out successfully.

The US remains the leading goods and commercial services trader, followed by China, Germany, the UK, Japan, and France.

New markets are opening up all the time, creating exciting opportunities for those who know how to spot them. Of the world’s top 50 traders, Vietnam and the Philippines saw the greatest increase in merchandise trade between 2009 and 2019, thanks to their active participation in global value chains, particularly in manufactured goods.

Meanwhile, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have proved the fastest risers in commercial services trade over the past 10 years, capitalising on their central location for export transportation services and as attractive intra-regional tourist destinations.

Get ahead of the pack

Companies of all sizes are switching on to the idea that the production and sale of their goods and services can extend beyond domestic markets.

For some, exploring global markets may be the only way to stay competitive and expand their business.

This means that employees at all levels can often find themselves having to interact with international colleagues, customers, suppliers, and partners – as well as trade bodies, regulators, and other officials.

Whether you compete in an international market directly or face competitors who do, our online MSc International Business and Management course can help you gain a good understanding of international business trade and operations.

It will not only keep you up to date with the latest business trends, techniques, and tools, but also give you the skills and knowledge to successfully navigate some of the risks of international trade – not least from differences in language, culture, politics, legislation, and currency.

Broaden your horizons

Insight from our broad curriculum, which covers everything from law and finance to ethics, human resources, and cross-cultural leadership, will better prepare you to operate effectively in a dynamic and complex global business and economic environment.

Developing this international perspective is essential if you have ambitions to work across international boundaries or already manage people, partners, or suppliers who do.

Furthermore, employers place a high value on intercultural skills, together with the knowledge and understanding of disparate business management practices found throughout the world.

According to the British Council, after relevant experience and technical know-how, employers look for employees who can build trust, demonstrate respect, and understand people from different cultural backgrounds and contexts, often with opposing viewpoints.

Completing the course could therefore open doors to a huge range of executive and professional positions across the world.

Get an in-depth globally relevant education in business and management with our part-time, online MSc in International Business and Management:

Explore the course

Request a call back 

We'll get in touch to discuss your course of interest and answer any questions.