International Business effects everybody; consumers, producers, governments, non-profit organizations, charities and any other category you can think of. International Business is the product of the cooperation between human beings living anywhere in the world and it is an important part of the mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone regardless of where they live. It is important for business students to understand what International Business is and how it effects the business you’re in no matter what that business is.
There are three main ways that International Business affects us all: 1) supply chains, 2) demand for goods and services and 3) peaceful cooperation. In our International Business class at Concordia University we explore all of these aspects and more.
No matter the size of a business or how local the market it serves, the supplies that the business needs in order to create value for customers are affected by International Business. For example, if you own a small coffee shop that serves breakfast pastries in the USA, you can’t do business without international sources of coffee and sugar, both of which come from tropical countries. If you sell fancy coffee drinks, the espresso machines and coffee grinders usually come from Italy or Germany. Most markets for basic goods are supplied by International Business. The prices are established on international futures exchanges and we are all affected by the international business environment.
Big and small businesses alike strive to deliver value to customers and very often those customers live in other countries. In your own life, you may enjoy watching videos on YouTube, engaging in social media, watching programs on Netflix and you might use Google to search for new interesting entertainment on the web. These kinds of businesses operate globally, just as much as they operate locally. Communication businesses are automatically considered International Businesses. However, International Business is not the product of the technological age that we live in today. The most basic business for human life, agriculture, is international too. For example, American farmers produce more food than Americans could ever consume. Without International Business, people in other countries would go hungry and American agricultural products would rot away. It’s not just the food we eat either. American cotton is nearly always exported to countries that make the cloth and sew the clothes.
International Business is important to businesses large and small, but, on a more personal level, it also improves cooperation and understanding between cultures and people everywhere. International Business unites people around a common goal, satisfying customers by giving them something that they value and are willing to pay for. When companies sell to another culture, they gain understanding of the other culture and what the consumers want. For example, McDonalds succeeds in most countries by selling beef hamburgers in a quick, clean consistent way, but this will not do in India where consumers of the Hindu faith will not eat beef, and the pork bacon and sausage on the breakfast menu is rejected by Muslims. Understanding this,
McDonalds menu in India concentrates on chicken nuggets and fries, in fact, the menu is completely different from what you find in an American McDonalds, but the quick, clean consistent service and the image of the golden arches make it a popular restaurant in India.
If your company is an importer, you need to communicate the exact specifications of what you need and why. What are your customers like, what is important to them? People in other countries learn about your country. The important thing is that understanding people is the first and most important action in International Business. Included in all of this are the strides in transportation and communications that affect all of our lives. The main reason that traveling by sea, road, rail and air have developed to the extent that they have is that these amazing technologies open new markets and sources of supply for business. Internet technology now enables people of different nations and cultures to communicate instantly anywhere on earth.
At Concordia University, we recognize that International Business has done much to promote peaceful cooperation in the world, but there are also problems that it can cause. For example, some of the export products of West African countries (like cocoa beans for chocolate and shea butter for cosmetics) are harvested by hand in very challenging conditions; sometimes with child labor operating under abusive labor contracts. In International Business class we do not shy away from the challenges, rather we urge engagement with other cultures in our efforts to spread the Christian values of treating others the way we wish to be treated ourselves. You don’t need to be an ordained missionary to carry God’s mission, you can do it through your business vocation by working with others, and helping them when they need help.