Colleges Change International Business Courses to Adapt to Today’s Market


One constant struggle in higher ed is making sure that courses keep pace with the real-world. That is particularly tough in an area like global trade, where markets and technology are constantly changing.

Across California, community colleges in the Global Trade sector are revamping the way they teach international business to cover topics that are relevant to jobs students will take on today and in the future.

Leah Goold-Haws, Statewide Director for Global Trade, sees international business as covering fields as diverse as e-commerce, search engine optimization, and data analysis.

“Some of the biggest challenges are the many misconceptions as to the role of global trade in the economy and in employment opportunities,” Goold-Haws said. “Additionally, as technologies make globalization increasingly more accessible to companies from every sector, job titles are rapidly changing and are not accurately reflected in the current data sources.”

Goold-Haws is working with Global Trade regional directors to implement curriculum changes and innovations around the way they teach international business and related courses.

“The good news is that many colleges are already training students in the digital landscape, including e-commerce,” she said. “This creates an opportunity to empower students as they move into the workforce with highly coveted skills that enable global sales.”

Not only will teaching these skills prepare students for future careers, it will also help meet current workforce demand. ZipRecruiter lists more than 13,000 jobs in e-commerce, including job titles such as web & e-commerce manager. There are more than 16,000 similar positions listed in Indeed and 7,000 listed on CareerBuilder.

In the Los Angeles Region, Global Trade is closely connected to programs in marketing, finance, and other areas. Regional Director Ruth Amanuel is working to build even more connections between education and industry to ensure students are prepared for automation and other changing aspects of business and trade.

“We continue to advocate and articulate the importance of internationalizing community college programs so students are exposed to career pathways in Global Trade in all areas of study,” Ammanuel said. “Our goal is to forge industry partnerships and bring insights to our colleges to ensure our students studying international business today are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Global trade job opportunities continue to grow at a fast pace in the South Central Coast Region, prompting colleges to expand their classes to add global components, according to Regional Director Adeline Polis.

For example, Moorpark College is creating a certificate in global business that will cover the fundamentals of international business, marketing, law, and logistics.

“The cross-discipline curriculum will also explore different cultures and various geopolitical environments,” said Moorpark College Business Chair Navreet Sumal.

Goold-Haws also encourages colleges to consider how they can further strengthen relationships with employers and solicit input about what they are looking for in courses and curricula.

“Employers are looking for opportunities to collaborate with colleges in amplifying existing programs that have relation to their trade activities such as web design, digital marketing, social media, data analysis, and e-commerce courses,” she said. “Additionally, employers want students to be exposed to using these tools with an understanding of how they can be leveraged for foreign customer acquisition.”

More to explore