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Top 5 Study Abroad Destinations for Business Majors

Posted on December 18, 2015

In recent years, much has been said about globalization, its effects on the job market, and how we as a society should address it. Globalization is the breakdown of cultural, language, and legal barriers that previously prevented the interaction and cooperation of various countries. In the business context, this means the international exchange of goods, services, capital, technology, and knowledge becomes increasingly interconnected. Globalization has generated increases in economic growth and creates a broader range of products and services.

Why is this important for college students? Because of globalization, college graduates are no longer only competing against other American graduates and young professionals for jobs, but against talented young people from around the world. To stay competitive in a global job market, students must also develop language skills, soft skills, and cultural competence. In general, studying abroad is an excellent way of developing these skills, but there are specific destinations that stand out as the best for students looking to prepare themselves for a career in a globally competitive business marketplace.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, an organization that analyzes data and develops strategic insights for many of the world's leading global corporations, released a report describing the global cities most likely to have the competitive edge in business over the next decade. This report may offer some perspective as to where business majors should consider studying abroad. Developing relationships and having a first-hand understanding of the local culture in these dynamic locations may provide opportunities for long-term success.

London - London, the capital of England, is widely respected as Europe's leading financial center. Outside of New York City, no other city does more business. Also, the city of London has experienced significant job growth despite the economic turmoil over the last decade with 85,000 jobs being added between 2009 and 2013. The financial services industry plays a vital role in the City of London's economy, currently accounting for 38% of all employment. By 2013, London is expected to add another 41,000 jobs.

Ideal for: Business majors seeking careers in finance and banking.

Singapore - Singapore is an island city-state in Southeast Asia which is very densely populated, with an economy that is heavily supported by foreign workers. In 2013, the government forecasted that by 2030, immigrants will make up more than 50% of the population. Singapore has also been ranked as the easiest place to do business ten years in a row by the World Bank. Singapore is also one of Asia's leading countries in high tech industries.

Ideal for: Students interested in business careers related to technology.

Hong Kong - Hong Kong, a territory of China, is an economic powerhouse. Although China controls Hong Kong's foreign and defense policies, the territory has its currency and customs status and is known as the freest economy in the world. Hong Kong's economy has moved away from manufacturing and is now services-based and is a major corporate, banking, and trade center. Hong Kong is also expected to continue to be the gateway to China, which is projected to be the world's largest economy in 2025.

Ideal for: Students interested in the international trade and banking industries.

Tokyo - Tokyo, Japan has the most significant metropolitan economy in the world. According to Fortune Magazine, of the companies listed on the Global 500, more are based in Tokyo than any other city. Tokyo is also a major international finance center and houses the headquarters of several of the world's largest investment banks and insurance companies, and serves as a hub for Japan's transportation, publishing, electronics and broadcasting industries. Although the declining birth rate is causing concern, the available jobs are at their highest.

Ideal for: Students interested in business related to finance and technology.

Sydney - Sydney, Australia is known for its art and culture but is also a city that should be on the radar of every business major interested in studying abroad. Sydney contributed 37.9 percent of Australia's economic growth in 2013-14 and is projected to add almost 30,000 jobs over the next five years. As in other cities on this list, the financial sector is a major factor, followed by manufacturing, professional services, construction, and real estate services. Sydney is also a truly international city with almost 40% of its residents born outside of Australia.

Ideal for: Students interested in finance, operations, and marketing.

Authored by: Byron Francis

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