6 Conversations to Have when Teaching an International Business Course. A blog around how to teach a course in international business.

6 Conversations to Have when Teaching an International Business Course – A blog around how to teach a course in international business



International business is about trade in goods and services across international borders, involving commercial transactions, supply chain logistics, marketing, and international law. Several sets of people, functions, and organizations are involved in ensuring the smooth conduct of International business. Its sheer magnitude and complexity fuel six essential conversations in teaching an international business course. Effectively teaching international business in any of the top MBA colleges in India needs to include all of these key conversations, in a structured manner, with real-world examples.

1.     Why – Purpose of Global Trade & Marketing

This conversation touches upon the needs and wants of goods and services traded across international borders for various reasons. Such as the demand-supply gap (Wheat exported from India to Egypt) or niche marketing (Alphonso mangoes exported from India to the USA), and more. 

2.     How – Rules, Laws, Governance and Culture

There are international, bilateral and multilateral rules and laws to control international business. The World Trade Organization (WTO) governs global trade rules and regulations. In times of war or natural crisis, the underlying trust and adherence to international law ensure business stability and sustenance. Finance, Trade, and Marketing Institutions play crucial roles. This is apart from governments and strategic relationships (India is extending a credit line, exporting grains, and medicines to Sri Lanka during its economic crisis). Another necessary conversation has to be around cultural dimensions - similarities and differences that can influence global trade.

3.     What – Goods, Services, Currencies

This conversation is at the transactional heart of international business. It can cover geographies, industries, commodities from cattle to coffee to copper, and every possible good and service traded internationally. It could also cover commodity exchanges, trade mechanisms that facilitate global auctions, currency exchange mechanisms, and foreign currency management.

4. When – Time and Season                                                                                  

Timing matters and needs to be included in the conversation, with examples such as future trades committed by buyers to sellers for price stability, stocking, stability, or strategic opportunities. Business strategies of various industries too can leverage the advantage of timing the trades. Example -  an increase in trade volumes during festive seasons or events (such as the Olympics).

5.     Where – Global Trade Logistics

This conversation needs to be about global supply chains, the impact of disruptions (bullwhip effect), the strategic advantages of geo locations for factories (near raw material, water, and essential resources required to run the plant), and stock warehouses.

6.     Who – Consumers, Corporates, Competition, and Catalysts

The spokes driving the wheels of international business are the consumers – B2C, B2B, B2B2C and more such combinations. Competition and Catalysts – Trade promotion councils, social sector entities and political organizations complete a well-rounded conversation in any international business course, such as the PGDM in International Business (IB) offered by The Asia Pacific Institute of Management in New Delhi.


Overall, teaching a course of international business is challenging as well as satisfying. Given its versatility, guidance on electives in the course have been given below, for students to be able to choose what interests them.