International Business

International Business

International Business Department Website

Develop a global mindset and the skills required to navigate an increasingly complex world for careers in business, government, and international organizations.

Drake is one of a few universities with a major in international business. The International Business major prepares students for work in organizations whose owners, employees, customers, and/or suppliers are not confined to the borders of one nation. Those who choose this major will learn about marketing goods and services around the world, global supply chains, exchange rates and capital markets, and the different forms of ownership and corporate structures that exist in non-U.S. countries. They will also consider the dramatic impact of culture on the behavior of individuals in organizations and on the contracting and negotiating process of international trade. They will learn to compare the business climate of developed and developing nations and learn how companies compete in a global business economy. Finally, International Business students are exposed to ethical issues and the impact of business decisions on global ecology.

Along with the business core, the curriculum requires a strong foundation in culture, history, language, and politics. It is the only major in the Zimpleman College of Business that requires international experience and proficiency in a second language. There is a strong experiential emphasis for students to work with organizations and governments around the world on their current opportunities and challenges.

The International Business major is designed for students seeking specialized education in operations of multinational enterprises, international banks, global non-profits, and government agencies. Such organizations include all forms of business; the departments of Commerce, State, and Treasury; international institutions such as the Export-Import Bank, World Bank, and Overseas Investment Corporation; as well as state and local agencies.


While there are no high school level requirements for the international business major, students with this interest are strongly encouraged to study foreign languages and take any other courses that expose them to a variety of cultures and world events. Strong written and oral communication skills and a good foundation in the use of information technology are encouraged. Courses in business and economics may also be beneficial.

The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study to leverage the general education requires to develop regional expertise that prepares students for civic and professional leadership in a global arena.


Requirements for a major include 18 credits in the Zimpleman College of Business. Students work with advisors to put together a portfolio of applicable elective courses that match their career ambitions.

Students must demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English. Proficiency can be demonstrated by college credit or through examination at the intermediate level (second year, college level). Non-English native speakers demonstrate foreign language proficiency implicitly by taking their classes in English while at Drake. Many IB majors complete a minor in a foreign language of choice and/or one of the minors in regional area studies e.g., Latin American studies.

Participation in a semester abroad is highly encouraged. The best time for this experience is in the spring of the sophomore year or the fall or spring of the junior year. A semester abroad requires careful identification of courses abroad that satisfy graduation requirements and careful scheduling of courses before and after the study-abroad semester. For those students who cannot be away for an entire term, a combination of short-term travel seminars and internship experiences may also satisfy this requirement.


Internship opportunities are available during the school year with businesses, non-profits, and public agencies in the Des Moines area. The career services team within the CBPA works to support students in finding placements. Summer opportunities extend to other regions of the country. These paid internships allow students to gain additional experience in international-related business operations. Students in study abroad programs are sometimes able to incorporate an internship into their time overseas.


International business majors often enter as specialists or trainees in multi-national corporations, which may include assignments allowing for international experiences. Graduates are prepared to advance through specialist, supervisory and managerial ranks in multi-national corporations, international trading companies, government agencies, and international institutions such as the Export-Import Bank, World Bank, and Overseas Investment Corporation. Most international business students complete a second major in a functional area such as accounting, finance, marketing, or management. The functional area major helps employers in placing the graduate within an organization.


We love talking about the great things happening at Drake, but nothing beats a visit to campus. Let us know you're coming, and we'll arrange for you to meet professors, sit in on a class, or just hang out with current students.


Jeff Kappen
Associate Professor of International Business

Matthew Mitchell
Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy

International Business Department Website