The opportunities and sectors of the world are bountiful so there is so much to grab. A career in international business will allow for an exciting experience to meet company goals while working with different cultures. Keep reading to find out how to pursue an International Business career in the UK.

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Academic Routes

Technical Routes

Academic Routes

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Further Education

Higher Education

International Business can be defined as ‘multi commercial transactions (i.e. sales, investment, logistics and transportation) taking place between two or more regions or countries beyond their political boundaries’.

What do I need?

Working in an International Business role, allows for the opportunity to work in business or economics from a global perspective. While careers within International Business are vast, each requires the basic knowledge of how to think business minded from a multi-cultural perspective ensuring the ability to be effective execution across relevant borders.

To stand out, learn a second language or complete an internship in an international country. Managerial level jobs will more than likely require a related postgraduate qualification. However, there are other roles in the field you can immerse in. We explain further below.

Further Education

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BTEC Diploma and AAT Accounting

Access to Higher Education

Further Education is considered Level 3 education in the UK (England, Northern Ireland, and Wales). The most common further education route is A-Levels, but it is not the only option. There are coursework based courses like BTEC. To pursue a Bachelors degree (Level 4) or any undergraduate qualification, you must complete this level of education first.


A-Levels are exam based courses taken post-secondary education. Usually, people take from 3 A-Level subjects as most university courses require at least 3. International Business is essentially a business discipline, hence an A-Level in Business would be a wise decision.

If you have decided what career you would to pursue withing International Business (eg. accountant, policy analyst) you can pick your other A Levels in relation to them. While working in a culturally diverse sector like International Business, it would be an asset to learn a second language. If possible, take an A-Level in a second language. Nonetheless, your other A-Level subjects you choose can be varied.

Do note that A-Levels are not practical. Which means if you do not intend on pursuing further study, you should be building experience in your field while studying. Read more about Internships here.

What qualifications do I need?

A-level courses will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess. Qualifications like CSEC/IGCSE Business may be required but not always mandatory. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university or college you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.

To find A-Level courses search online or Contact us for help.

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BTEC Diploma and AAT Accounting

The process of obtaining these qualifications are more practical in comparison to the more theory-based academic A-Level. You are assessed solely with coursework.

These qualifications are available at different levels from Levels 1-3. At Level 3, the diploma can be equivalent to up to three (3) A-Levels. BTECs can be taken alongside other qualifications (such as an A-Level) and can permit entry to university.

For International Business, universities typically are interested in students who have Business knowledge. Therefore a BTEC in Business is a great way to go.

If you are interested in Accounting but are not interested in going to university, you can complete an AAT in Accounting at Levels 1-4. At Level 4 with an AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting you become a qualified accountant.

What qualifications do I need?

It depends on the BTEC diploma you’re pursuing. Level 3 BTEC diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.

To find BTEC or AAT courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.

But what if I’m over 18 and I have no Level 3 qualifications? We got you below.

Access to Higher Education

Access to Higher Education aka Access to HE is tailored for students aged 19+ who intend to apply for an undergraduate course. These courses take one year, performing as a fast track to higher education.

Universities will typically be looking for students with a business-based background. Access to Higher Education courses in Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, International Relations, etc. are among good options for subjects related to International Business.

What qualifications do I need?

Access to HE diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are customarily mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the school you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.

To find Access to Higher Education courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.

Higher Education

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Foundation Degrees

Undergraduate Degrees

Postgraduate Degrees

Foundation Degrees & Foundation Years

Foundation courses can be taken if your results/tariff points accumulated in a Level 3 qualification were not high enough to allow entry to a standard three-year Bachelors course.

There are two foundation options:

  • Foundation Degree – a standalone qualification (1-2 years) equivalent to one or two years of a Bachelors degree. A top-up degree can be taken afterwards to get the full Bachelors degree.
  • Foundation Year – this is the first year of a four year degree consisting of = 1 foundation year + 3 years of a standard Bachelors degree. At the end of the four-year course, you will receive the same qualification as a three-year Bachelors degree student.

For example, UWE Bristol offers BSc. International Business including a Foundation Year, which lasts for four years. Taking the foundation version would require at least 48 tariff points while the standard three year degree route would require at least 112 tariff points.

After you complete the Foundation degree qualification you can complete a top-up which takes one year to achieve the full Bachelors degree.

What qualifications do I need?

It varies often per university and course but usually, universities require at least 60 tariff points. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS.

To find Foundation courses, enter your area of study and search Foundation degrees here. In the filters select Foundation to only view Foundation courses.

Undergraduate Degrees

All applications to undergraduate courses are accessible via UCAS. Undergraduate courses can come in the form of foundation degrees, HND or Bachelors level. 

International Business is offered as a degree. As explained International Business can take eyou into various careers, therefore you do not have to do a degree titled International Business to be educated on working globally.

If you are unsure which sector of International Business, you would like to get into; you may benefit from doing a standard International Business degree. For more varied choice, Combined/Joint Honours courses or courses with a variety mix of subjects may be better suited to you.

Examples include BA International Business Management and French, International Business Management and Marketing, Arabic for International Business, International Fashion Business, Politics and International Business, International Jewellery Business, Economics, Finance and International Business etc.

Searching International Business courses on UCAS throws a wealthy bunch of universities for you to choose from.

How do I choose which degree?

With the copious choices given, it may make it difficult to decipher which is best for you.

To start narrowing it down, we suggest you first look at the entry requirements to the course and assess your existing or prospective exam/coursework results.

Next, have a look at the modules done by the university and assess if those are relevant to your career if you’ve already chosen. Also view the teaching quality at the university.

Finally, use comparative websites like Discover Uni or the Complete University Guide to compare course satisfaction and other statistics to make informed decisions.

If you have sports or other extra curricular interests you can research universities which offer these to keep your hobbies alive.

Tip: Some university courses offer an integrated placement year (otherwise known as sandwich) where you get the option to work in your industry. This provides you with at least one year of experience in your field prior to graduation.

To view all higher education options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses here.

What qualifications do I need?

It varies per university but largely universities require at least 112 tariff points. Grades in A-Level tend to be at least BBC-AAA for International Business related courses. BTEC diploma grades required tend to be at least DMM. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS. Some courses have foundation entry options which allows you to gain the Foundation qualification and continue the course with lower entry requirements.

Postgraduate Degree

If you already have an undergraduate degree and would like to make a career swap, or you would like to pursue further education we’ve got options for you.

To progress in your career specialisation is key and a good method of doing this is through postgraduate study. International Business is also offered at Postgraduate level so that can be your avenue to specialisation.

If you have never done an International Business or any Business related degree, volunteering or any means to generate experience while pursuing the postgraduate qualification would be essential.

Similar to applying for an undergraduate degree, click here to view options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses. Filter options to Postgraduate. (Some postgraduate courses may not be listed on UCAS so do independent searches online).

Technical Routes

Possible entry-level job routes into International Business sector jobs without a degree can be found as a bank teller, PR agent, HR assistant etc.

Familiarise yourself with different aspects of current affairs or different business/economic struggles the world is facing to build your knowledge. Building relationships with professionals in the industry can build your network and knowledge base.

The following are technical developments to improve your chances within a career.


On an apprenticeship, you’re employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level. – Prospects

To find an apprenticeship through in the UK click here >>


Various businesses in the UK have international branches or global connections. Complete an internship (physical or virtual) with different businesses to gain on the job experience. These can be found via LinkedIn, GradSoc, SocialFixt, SEO London, upReach, Bright Network, Rare Recruitment, via a company page and or simply via Google.

We encourage you to seek internships or volunteering work within the Business sector. If you are still residing in the TCI, enquire at different companies like HLB TCI, Beaches, COMO Parrot Cay for internship opportunities.

Have a browse of some internships in the UK here >>


Try not to decline unpaid opportunities especially if you have no experience if you can afford it. Eventually, you may become a paid worker. Additionally, remember you are building a network which is invaluable and you will gain a head start due to on the job learning.

Enquire at various business companies to do work shadowing or voluntary work to gain experience.

For volunteering opportunities in the UK click here >>

Currently, at university pursuing International Business studies? Volunteer with your lecturers to assist with their research to gain ongoing experience.

Independent Research

Use online resources to build knowledge in your field. Keep abreast with the news, and listen to podcasts or books about your field. For example if you’re a finance enthusiast listen the podcast Pennies to Pounds.

YouTube is your best friend. There are many videos available teaching you more about business, economics, fashion, HR etc. Find your niche and the information will be easier to research.

To find out what immigration hurdles you must pass to pursue education in the UK click here. For financial 411s click here.

Unsure about what International Business is? Read our explanatory post here.

Need help applying for university in the UK? Click here >>
Posted by:Nandina Hislop

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