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College » BA » Programs » PhD » Areas » International Business

International Business

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The field of International Business comprises the study of cross border firms and their operations from a global, regional, or comparative perspective. Because doing business internationally entails increased complexities across all business functions, the study of international business requires the scholar to develop multi-disciplinary expertise. The goal of our doctoral program is to prepare students to contribute to the advancement of both theory and practice in international business by generating new knowledge through rigorous interdisciplinary research.

At Illinois, students are trained to integrate relevant knowledge from various disciplines (for example, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology) and to apply this knowledge to the study of important issues in international business. They collaborate with members of our multi-disciplinary faculty group on cutting edge research that is often published in leading journals. Recent graduates have received job offers from Brandeis University, City University of New York, Cornell University, INSEAD, National Chengchi University (Taiwan), State University of New York at Buffalo, St. Louis University, and Yonsei University (Korea).

In addition to its world-class faculty, our program is also distinguished by its small size and high prestige among peer institutions. We stress one-to-one student-faculty interaction. Foreign language expertise and experience living and working abroad, especially in business settings, are highly valued.

Program of Study

During the first two years, students develop a strong conceptual understanding of the international business field through coursework selected in consultation with a faculty advisor. They take core seminars covering the economic, institutional, and behavioral analysis of the multinational corporation, supporting courses in a related field, and advanced seminars in a selected area of specialization. Students develop research skills through courses in research methodology and statistical analysis and through in depth discussions and critiques of assigned readings. They also take courses in area studies to acquire cultural knowledge about a particular country or region.

Students are required to choose a minor area of study. Courses for the minor are selected from within the Department, the College, and across campus. Examples of minors include strategic management, marketing, organizational theory and behavior, industrial organization economics, political science, international studies, and sociology. Research pro seminars, an integral part of the doctoral program, expose students to recent developments in international business research. Speakers include visiting scholars from around the world, faculty from the University of Illinois, and doctoral students in the Department of Business Administration, and other departments in the College of Business.

The knowledge gained during the first two years of study helps students select a dissertation topic that becomes the focus of their third and fourth years of study. They are encouraged to investigate topics that open new research agendas in the field and challenge existing paradigms. In addition to the dissertation work, students may conduct research in a variety of other settings such as course projects, co-authoring research with the faculty (often published in major journals), and assistantship work.


Our program is supported by a multi-disciplinary group of faculty members. They are recognized leaders in their respective areas of specialization and have disciplinary backgrounds in business history, economics, law, marketing, organization studies, social psychology, sociology, and strategic management. Many have held leadership positions in academic and professional associations, and served as editors or editorial board members of leading academic journals in both the international business and related fields.

Current research conducted by our faculty include such diverse topics as internationalization and market entry strategy, emerging market risk assessment, cross border mergers and acquisitions, product development for subsistence markets, cultural influence on consumer behavior, business group performance in Asian economies, measurement of national competitiveness, international human resource management, and cross-border e-commerce and internet marketing.

For a complete list of International Business faculty members please visit our faculty directory.

Current Students

For a complete list of current candidates in International Business please visit our PhD student directory.


UIUC College of Business