Successful careers in international business require an economic environment dynamically connected to foreign markets and supported in turn by robust foreign investment. Few states in the Midwest meet these requirements like Kansas. According to the International Trade Administration, Kansas exported $9.9 billion in goods and services to foreign markets in 2010. Almost 7.4% of all jobs in the state were linked to exports, while more than 25% of the state’s manufacturing jobs are dependent on foreign trade. International commerce in Kansas is not limited to just a few large corporations, rather it is spread across the private sector with 2,336 companies exporting goods and materials to foreign markets. The global business opportunities that exist with both large multi-nationals and smaller Kansas-based companies has international business majors in the state eager to join the workforce.
Kansas has managed to maintain a strong economy, with an employment rate well above the national average according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Kansas remains an agricultural powerhouse situated in the Grain Belt, the economy also continues to diversify as the state becomes a major contributor to domestic oil and natural gas production.
With relatively low sales and state income taxes and a reasonable cost-of-living, Kansas is a desirable place to live and work, whether it be in the urban center of Kansas City or in a more rural locale. With its deep connections to vibrant global markets, in addition to an anticipated increase in foreign investment in the state, Kansas will continue to provide a solid platform from which to launch a career in international business.
Kansas’s International Trade Partners
Like many of its mid-western neighbors, Kansas takes advantage of its proximity to Canada to forge strong trade relations, exporting $2.6 billion in goods and raw materials to the country in 2009, according to the International Trade Administration. Mexico is the state’s next largest trade partner, importing $1.3 billion in goods and materials from Kansas in 2009, followed by the Asian markets of Japan at $586 million and China at $527 million. The Business Roundtable, an association made up of corporate executives from America’s top companies, has reported that India is one of the state’s fastest growing trade partners, receiving $134.4 million in exports from Kansas in 2010, an increase of 539% since 2002. Thousands of Kansas-based businesses from many different industries trade with over 190 foreign markets, establishing Kansas as a major player in the global trade network.
International Business Jobs in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Commerce has trade representatives working with Asian and European trade blocks in an effort to grow international trade and to entice direct investment from foreign-owned companies. According to the International Trade Administration, foreign controlled firms employed over 50,000 Kansas workers and corporate professionals in 2009, the bulk of which were with companies headquartered in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.
The Business Roundtable notes that well-established foreign firms are often a boon for their workers and the local economy. In fact, U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies pay employees an average of $68,317 per year, 32% more than comparable U.S. owned firms.
Some foreign-owned firms with major operations in Kansas include Airbus North America of France, which employed 300 people at its engineering and design center in Wichita as of October 2011. Allianz Financial Services headquartered in Germany and Philips Electronics of the Netherlands have offices in Kansas, as does global banking and financial services company, HSBC of the United Kingdom.
One of the largest multi-national companies to call Kansas home is Sprint-Nextel, which has over 40,000 employees working around the globe. According to the company’s website, Sprint now hosts over 11,000 employees at its sprawling Overland Park corporate headquarters.
Companies like these with offices around the world require the services of professionals trained in the many aspects of international business. International Accountants knowledgeable of International Financial Reporting Standards streamline financial reporting between U.S. and foreign-based companies. Foreign Market Analysts help identify, characterize and make viable potential markets, while cultural advisors and liaisons familiarize executives and marketing teams with cultural norms unique to the markets they seek to enter.
Making International Business Contacts in Kansas
The state of Kansas is rich in resources for those seeking information about careers in international business: