International Business Major in Massachusetts

College graduates who have majored in international business through one of Massachusetts’ respected business schools have unique opportunities, as the state’s economy is deeply vested in international trade. Today, roughly 921,000 jobs in the state depend on foreign trade. According to the Business Roundtable, an association of top CEOs from America’s largest corporations, trade-related employment in Massachusetts grew more than three times faster than total employment in the last decade. Trade through the Port of Boston, the oldest continuously active port in the Western Hemisphere, contributes more than $2 billion to the state’s economy each year. According to the Port of Boston website, the international port directly supports more than 34,000 jobs in the state.

According to the International Trade Administration, in 2010 Massachusetts-based companies exported goods and services that totaled more than $26 billion. Export-related jobs accounted for 4.9% of Massachusetts’ total private-sector employment, and over 27% of jobs related to manufacturing in the state.

A total of 8,797 Massachusetts-based companies exported goods and materials in 2009. Most of these businesses, 90% in fact, fell within the small to medium sized business classification for having 500 or fewer employees. The Business Roundtable notes that jobs at firms that forge international trade connections pay 18% more on average than non-exporting firms and add jobs almost four times as fast.

Massachusetts’ International Trade Partners

Canada is Massachusetts’ number one trade partner, with the state posting exports to the northern neighbor totalling $3.2 billion, accounting for 12% of the state’s total exports in 2010. Canada is followed by the U.K. as the state’s second biggest trade partner, having received just over $3 billion in exports from Massachusetts. China is third with $2.2 billion, followed by Japan with $2 billion and Germany, having received $1.9 billion in exports from Massachusetts in 2010.

The state’s largest export is computer and electronic products, accounting for $7.5 billion, followed by chemicals, industrial machinery and primary metals. This diverse export base allows the state economy to remain resilient even when specific sectors experience downturns.

International Business Jobs in Massachusetts

Among the biggest international businesses based in Massachusetts is A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems.  Headquartered in Watertown, A123 Systems employs 2,000 people worldwide, according to the company website. Another major U.S. multi-national company located in Massachusetts is Bose Corporation, a world leader in audio technology that exports to countries all over the world. According to the Bose website, the headquarters located in Framingham employs over 5,000 corporate staff and other workers.

Foreign-controlled companies bring capitol investments into domestic markets, enriching local economies and providing jobs. In 2009, foreign-controlled companies employed 185,000 Massachusetts workers, accounting for 6.6% of the state’s total employment.

Some major multi-national companies with operations in Massachusetts include BAE Systems, the world’s second largest global defense company, which runs an Electronic Solutions facility in Burlington, one of its 130 sites across the globe, and employees 46,200 workers worldwide. John Hancock Financial Services of Canada has its U.S. headquarters in Boston and Nokia, the Finnish communications giant, runs a research facility in Cambridge. Toyota and Honda of Japan also have significant operations in the state.

Making International Business Contacts in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is rich in resources for those seeking information about careers in international business:

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