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Discover careers in international trade

Are you having difficulty choosing a major for your university studies? Do you already have a job, but are you considering a career change soon? Whatever your situation, this overview of the different international trade professions could inspire you.

What is international trade and why work in it?

By international trade, understand the exchange of goods and services between several distinct states. The professions revolve around import and export. The first activity consists of selling products abroad. The other involves bringing in and selling goods on the national market. France mainly imports raw materials, mining resources, hydrocarbons, foodstuffs, textiles and cars. French economic operators export fashion items, wine products, planes and jewelry.

The fall in the price of modern transport and the democratization of means of communication, including the Internet, have given an exponential rise to international trade. This growing sector requires a lot of labor. Ranging from logistics and marketing to customs declarants, buyers and business law experts, the skills required in this field are extremely varied. Moreover, it is always possible to learn certain trades without following very long studies. Jack Ma (founder of Ali Baba), Richard Branson (CEO of Virgin) launched into business without any particular qualifications.

However, there will be many more opportunities for a business school graduate, whatever the mention (specialization). Professionals in the sector have the opportunity to travel, learn English and open up to other cultures. It is also entirely possible to collaborate with foreign suppliers without leaving home thanks to technologies (NICT). Expatriation is possible with its share of benefits, especially with a particularly advantageous euro conversion rate in the southern hemisphere. Then there is the salary which remains relatively comfortable. It evolves according to the results that the person brings to their company.

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Training opening the door to different professions

Although it is entirely possible to get into import-export business without a university degree, it is strongly recommended to pursue higher education before entering the profession. Business schools like IPAG offer courses ranging from Bac+2 to Bac+5.

Issued after two years of study, the higher technician certificate or BTS International Commerce gives access to different positions. His training allows him to manage operations such as customs declaration, prospecting, purchasing or marketing. In addition to theoretical courses, students in this sector must also acquire experience in the professional environment as an intern.

Equivalent to the Bac+3, the Bachelor International Commerce allows access to managerial positions. In addition to the technical skills acquired during their certificate, the learner deepens other areas. Logistics should no longer hold any secrets for him. Its training program also includes foreign deployment strategy and international marketing. Otherwise, he will also master business English, customs rights and various topics.

With a bac+5, i.e. the Master in International Commerce, the graduate has advanced know-how in supply chain or management. He has a good chance of landing a position as head of international development, chief buyer, etc. In any case, this is a versatile profile capable of managing a team. The prospect of a career abroad as an import-export operations manager is more than likely.

Some examples of professions in international trade

The nomenclature and job description may change from one company to another. This is also the case for salary. However, the next careers might interest you.

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Responsible for international purchasing

Also called an international buyer, this manager begins by determining a company’s exact needs. Often holding a Bachelor’s degree (bac+3) or more, they must study the costs and establish the best way to obtain the necessary goods or services. He should perfectly master the supply chain as well as the various adventures of importing.

His work requires the head buyer to negotiate prices and conditions in different languages. Resolving disputes with French-speaking suppliers is part of its responsibilities. From time to time, he travels abroad to prospect. Relationship skills and great objectivity are necessary to practice this profession. The annual salary of an international purchasing manager is around €50,000.

Business development manager

This position is accessible to all business school graduates, in this case holders of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The job essentially consists of analyzing a market and implementing a strategy to conquer it. This requires marketing talent, foresight and, above all, keen business sense. The remuneration is progressive, but is between €2,800 and €5,000.

Soft skills, i.e. personal qualities, are expected from the business development manager. Working within a multinational or a rapidly expanding company, he can rise to the rank of director of import-export operations after a few years of experience.

Responsible for international logistics

Logistics encompasses the transportation and storage of a company’s physical assets. The logistician thus manages the movements of goods or raw materials. Sometimes he has to do it internationally. He knows the import-export processes perfectly and his profession generally leads him to inspect hangars. This manager works closely with the people responsible for packaging, palletizing, packing the container, unloading at the port, etc.

You need to pursue higher education to become an international logistician. Several courses lead to this position, but 2 to 3 years of training in a business school can help you get it. An international logistics technician earns €50,000 per year. This person can work with a transport company, a commercial company or a non-profit organization operating abroad.

Director of import-export operations

This position of responsibility is reserved for holders of a master 2, i.e. a bac+5 in International Business. The person occupying it must guarantee the smooth running of import and export operations. Knowing the market, it is in her interest to implement flow planning so that there are no stock shortages.

The success of the Sypply Chain depends on the efficiency of the Import-Export operations manager. In any case, this executive is surrounded by a multidisciplinary team. He should also develop negotiation skills in addition to mastering business English. The salary starts around €4,000 for a beginner, but can be doubled after a few years of experience. Business results matter a lot.

Other careers in international trade

  • The import-export broker exercises a profession which does not require any particular qualification. On the other hand, you need real skills to succeed in the profession. This trade intermediary helps his client to reduce prices. He also conducts research on behalf of a buyer and prospects with multiple suppliers. In all cases, this facilitator earns a commission for each transaction.
  • Sales manager, this person’s mission is to ensure that goods intended for a foreign market or for domestic consumers are correctly marketed. Equipped with keen business acumen, the Sale Manager has financial objectives to honor in order to receive a fixed salary plus a commission. He has to travel a lot and should have many contacts for his work.
  • The Export assistant often holds a bac+2 degree. Under the responsibility of a director, his mission is to monitor the progress of files. He must regularly report the situation of an expedition. He is also the contact person for the various stakeholders, in this case the carriers, customs declarants as well as the delivery people and the end customer. It’s a progressive job paid from €2,000 net per month.