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Study International Business at Otago

Conducting business in the global village

Business is being conducted in a dynamic, global environment, and organisations, both in New Zealand and throughout the world, need individuals who can work across the traditional functional boundaries as well as across national borders. International Business prepares you for a global career.

You’ll study a combination of business, language and culture subjects, giving you an excellent knowledge base to work internationally. Plus, you’ll have the chance to travel overseas while you complete your degree with Otago’s renowned international student exchange programme.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Why study International Business?

The world has never been more connected. Technology advances such as the internet, smartphones, email and social media mean that we can now conduct business from wherever we are in the world – not just from our home offices. International Business is concerned with strategies for doing business in this global environment.

Studying International Business at Otago will provide you with an understanding of how people from different cultures do business. It will teach you how to deal with different cultures, languages, laws, institutions, companies and communities around the world.

Background required

There are no formal prerequisites for studying International Business at Otago, except a desire to learn about other cultures and the way business is conducted in other countries. English and statistics are nonetheless recommended. While the course features a language and culture component, you do not need to have studied a language at school.

There are two 100-level papers offered for each language at Otago – one for absolute beginners and the other for those with some knowledge of the language.

Career opportunities

A degree in International Business opens up a world of opportunities! Our graduates are well prepared to assess and solve business issues at the global level across sectors and industries – from financial markets to management, from trade to marketing. And because you learn a language as part of the degree, your options open up further – French is spoken in 47 countries, German is used for business across central and Eastern Europe, and Spanish is the first language for more than 300 million people… not to mention Japanese and Chinese!

Examples of areas you could work in include:

  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Foreign Economic Relations
  • International Trade and Investments
  • International Marketing and Business Strategy
  • Management Consulting or Operations
  • Government Departments, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

International Business at Otago

International Business is a major of the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), a three-year degree programme.

Within the degree, you will study a range of business papers covering the fundamentals of accounting, business statistics, economics, finance, information and communication technology, management and marketing.

In addition, you will study six papers related to language and culture. You can choose one language from Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Combined, the business and language papers will teach you the principles of international business and how to work in the international arena.

Course structure

The International Business BCom is comprised of 252 points (equivalent to14 papers) in Commerce and 108 points (equivalent to six papers) in additional language and/or cultural papers. Thus the total number of points for your degree is a minimum of 360. The International Business degree is quite structured, so you should plan your degree carefully. Take the time to map out which papers you will be taking from one year to the next by using the latest Guide to Enrolment. If in doubt, email the Programme Director:

Teaching style

Papers are generally taught as lectures and tutorials, but some of the language papers also include video and internet-based learning. Assessment will vary depending on the paper, but may include essays and reports, oral presentations and exams.

Degree options

International Business is a valuable general business degree and goes well with a range of other majors and degrees offered at Otago, including the BACom and BComSc combined degrees. Popular combinations include Languages, Law, Management, Marketing, Economics, Finance, Computer Science, Political Science and Tourism.

Minor option or diploma in Language and Culture

Taking a minor or a Diploma in Language and Culture in addition to your BCom in International Business is possible, and is highly encouraged. For more information on how to minor in a language, consult the Department of Languages and Culture.


Student exchange

The University of Otago has exchange agreements with more than 90 institutions in over 30 countries. If your marks average B or better, you may qualify to attend one of these institutions for one semester or for a year. You pay only your New Zealand fees and complete your qualification within the same timeframe as if you’d never been away. The Business School also offers excellent travel scholarships for students travelling on exchange.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in International Business

Level Papers Points

BSNS 113  Economic Principles and Policy

MANT 101  Managing for Performance

BSNS 111 Business and Society, BSNS 112 Interpreting Business Data, BSNS 114 Financial Decision Making, BSNS 115 Accounting and Information Systems – must normally be taken in first year of study





ECON 201  Microeconomics

MANT 217  International Management, or MANT 222 Interpersonal / International Business Communication

One further Commerce paper at 200-level

Language papers as outlined below






ECON 302  International Trade

MANT 332  International Management, or MANT 342  Global Business Strategy

MART 326  International and Export Marketing

One further Commerce paper at 300-level






Additional 18-point paper**

Approved language and culture papers*
108 points with a minimum of 36 of these 108 points at 200-level or above.

If English or Māori is the student’s first language, these 108 points must include at least 72 points of language papers in one language, an 18 point culture paper, and an additional 18 points of either language or culture papers (preferably including a business language paper if available).

If neither English nor Māori is the student’s first language, these 108 points must include language papers (not the student’s first language) and/or cultural papers as approved by the Director, International Business.

* Papers requiring approval will in the first instance be approved by the Department concerned. However, overall approval including the appropriate language and culture papers shall rest with the Director of the International Business major.

**The further 18-point paper may need to be a Commerce paper, and/or it may need to be at 200-level or above in order to satisfy the regulations for the Bachelor of Commerce, depending on a student’s individual course of study. Please refer to the Bachelor of Commerce regulations or seek course advice for clarification.






Every programme must include BSNS 111-115. At least three of these papers must be passed before enrolling in any 200-level Commerce paper, and all must be passed before enrolling in any 300-level Commerce paper. For single-degree BCom students, all five must be attempted in the first year of study or equivalent.

STAT 110 or STAT 115 will be accepted as an alternative to BSNS 112 as a required paper or as part of the major subject requirements or as a prerequisite when:
(a) the paper has been passed before the student has enrolled for a BCom degree; or
(b) a student is enrolling for both a BCom and another degree for which STAT 110 or STAT 115 is required.

Total 360

Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in International Business

  • IBUS 480 Dissertation

  • International papers at 400-level from Commerce subjects worth 60 points as approved by the Director, International Business

  • Further international papers at 400-level worth at least 20 points from either Commerce subjects or Arts subjects, as approved by the Director, International Business

Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) in International Business

  • International papers at 400-level in Commerce subjects, worth 80 points as approved by the Director, International Business

  • Further international papers at 400-level worth at least 40 points in either Commerce or Arts subjects, as approved by the Director, International Business

Master of Commerce (MCom) in International Business

  • Thesis: IBUS 5

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Management
Otago Business School