BSc in Business, Asian Language and Culture - International Business in Asia

BSc IBA teaches you to manage the fundamentally different challenges businesses face in Asian markets or when working with Asian companies. This unique programme combines business expertise with Asian political, economic and cultural understanding and Chinese language skills.

We all know that Asia is hugely important as the producer of more and more of the world’s consumer goods and that the Asian markets are rapidly growing in size and importance. We can also read about the increasing global economic and political influence of China. However, from a business perspective Asia is about much more than just big markets, high growth rates and economic power. It is about understanding a part of the world that is fundamentally and very quickly rewriting the rules of global competition and business.

Understanding new rules and a different playing field
Companies need specialists that understand and can adapt business activities to the very different playing field that applies in an Asian business context. The Western approach to commerce is no longer dominant – now the East is doing business on its own terms. One example would be how Asian state intervention and state subsidies shift the competitiveness of industries and companies. Another would be how very large Asian state or family owned business conglomerates create a highly complex business environment where you need to understand the whole network that a company is part of in order to do business. Yet another example would be how historical and cultural patterns create a very different setting for negotiations, communication and relationships with Asian partners. Asian business understanding is not an add-on to a traditional business education. It is a specialisation in itself.

Managing complexity across borders and cultures
To create Asia business specialists who can successfully navigate this complexity the BSc IBA focuses on three key areas: 

  1. you must understand business conditions through traditional management courses such as finance, accounting, marketing and organisation. 
  2. you must understand the special conditions of Asian business, economics and markets.
  3. you must understand the cultural traits and traditions that shape Asian societies and Asian business and management cultures. 

These three key areas are of equal importance. It is the integrated understanding you will gain from working with all three together that will allow you to understand and analyse Asian business challenges, risks and opportunities – and develop and implement relevant solutions.

The programme also includes a significant language component where you will learn both written and spoken Mandarin Chinese. Understanding Chinese is an important key to gaining a deeper understanding of Asian culture. At the same time, your language skills will allow you to access information and form personal relationships that are important for doing business in Asia and which non-Chinese speakers cannot. Of course, Chinese is just one of many Asian languages but is increasingly becoming the principal Asian business language along with English.

Hands-on experience in Asia
The unique four-year structure of the programme allow students to spend two full semesters in Asia. All students spend the fourth semester at Beijing International Studies University. In addition, you can spend the seventh semester on exchange in China or another Asian country. This allows you to gain practical intercultural experience while also improving your Chinese language proficiency.

What you should be interested in if you choose BSc IBA
It is important that you are interested in both the business and the language and culture aspects of the programme. You need to be interested in:
  • how companies with business activities in Asia function internally as well as how they interact with the world around them.
  • the political, economic and structural challenges companies face when they operate in Asia.
  • Asian culture and history – and how they impact on Asian management traditions and business conditions.
  • the Chinese language

Challenges in BSc IBA

Many of the challenges of studying at university are the same for all programmes. 

Each study programme also has some particular challenges that are important to think about before you choose the programme. How well do these challenges correspond to the sort of person you are, how you like to work and the things you are good at?

Chinese is a very demanding language to learn. For many students this will be the biggest challenge of all – and it requires a lot of self-discipline. You cannot allow yourself periods where you fall behind or it will be very hard work to catch up again.

Different study techniques
At the same time as you face the challenges of learning the Chinese language you will also be working with courses in business and related areas. Balancing your time between language and business courses requires structure and the ability to plan ahead.

Different subjects require different ways of studying. You will need to develop different study techniques for working with business and economics courses, cultural and societal courses and Chinese language studies. This takes time and you need to be comfortable with that.

Many different courses
The many different courses within many different areas of study mean that it takes time before you fully understand how the different courses and topics relate to one another. Often it is not until the second or third year that everything comes together in your head and you get a clear picture of all the aspects of the programme’s scope. As an Bsc IBA student you therefore need to be open to feeling a little confused and not yet seeing the full picture for the first semesters of the programme.

Maths as a tool
In about a third of the mandatory courses in IBA you will use maths as a tool. You will not use maths that is complicated beyond the entry requirement for the programme, but you need to be comfortable having one or two courses each semester where you use maths and do calculations at a practical level.

What BSc IBA can give you

The programme will give you:

  • an understanding of the cultural idiosyncrasies of Asian culture and the special challenges of doing business in Asia
  • tools and understandings for developing business strategies for working with Asian partners or operating on Asian markets
  • Chinese language skills

Master’s programmes and career options
The clear majority of students from IBA are expected to continue to a two-years master’s programme for a total of five years of study. It is very much the master’s rather than the bachelor programme that determines which career paths that lay open to you.


Overview of courses

1st year 2nd year
Introduction to China’s History, Culture and Society 1
7.5 ECTS
Introduction to China’s History, Culture and Society 2
7.5 ECTS

Asian Business Systems: State, Institutions & the Global economy
7.5 ECTS

Applied Research Project
7.5 ECTS
Introduction to International Business
7.5 ECTS

Methods 1
7.5 ECTS

7.5 ECTS

Methods 2
7.5 ECTS


Propaedeutics 1

Chinese Propaedeutics 2


Propaedeutics 3


Propaedeutics 4

3rd year 4th year

Asian Economic Organisation & Competitiveness
7.5 ECTS

Organisation in Asia
7.5 ECTS


Advanced Topics in International Business in Asian Markets
7.5 ECTS

Managerial Accounting
7.5 ECTS

Principles of Corporate Finance
7.5 ECTS

7.5 ECTS

Chinese Language

China Studies
with Language

Bachelor Project


The page was last edited by: Student Affairs // 02/21/2018