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Hinrich Foundation Guide Criteria

The Hinrich Foundation Guide is informed by robust input from an advisory panel of business leaders and academics from across global value chains.

The Guide encompasses six key trade program content areas and eight program attributes.

When evaluating programs, make sure the program you select meets these six core trade course content areas and eight program attributes.

Download the Hinrich Foundation Guide criteria PDF

Trade course content

Trade course content is critical to a quality master’s education that will prepare students for success in international business and trade careers. When evaluating programs, make sure that the program meets all six of these core trade program content areas.

Cross-border trade
Cross-border trade forms the backbone of global commerce, making it a core category for master’s students studying global trade. Prepares students to meet the complexities of global trade, this subject group includes understanding market entry strategies; sustainability in trade sourcing; procurement and negotiation skills; international marketing; traditional and digital sales, and e-commerce.

Cross-border trade policy
Cross-border trade policy is a vital area of study for master’s students interested in international business and global trade careers, equipping graduates to navigate the complex world of cross-border trade regulations and policy formulation. It encompasses trade agreements, geopolitics and global trade systems, current issues in trade and domestic policy impacts, macroeconomics of trade and the international development and trade.

Cross-border logistics & supply chain management
For master’s students focused on global trade management, the cross-border logistics and supply chain management domain enables graduates to design and operate resilient global supply chain networks. It covers international supply chain management strategies; transportation and logistics; big data analytics, data literacy, and digital trade; manufacturing management in a foreign country; and Incoterms and trade documentation.

Cross-border trade finance & accounting
Master’s students pursuing careers in global trade must master cross-border trade finance and accounting to navigate the complex world of cross-border business, trade and investment. This includes import-export trade finance instruments; international accounting, taxation, and insurance principles; financial reporting, governance, and ESG topics; international trade law and arbitration; and customs and tariffs.

Cross-border leadership & soft skills
To thrive in the global business world, graduates must develop robust cross-border leadership and soft skills to confidently lead organizations, navigate cross-cultural dynamics and drive success in the interconnected global marketplace. This includes cross-cultural leadership; global talent management; international strategies and critical thinking; cross-cultural communication and ethics.

Future skills for cross-border trade
To prepare for leadership in tomorrow’s global trade sector, mastering future skills is crucial. Complementing traditional trade knowledge, the following future skills will be indispensable to innovate, enhance efficiency and maintain a competitive edge: blockchain and distributed ledger technologies; artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning skills; Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies; data analytics and visualization; cloud computing and cybersecurity.

Trade program attributes

Program attributes reflected in the Hinrich Foundation Guide highlight the critical importance of how subjects are taught and by whom. Programs that meet these trade program attributes also ensure that the supporting environment for employment and career success are in place. When evaluating programs, evaluate whether the program you select meets all eight of these core trade program attributes.

Industry engagement
Industry engagement – including guest speakers from industry and international trade organizations, workforce development initiatives, talent pipeline, research collaborations and sponsorship – is crucial in bridging the gap between academic theory and real-world practice. It exposes global trade students to the realities of international commerce, providing networking opportunities, practical experience, and ensuring they graduate with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the dynamic world of cross-border business.

Practitioner professors
Having spent years in non-academic roles, practitioner professors in top quality programs provide invaluable industry experience and expertise by giving real-world insights into international trade practices, challenges and emerging trends. This approach ensures graduates are well-equipped with the practical skills and understanding to navigate the complexities of international business immediately upon entering the workforce.

Leading research
The volume and impact of an institution’s publications reflect its commitment to advancing higher level knowledge. When evaluating graduate programs, prospective students should consider faculty’s research output, quality and citations in areas such as trade policy, logistics, finance and technology, among others. These metrics reveal the depth of expertise, research focus and scholarly impact – vital factors for an enriching, high-quality master’s-level education.

Career services
By prioritizing student support and career services, quality programs ensure their graduates are well-prepared for the competitive job market and positioned for long-term professional success in the dynamic field of international commerce. Support should encompass career advising, job portals, recruitment fairs, mentorship programs and alumni networking opportunities.

Employer recruiting
Having a strong network of employers actively recruiting students is a significant asset as it demonstrates the program’s industry relevance and the value employers place on its graduates. It also facilitates crucial networking and interview opportunities that can lead to internships or full-time roles upon graduation.

Employer satisfaction
The number and quality of unique employers actively recruiting from a program reflects their confidence in the knowledge and skills of the graduates. Furthermore, strong employer satisfaction enhances a program’s reputation, attracting top students seeking a competitive edge in the job market. It fosters valuable industry partnerships, facilitating opportunities like internships, guest lectures and collaborative research projects, further enriching the educational experience.

Graduate outcomes
Strong graduate outcomes – the percentage of graduates employed in paid, non-voluntary roles within some period of completing their degree – reflect the program’s effectiveness in producing work-ready professionals for the international trade sector. They result from robust curricula covering latest trends, industry engagement through guest lectures and internships, dedicated career services, practitioner faculty with industry experience, and the program’s reputation and accreditation.

Success in leadership development
Graduates going on to assume senior leadership positions after completing the program validates the program’s curriculum, teaching methods, and overall approach to leadership development. Concurrently, it demonstrates the program’s capacity to impart strategic thinking, decision-making abilities, and leadership qualities essential for navigating complex business landscapes and driving organizational success.

Download the Hinrich Foundation Guide criteria PDF

Selecting master’s programs in international business and trade

To support your global trade studies and career, we offer you the Hinrich Foundation Guide to Master’s in International Business and Trade. Resources include:

Why a master’s in global trade? A master’s degree in this field provides a global perspective, comprehensive capacity-building and international mobility. This prepares graduates to lead an exciting and fulfilling career in global trade that offers professional growth, diverse opportunities and impactful contribution to international development. 
Master’s program criteria Learn what employers are looking for in a quality global trade master’s program, as illustrated in the six trade program content areas and eight trade program attributes.
Exemplary master's programs Program profiles that exemplify the six trade program content areas and eight trade program attributes deemed necessary for high-quality trade education. 
Key questions to ask How to ascertain the information needed to find the program that meets your study and career goals.
Exploring careers in trade Discover a selection of job titles, responsibilities and growth opportunities that await you in cross-border trade.
Trade resources

Open-source white papers and articles, discussion guides, infographics, reading lists and more For Students and For Educators on topics ranging from free trade agreements and digital trade to the WTO and sustainable trade.


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The Hinrich Foundation is eager to hear your feedback on the Hinrich Foundation Guide and our supporting resources. Please contact us at