When did you choose a direction in life? As a toddler, learning about firemen and farmers? As a grade-schooler, dreaming about fame as an athlete, rock star or astronaut? As a teen, untangling the threads of talent and interest and opportunity? As an adult, desperate to find a better path forward than the one you were on?

The business world offers incredible opportunity, and enormous barriers at the same time. Power, wealth and freedom can be just a choice away. The right background, the right competencies, and the right connections are key to making it high up the ranks – or even into the ranks in the first place.

Many of us realize too late that making significant changes to our career direction late in the game is a herculean task. Setting the groundwork for a successful, fulfilling career happens early. Academic achievement and building the right network early can have a strong positive influence on future success. The right school can help with both.

Attending an American international school is one way to unlock future success. International schools offer high quality academic instruction, including such world-class curricula as the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs that ease acceptance into a well-recognized university a key step along the path to a successful business career, but it’s not the only step.

International schools are known for the remarkable diversity of the student body. Populated by a well-travelled enrolment from around the world, early exposure to the international school experience cultivates many desirable skills for the international businessperson. The ability to adapt to change, in the form of classmates coming and going, the social skills to welcome and understand those different from yourself and your own culture, and maintain relationships across geographical, cultural and religious divides are all significant. And the connections and network formed at school can provide valuable opportunities around the world in the future. Having access to information and openings in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, Tokyo or Singapore opens enormous growth possibilities beyond what a local or even regional network could.

Beyond academics and socialization, international schools support a successful future business career journey with a variety of soft-skills. Extra-curricular programming enables students to build curiosity and confidence, to work in teams and negotiate, to understand others and themselves as part of a wider world full of diverse opinions, needs and motivations. While academic achievement is a necessary baseline, it’s the soft skills that help propel students into positions of responsibility, opportunity and authority in the future.

A successful business career journey begins early, long before first job applications are made, or even college specialization discussions. It begins when a child first forms the skills and competencies that they will continue to hone and develop throughout their lives. It’s nurtured through a challenging and encouraging school environment. International schools fuel the next generation of international business leaders by equipping children to understand the world around them and to connect easily with others.

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