Domestic, Transnational, or Multinational Business?

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Business Administration

After earning their Master of Business Administration, graduates can choose to pursue career opportunities in domestic, transnational, or multinational business. The most notable differences between these types of organizations are where their central operations occur and the extent to which they operate beyond that location.

Here’s a detailed look at each of these MBA job opportunities, plus an overview of how the D’Amore-McKim School of Business can prepare graduates to pursue their avenue of choice.


Domestic business

Companies that operate mostly or solely within one country are domestic firms. The products and services are typically tailored to the local environment, which may lead customers to trust or prefer domestic companies over foreign businesses.

Domestic businesses in the United States follow the country’s securities laws, and generally construct their financial reports according to the generally accepted accounting principles, as noted by Fidelity. Domestic business owners manage their own balance sheets without needing to consider the currency, tax regulations, and financial reporting differences of other countries like an international company would.

Another facet of this business environment is the multi-domestic strategy, which is when companies cater their products or services to the local environment of each region or country in which they conduct business. The Houston Chronicle highlighted American theme parks as prime examples. They alter rides, attractions, and food offerings depending on the theme park’s location, whether it be in Florida, Virginia, or even a European country. This gives the parks a local rather than foreign reception from the public.

The advantages

The domestic environment is much simpler than transnational, multinational, and other international business endeavors. Operating in a domestic environment only requires following the domestic set of rules and requirements. Market analysis also has a narrower focus on fewer regions, as opposed to predicting the needs and preferences of several cultures across various countries. As a result, domestic businesses can often establish and capitalize on a market niche. While some domestic companies require bilingual communications, it is not rare for domestic offices to work in only one language.

The disadvantages

While outsourcing is an option, domestic firms can be limited to the audience, materials, labor, resources, and profit opportunities available within the country’s borders. Domestic businesses also tend to have less reach than companies operating in an international business environment.


Transnational business

Operations become more complex within transnational companies. They combine domestic and global strategies, using a central control structure to manage all operating units as an integrated global company. For instance, an operating unit in China may be responsible for manufacturing, while one in the United States handles global marketing, and another in Germany leads research and development.

The result is a commercial enterprise that runs several facilities and conducts business in multiple countries. While some transnational companies recognize a home country, many don’t consider any nation as a base or headquarters. A well-known example of a transnational company is Nestle.

The advantages

One of the most distinctive benefits of operating a transnational company is the ability to respond to the local markets where it maintains facilities. This flexibility leads some transnational businesses to make custom products or provide varied services for strategic distribution across target audiences. Plus, by establishing facilities in multiple locations, transnational business owners can take advantage of lower labor costs and favorable taxation.

The disadvantages

Transnational companies can choose where manufacturing occurs, often selecting countries with low wages and minimal restrictions for cost-saving purposes. However, transnational companies often face criticisms when they avoid higher tax rates, form monopolies, and cause smaller businesses in the region to suffer. As such, management must determine strategic ways to make a profit while maintaining a respectable reputation.


Multinational business

Much like transnational companies, multinational businesses have locations or facilities in multiple countries. The difference is that each operates as its own entity rather than forming the integrated network characteristic of transnational companies.

This business model requires making direct investments in host countries, which includes establishing local decision-makers for each operating unit. As such, each one can tailor products and services to the local customs and preferences. According to Investopedia, some of the largest multinational businesses include:

● Apple
● Walmart
● China National Petroleum
● Toyota
● Volkswagen Group
● Berkshire Hathaway
● Exxon Mobil

While the main principles of financial management remain valid, multinational companies also have to consider currencies, tax variations, financial reporting differences, borrowing costs, and political risks when conducting business in more than one country.

The advantages

Establishing international operations allows companies to expand their reach and eliminate transaction costs. Additionally, multinational businesses can take advantage of tax variations with strategic placements. Advocates of multinationals point to job creation and access to advanced goods in host countries as significant advantages of this business model.

The disadvantages

Like transnational companies, multinational businesses often experience harsh criticisms surrounding their expansion decisions. Expanding into global environments also involves hiring multilingual staff and choosing cheaper foreign employment at the cost of domestic jobs.


Career development at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Regardless of which avenue graduates choose to pursue, the online MBA program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business can provide the specific knowledge and tangible skill development necessary to understand and succeed in the business environments students are interested in.

The program offers training and development for several MBA career paths and opportunities. Students can choose a concentration for focused learning in a particular area of business:

● Finance
● Healthcare management
● High technology management
● Innovation entrepreneurship
● International management
● Marketing
● Supply chain management
● Sustainability

Added to that, students can participate in optional domestic and international residency courses for hands-on exposure to domestic, transnational, and multinational business firms. Other courses that prepare students for different business environments include:

Managing the Global Enterprise

This course examines global decision-making in the international business environment, focusing on topics such as economy and trade issues, legal and political context differences, governmental actions, cultural and ethical discrepancies, and exchange rates.

International Finance Management

Designed for students with an interest in international business, this course discusses the financial management of multinational firms.

Investment Analysis

Students learn about domestic and international financial markets, discussing various techniques for determining the value of assets and investments.

Schedule an appointment with an enrollment advisor to learn more about how the Online MBA program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business can facilitate career opportunities for MBA graduates.


Recommended Readings

What an MBA Can Do for Your Career Aspirations

How to Navigate an International Business Environment

Northeastern University Online MBA Program



Understanding the differences between domestic, international, and global companies by Fidelity

Differences Between a Multidomestic & a Transnational Company by Chron

Multinational Corporation by Investopedia

Key Differences Between Multinational & Domestic Financial Management by Chron

The Advantages of Transnational Organizations by Chron

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Domestic Business Environment by Chron

The Difference Between Domestic Business Strategy & Global Business Strategy by Bizfluent