Cultural intelligence (CI) has often been linked to performance at the individual, team and firm levels as a key factor in international business success. Using a new measure of CI, the business cultural intelligence quotient (BCIQ), our study provides empirical evidence on several key antecedents of CI using data onbusiness professionals across five diverse countries (Austria, Colombia, Greece, Spain and USA). The findings suggest that the most important factors leading to cultural intelligence, in order of importance, are: the number of countries that business practitioners have lived in for more than six months, their level of education and the number of languages spoken. We find that cultural intelligence varies across countries, suggesting that some countries have a higher propensity for cross-cultural business interactions. By teasing out the common antecedents of BCIQ among professionals, our findings may help with screening and training professionals for international assignments. Future research may examine the environmental (country-specific) factors associated with a higher propensity for cultural intelligence (such as immigration, cultural diversity, languages spoken, and international trade) to explain the effect of country of origin on cultural intelligence in the professional community.