Business Administration vs. Business Management: What’s the Difference?

Business students work together on project

If you would like to pursue a career at a for-profit company, or perhaps start your own business selling products or services, you can build a foundation for future success by earning a degree related to the field. Two degrees you might consider are the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Bachelor of Science in Business Management.

The terms “business administration” and “business management” are often used interchangeably. Although there are areas of considerable overlap, these two specializations are actually quite different. Before you choose the major that’s right for you, consider talking to an academic advisor to ensure you fully understand what the curriculum involves and which jobs you might pursue upon graduation.

Business Administration Overview

Every company has multiple layers of responsibility. For example, a business might have a team dedicated solely to managing its operational budget and a department that manages its marketing campaigns. These are different areas of functionality. A business administration professional will focus on one particular area of the business’ day to day operations.

It is the ultimate goal of a business administration professional to make the company operate more efficiently and effectively. To that end, they consider the company’s mission, values and long-term growth objectives, and ensure that the day to day operations of the business are aligned with those priorities.

Business Management Overview

Business management is similar to business administration. However, this specialization tends to take a broader view of the company, with an emphasis on the human element. This specialization focuses on the structure of the organization. Business management professionals manage personnel matters and are responsible for managing teams. Leadership skills and interpersonal relationship awareness are crucial for success in this specialty.

Business Administration Degree Curriculum

Students who are pursuing a business administration degree will explore leadership and management topics. However, the focus is on the daily operations of an organization.

If you decide to major in this field, you can expect to spend a great deal of time studying financial topics, including:

  • Management Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Financial Statement Analysis

In addition, business administration students will develop a firm understanding of legal and ethical issues that relate to businesses.

Business Management Degree Curriculum

If you decide to pursue a BS in Business Management, you can expect to study business finance issues. For instance, you will study economics, business statistics and the fundamentals of business finance. However, the focus will be on the human element of business and organizational management.

For example, you may explore how managers in diverse, global organizations can apply effective interpersonal skills and communication techniques. You may evaluate different styles of leadership, including the concept of servant leadership and how it supports accountability in management. Additionally, you can expect to learn how to formulate a plan for a company’s long-term growth objectives. Organizational design, change and development are also key topics for aspiring business managers.

Jobs in Business Administration

Students who successfully complete a BS in Business Administration are prepared to pursue opportunities in all types of industries, from healthcare to manufacturing to mining. There is a diverse spectrum of possibilities, including the following:

  • Accountant: Accountants may work for one company or for multiple clients within a financial services firm. They prepare financial statements and tax returns. Accountants must be good with numbers and have a firm commitment to accuracy.
  • Marketer: Marketing can be a good fit for business administration graduates who enjoy creative thinking. Marketers are responsible for planning and implementing marketing campaigns to promote a company’s products or services.
  • Loan Officer: Banks and other lending institutions hire loan officers to evaluate loan applications submitted by individuals and businesses. Loan officers must consider the applicant’s ability to repay the loan, and then recommend either approval or denial.

Note that some career choices may require additional training or certification. To become a certified public accountant (CPA), for example, you will need to pass the licensure exam.

Jobs in Business Management

Graduates with a BS in Business Management can choose from a diverse range of opportunities to pursue. Some possibilities include the following:

  • Human Resources Specialist: HR professionals handle a company’s benefits program and personnel issues, such as hiring, firing and navigating interpersonal disputes. They may also be responsible for workforce training and development.
  • Account Manager: Account managers act as liaisons between a company and its clients. They are responsible for building client relationships, delivering presentations and ensuring all work handled for the client is performed to the established standards.
  • Marketing Manager: Marketing managers oversee the operations of the marketing department. They develop marketing campaign goals and strategies and ensure their smooth implementation.

You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree or Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree, both offered by the well-respected Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University. Once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree, you may decide to further enhance your qualifications for high-level positions by earning a graduate degree. You can earn your MBA online at GCU, with multiple specializations available.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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