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

Business Administration vs. Business Management: What’s the Difference?
Campus is the new alternative to online community college that provides a 100% live and online Associate of Arts in Business Administration degree program. Our comprehensive, career-focused business program equips students from across the U.S. with a solid foundation in core business principles to set them up for success no matter what their next step is. Read on to explore the world of business and how starting with a business degree might be your next best move.

When a student decides to get a business degree, they may have certain career goals set in their minds. While researching, they might get confused, as some universities offer a bachelor's degree in business administration while others may offer a bachelor's degree in business management. If you're torn between pursuing a business administration or business management degree, it's crucial to understand the distinctions between the two.

If you are considering earning a business degree, start by comparing business administration and business management. To decide which option could be best for you, you need to understand the distinction.

This information will be useful whether you have already decided to pursue a traditional four-year business degree, an associate degree in business like the online program we offer at Campus, or are still weighing your study options.

Although it's rather small, there is a distinction between administration and general management. The difference between business administration and business management lies in their areas of focus and the skills they cultivate. A degree in business administration gives students a wider grounding and the option to concentrate on a particular sector of business, whereas a degree in business management places more of an emphasis on leading teams and managing projects.

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To clarify the choice between business administration or business management, we need to delve into their respective domains. Let’s look at the key differences between business administration and business management in detail. This way, you’ll be able to choose the degree that’s best for your career goals.

What is Business Administration?

Exploring the nuances of business administration versus business management helps in making informed decisions about your academic and career path. Those who enjoy working with others to accomplish business objectives and have a desire to work in support of a specific area, such as accounting or marketing, might earn a bachelor's degree in business administration to expand their career options.

Earning a business administration degree gives you the knowledge and ability to make wise financial and management decisions both in your professional and personal life. The favorable impact of a business administration degree on both your job and personal life makes it an attractive choice for many undergraduates.

Understanding the difference between business administration and business management can shape your academic journey and career trajectory significantly. If you'd like to get a more comprehensive answer for the question, what is a business administration degree, check out our comprehensive guide.

What Does Studying Business Administration Prepare You For?

A business administration degree places you in a wide range of job choices and prepares you for a career in business or management applicable to your preferred industry. The responsibilities of business professionals cover the company's ongoing operations, long-term goals, and projects.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), employment in business and finance jobs is anticipated to grow by 7% between 2021 and 2031. This growth reflects the demand for professionals with expertise in either business administration or business management. The BLS projects that throughout this time, businesses will open doors for more than 715,000 new employees.

A business administrator's duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Hiring employees
  • Managing the company's finances
  • Running meetings
  • Handling public relations

Students majoring in business administration can also study specialized topics. You can potentially take coursework in business foundations like finance, accounting, and marketing. Students learn to use data to solve problems and hone their managerial and communication abilities. Majors in business administration also explore the moral implications of company choices.

You must develop leadership skills, which a business administration degree can help with, to be especially noticed by other business leaders. You can become an expert in business ideas and concepts and have an innate spirit of entrepreneurship. However, the corporate world is a competitive one, and many people possess those qualities.

A Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree is awarded to business administration majors in many institutions across the country. The emphasis of the coursework of such schools may be centered around entrepreneurship, management theory, and communication. You can find a list of the best four-year schools to launch a career in a business-related field.

Of course, even before earning your bachelor’s, you could potentially save money and get a head start on your studies by earning an associate degree in business administration first!

As you learn what is business administration, it is also important to acknowledge that a lot of the things students hear about business administration can be misleading. This sheds light on the misconceptions surrounding business administration and business management. For instance, you may have heard that you must excel in math to pursue a business career. However, that’s far from the truth. We recommend doing your research and exploring some of the common misconceptions about business administration as well.

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What is Business Management?

Overall, the main focus of business management is on providing care and oversight of a company's most valuable resource: its people. People who work in business management have leadership positions which place them in charge of the daily operations of teams within their department. Normally, they have a direct impact on how companies run, function, devise growth strategies, and sell themselves. They are people-centric.

This might sound similar to the business administration description, making you wonder: what is business management? How can you distinguish between the two?

Management vs. Administration

Basically, business administration focuses on the technical, effective operations of running a business. On the other hand, business management focuses more on the particular duties and obligations of leading teams and operations, with more emphasis on communication and human resource management.

Administration is all about detail – the execution of initiatives but from a team or departmental level. Management is more tactical and hands-on with the execution of those larger strategies, with organizational acumen at the department, team, or company level, depending on where they are in leadership.

It involves working in an environment that promotes employee communication and aids in the planning, directing, controlling, and organization of various goals. Business management experts assist staff in expanding their areas of expertise and fostering teamwork to promote organizational objectives. These positions call for leadership abilities and well-developed interpersonal skills.

Hence, the coursework in business management focuses more on economics, human resource management, and business-related interpersonal interactions.

Unlike business administration, advanced courses in organizational behavior, entertainment entrepreneurship, management theory and practice, operations management, and startup investment may be available to students, depending on the program.

Other concentrations may include:

  • Information systems and technology
  • International business
  • Management and leadership
  • Law
  • Finance
  • Health and life sciences
  • Strategy
  • Real estate

With this coursework, anybody who has a propensity for business can fine-tune their skill. Such coursework equips individuals with the tools needed to excel in either business administration or business management roles. If you choose a business management degree, you can be quite resourceful in the business world.

Programs in business management offer chances for students to interact with academics, business professionals, and other students. Networking plays a vital role in both business administration and business management careers.

Making good connections through networking enables you to find mentorship, internships, job opportunities, and other benefits that have a big impact on career success and advancement. It encourages analytical thinking, problem-solving, and a comprehensive understanding of the corporate environment. Furthermore, it might improve your self-assurance, presentation abilities, and business knowledge.

Additionally, skills in business management are adaptable and transferable across sectors and businesses, just like business administration. Understanding and managing company operations, analyzing market trends, and making data-driven decisions are skills that are useful in many professions.

What Are the Key Differences?

Both degree paths can open the door for plenty of careers that may overlap. However, understanding the difference between business administration and business management can help you align your career aspirations with the right educational path. There is a tendency for business administration degree holders to be more specialized in a field, taking on roles like Marketing Specialist or Business Analyst. Business management degree holders tend to take on both generalized and specialized positions of management, such as an Operations Manager or a Financial Reporting Manager.

Managers supervise teams, guarantee operational effectiveness, and endeavor to accomplish organizational objectives. The positions you can land after a business management degree include department managers, team leaders, project managers, or operations managers.

Business Administration Business Management
Operations-focused People-focused
Runs a company's day-to-day operations Leads a team or department
Degree emphasizes different areas like accounting, marketing, or finance Degree emphasizes communication and human resource management
Median Annual Salary (as of May ‘21): $99,290 [1] Median Annual Salary (as of May ‘21): $102,450 [2]
*Salaries as reported by the BLS [1] [2]

To recap, business managers are the face of a company’s team or department, whereas business administrators manage and maintain specific business operations to run the company. This distinction clarifies the roles and responsibilities associated with business administration versus business management.

Business Administration vs. Business Management Salary

In this section, let’s discuss business administration vs. business management in terms of salary. Because the general business management income is greater than the national average, careers in business management can be rewarding. This disparity underscores the financial implications of choosing between business administration or business management as a career path. As you polish your skillset more with learning, your chances of getting a better pay increase.

You can anticipate the salary of business administration vs. business management salary and job stability by closely examining the stats. Understanding the salary discrepancies between business administration and business management can inform your decision-making process.

Positions in business administration and management are paid according to experience. Factors such as industry, experience, and location also influence the salary differentials between business administration and business management roles. According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of business administrators earned less than $59,470 in 2021, while the most 10% earned more than $168,910 annually.

You should also keep in mind that business administration salaries vs. business management salaries vary by industry. Medical and health services managers had a median salary of $101,340 in 2021. However, the same year's median pay for marketing, advertising, and promotions managers was $133,380.

Business Administration Salaries

Bachelor's degrees in business administration, accounting, and finance are in high demand, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). In fact, between now and 2026, the BLS predicts that demand will continue to go on an upward trend by seven to 23%. You can’t count the jobs you’ll get with a business administration degree on your fingers. It makes way for several lucrative job positions.

Below is a quick overview of the salaries offered to candidates who have a degree in business administration:

Occupation Median Salary
Financial Analyst $84,300
Market Research Analyst $63,230
Sales Manager $121,060
Human Resource Specialist $60,350
Account/Auditor $69,350
Management Analyst $82,450

Business Management Salaries

Based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics as of 2021, the following is a table of several business management positions and their median salaries:

Occupation Median Salary
Purchasing Manager $69,600
Construction Manager $95,260
Administrative Services Manager $96,940
Medical and Health Services Manager $100,980
Industrial Production Manager $105,480
Compensation and Benefits Manager $122,270

Before you commit yourself to a four-year program, you could give yourself time to define your business career path by pursuing an associate degree in business first. Working towards your associate degree can allow you to start your business studies at a typically lower cost as you determine what you might want to pursue or specialize in for your bachelor’s if you decide to continue.

Therefore, before investing a substantial amount of money in a business management or administration bachelor’s degree, you can place your bet on an associate degree in business first!

Earn your Associate Degree in Business Administration

Whether you choose to study further after earning your associate degree in business administration or take a break, an associate degree in business can potentially help you get an entry-level job in the business world.

Apart from that, an associate degree in business administration overall can cost much less than a bachelor’s degree, and it helps you become a part of the business world in a shorter time. To learn about the Campus online associate degree in business program and the amazing perks it delivers, you can request more information here.

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Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus and are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.