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Business Administration vs. Business Management

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in business and are exploring your options, you’ve almost certainly come across two very similar-sounding types of business degree programs: business administration and business management. Are these just different names for the same type of degree, or are there real differences between business administration vs. business management? And if there are real differences, how do you decide which type of business degree program is the better fit for you?

What Is Business Administration?

So, what is business administration all about? In a nutshell, business administration covers the fundamentals of general business operations. Business courses in a BBA degree or BSBA degree program, for example, may include topics such as managing organizational , management fundamentals, international business communications, and business law. Such broad coverage is intended to help students work to develop business administration skills and know-how typically required to pursue business career paths in the real world.

Business Administration Degree Programs: An Overview

What Is Business Management?

Now you might be wondering, if business administration covers some management topics, then what is business management for? The answer is that these programs are specifically tailored toward students who are interested in pursuing roles that involve managing others. Courses that focus on developing a student’s interpersonal business management skills—such as building effective teams, management in international business, and applied marketing management—are just a few you might expect to encounter in a BBM degree or BSM degree program.

Business Management Degree Programs: An Overview

Business Administration vs. Business Management Potential Career Paths

Graduates of both business administration and business management programs are, broadly speaking, considered qualified to pursue many of the same career paths. Business management and business administration job candidates who have completed an undergraduate- or a graduate-level business program and who also possess a few years of relevant work experience often end up seeking more advanced roles such as:1

  • operations managers,
  • sales managers,
  • human resources and benefits specialists,
  • security managers,
  • training and development managers, or
  • administrative services managers.

That said, some career paths are better suited for one type of business degree or the other. Many of those who go on to pursue careers as management analysts, market research analysts, or sales managers, for example, often have backgrounds in business administration. Alternatively, those seeking a career path in the hospitality industry as a food service manager, particularly at hotels and restaurants, may decide to hone industry-specific skills by pursuing a business program focusing on food service management.

Comparing Business Administration vs. Business Management Programs

As you weigh the pros and cons of business administration vs. business management, you’re bound to notice that in addition to the career path overlap we’ve just discussed, there may be some course overlap between these programs as well. This shouldn’t be surprising, as an understanding of foundational principles in accounting, global managerial economics, financial statement analysis, organizational behavior principles, and human resource management can be relevant to a number of career paths in business. Core business courses such as these are designed to help ensure that students can acquire the basic skills necessary for managing employees or departments within an organization as well as conducting the financial and/or economic analyses that are often critical to making informed business decisions.

Because both types of business programs are designed so students can learn to apply business theories taught in the classroom to real-world challenges, and because students of both disciplines are often qualified to pursue similar career paths, identifying the differences between these programs’ core curricula and respective concentration options might prove especially helpful in making your ultimate decision.

Are You Ready to Pursue a Business Degree?

Deciding between business administration vs. business management is a highly personal choice that no one can make for you. But if you’re ready to learn more, Colorado Technical University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in business administration and business management to better fit your interests, goals, and busy life.

1 CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. The list of career paths related to this program is based on a subset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics CIP to SOC Crosswalk. Some career paths listed above may require further education or job experience.

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