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Business Administration Vs. Business Management: What's The Difference?

As you are venturing down the path of choosing a qualification to pursue, and as you are trying to narrow down your options, perhaps you have come to a split in the road deciding between a business administration or a business management degree.

They both have "business" in them, so could they really be that different? If there are differences, are they really that great that they warrant an entirely different qualification between the two? This can be stressful because you may not want to risk losing out on what one program has to offer by pursuing the other.

Well, having an understanding of each program on its own, knowing what the differences are between the two in relation to each other, and knowing what similar grounds are covered in each course may better help you figure out which program and qualification you should pursue.

At its most basic level, a business administration degree covers content pertaining to a wide range of business-related administrative tasks such as managing different departments within an organization, whereas business management focuses greatly on the leadership and management processes of an organization.

A substantial amount of the coursework and content within each program covers a lot of similar ground, but a business administration degree and a business management degree cannot be used interchangeably.

Let us take a closer look at these two-degree programs, let us comparatively assess the similarities and differences in the hopes that you can choose the program which will best help you meet your desired career goals.

What Is A Business Administration Degree?

Business administration can be seen as a ground-level, overarching field that steers a business or an organization toward specific goals by working within the many micro levels and divisions of the organization.

Business administration services are usually focused on particular aspects of a business such as accounting, human resource management, business ethics, policy implementation, marketing management, financial management, payroll management, and even tax management.

Business administration equips you with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to focus on one or more divisions within an organization and it teaches you how to collaborate with other divisions within that same organization to work together in achieving the goals of the business.

It also focuses on the day-to-day operations of an organization and how each day, the company can take a step to meet a particular objective that may have been set out by higher management (which is where business management would come in).

To better illustrate the role of a business administrator would be to consider yourself as a business owner. You run a company that produces and sells a specific product. Whether you have people or machines working the production line, you are well aware that there are multiple moving and working components at play within your business.

There are the finances, the production of the products, the management of each employee, the salary that needs to be paid for each employee, the marketing that needs to be done for your product to sell, and so much more.

While you are an expert at producing this particular product and you have a goal in mind for turnover, employee growth, or employee retention, you are not an expert at finances, accounting, payroll, human resources, or even tax. You would therefore hire someone to help you with each of these subdivisions within your organization.

So while you are a business manager, you are hiring business administrators or people who provide you with business administration services, to meet particular needs in your business that will ultimately help you reach your goals.

And thus, your business achieves a working system that is well integrated with the same objectives in mind.

What Is A Business Management Degree?

Knowing what a business administration degree is, and with that concept in mind, we can now look at a business management degree and what skills and concepts you can acquire from this program.

Business management equips you with the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you would need to spearhead and manage any organization, whether it is your own, or someone else's. you will learn operations management, as well as being a supervisor and manager of all business administrative operations.

Those who fulfill the role of a business manager will hold the responsibility of ultimately setting realistic short-term and long-term goals for every aspect of the organization, and with the support from business administrators, they will devise processes to meet these goals.

The individuals who pursue business management will need to strike a working balance between supporting the teams that make up the organization while also managing these teams.

Pursuing a business management program will also equip you with the skills you need to manage an organization on a more human-centric level. For example, you may not be very hands-on with the actual finances of the organization, but you will manage and oversee those individuals who are directly working with the finances.

What Are The Differences And Similarities Between These Two?

If you look at the glaringly obvious similarities between these two programs at a degree level, you quickly realize the amount of effort and dedication required for each course is quite similar. Both programs are offered by many universities or institutions, and both are accredited courses that can be nationally or internationally recognized, depending on the institution from which you obtain the qualification.

Additionally, both programs generally take four years to complete, and both are quite popular undergraduate courses that many individuals hope to pursue. The versatility of both programs makes them a popular choice among those beginning their higher education.

In essence, both programs will teach you how to run, manage, and operate within a business environment, but ultimately, they will steer you in different directions in terms of the roles you'd be able to fulfill within a business or an organization.

If you hoping to acquire the skills of devising and implementing business strategies and planning business activities, organize different divisions within an organization and successfully get them to integrate into one organism, and if you are hoping to figure out not only how to run the entire organization, but the different departments and divisions within the organization, then both degree programs should do the job in covering these components.

But what differences do they bring to the table?

The key difference is that while business administration looks at business operations at a divisional or micro level, business management looks at business operations from a macro level.

While both programs will provide you with elements of finance, accounting, bookkeeping, human resources, and other business elements, they are not entirely the same.

Business management will focus on the human element, business administration will focus on the technical processes of accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and other business elements.

Which One Should You Choose And Why?

Both programs provide you with opportunities for versatility, high earning potential, and great industry demand. However, the path you choose to take will greatly depend on the goals you hope to achieve within your career.

Remember that pursuing business administration doesn't mean that you will spend your career answering to a boss who has studied business management. In many instances, business managers hire business administrators from external consultancies or external firms, making neither role better than the other.

Therefore, if you would like to focus on more hands-on operations, then pursuing a business administration degree might be best for you. If you like looking at the whole picture and working together with multiple smaller pieces to meet the objectives of the whole, having keen insight and foresight, then perhaps a business management degree is the one for you.


Is There A Big Difference Between Business Administration And Business Management?

The content covered by both programs is quite similar, however, the approach to the content might be slightly different. While business administration teaches you how to operate within each function of business, business management teaches you how to oversee and supervise each of these business functions.

Is Business Administration Or Business Management Better?

If you are pursuing your studies straight out of school, the chances of you encountering a management role as your first job is very unlikely. If you are heading into an entry-level role, then a business administration degree might be best for you.

However, If you do already have business experience, or if you are working while you are studying, you may consider a business management program.


While choosing a program may seem hard at first, going in with your eyes wide open, knowing what your goals are, and knowing what the most viable option for your career is should make that decision far easier. Knowing the difference between the two programs will also assist you in making an informed career decision.

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