What Is the Difference Between Business Administration and Business Management?

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Many people use the terms “business administration” and “business management” interchangeably, particularly when referring to higher education degree programs. Although the two programs are different, they share a similar core curriculum with courses covering a broad range of business-related topics. Both degrees will teach students how to plan business activities, organize departments and employees, run departments, and generally manage an organization. Here is what you should know about both business administration and business management.

What is Business Administration? 

Business administration is a broad field that includes many different roles, professional settings, and opportunities for growth. In simple terms, business administration is the work of managing an organization’s resources, time, and people. Business administration professionals work to ensure that businesses and organizations are run effectively, efficiently, and profitably. 

This is a balancing act that requires knowledge and skills in a range of disciplines. Business administration requires quantitative skills and “soft skills”, such as communicating ideas, influencing others, giving feedback, and making effective and informative presentations. Business professionals generally need at least a basic understanding of accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and information technology, and they often specialize in a practice area.

A business administration degree can be earned at a few different levels, each advancing and growing in scope of skills, knowledge, and concepts as they progress. An associate degree in business administration will typically take about two years to earn, and it will prepare students for entry-level positions in business, such as in customer service, sales, administrative support, and retail management.

What is Business Management?

Business management is the coordination and organization of business activities. Business managers oversee operations and help employees reach their top productivity levels. A business manager may also supervise or train new employees, help a business reach its operational and financial objectives.

A company may expect you to assist with its marketing program. A company may also want you to perform a budget analysis in order to find out ways that the company can cut costs. You should have an astute understanding of accounting, marketing, and administrative procedures that are required in order to run a business.

The Business Management programs are designed to give students skills and experience in the highly competitive fields of business support, management, and entrepreneurship. From accounting to legal assistant, to construction management, these programs give students the theoretical tools and the practical experience to advance in their current jobs or to enter a new career.

Choosing a Path

Both Business Administration and Business Management degree programs offer a multifaceted foundation that can serve students well upon graduation and when they begin searching for careers. Those participating in either program should, for example, develop a strong understanding of the most essential business principles ― finance, accounting, marketing, and ethics, to name just a few. These skills can be useful in dozens of different industries. By the time of graduation, students will know what qualifications are required for various levels of managerial positions and will have the skills and education to be able to apply them. 

While both degrees offer a broad understanding of business, deciding on one over the other doesn’t necessarily limit career prospects. Students who graduate with administration degrees can still pursue jobs in management if that suits their interests. Immediately after graduation, the two paths may seem indistinguishable, as graduates are likely to begin in similar entry-level positions. However, job performance, experience, and degree specialization will all help to determine final career paths.

Common Careers 

While you’re not likely to find a hard dividing line keeping you from one group or the other, the distinction between these fields may be clearer if you consider some of the common roles associated with each: 

Common careers in business administration

  • Business analyst 
  • Financial officers 
  • Human resources managers 
  • Operations manager 

Common careers in business management

  • Sales manager 
  • Marketing manager 
  • Financial manager 
  • Account manager

While these may provide some insight into a potential long-term career trajectory, expectations should be tempered in the short-term—graduates with a degree in either option will likely start in similar roles.

Manage Operations vs Manage Processes 

The most common distinction between Business Management and Business Administration has to do with what you are managing in each position. While a business manager is focused on the daily operations within the company, a professional with business administration responsibilities make sure company processes are running smoothly and the whole company sticks to its goals and priorities. 

Just like the names of the disciplines suggest: managers manage people, while administrators have administration responsibilities. An example would be the difference between a manager who runs the business (the business manager) and the manager who runs the HR department, or the company’s financial processes. These latter managers are charged with business administration responsibilities. 

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This article was published on: 01/25/22 1:28 AM

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