Career Development

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

February 11, 2021

As you search for careers in business, you may find similar job titles and descriptions. It’s often important to know the difference between each business career to learn which best suits your skills and abilities. Business administration and management both contain important qualities that can lead you to different career paths. This guide can help you understand what business administration and management are as well as what career is best suited for each business category.

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What is business administration?

Business administration focuses on the specific titles and job responsibilities within the business department. This means people in a business administration role will most often focus on a role in the business field. Many people who pursue business administration will have an interest in a specific department within the business field. This can be finance, accounting, marketing or economics.

What is business management?

Business management focuses on the overall management of a business department. People who work in business management are often acting in leadership roles to oversee the day-to-day duties of team members within the business department. They may often learn about how businesses are run, how they operate, how to develop growth strategies and how to market a business.

One of the main goals of business management employees is to learn the responsibilities of each of their employees as well as how to lead and supervise them.

Related: How to Become a Successful Team Leader

Difference between business administration and management college degrees

When studying business administration, students will often learn about the overall business subjects. Once they have a grasp on the different business roles, they will select one and declare it as their area of study. For example, a student may major in business administration and choose accounting as their specialty. Upon graduation, this student may pursue an accounting role. Often, when students study business administration, they are hoping to learn more about business as a whole to determine which specific business role they would like to pursue.

In addition to studying specialties within the business field, business management students will also study subjects that will help increase their leadership skills. This includes human resources, communication studies, ethics and management courses. Business management students will often participate in events that help them develop management and leadership skills. This can include participating in student organizations within the business department, student government and leadership roles within different academic clubs.

Difference between business administration and management in the workplace

Business management employees will often start in entry-level management positions. They will learn and develop the skills needed to manage people and lead a department. Many business professionals will expect business managers to operate both leadership and day-to-day business tasks and duties. Once an employee is serving in a higher-level business management role, they may oversee other employees and will make departmental decisions. Many should know how to conduct basic team-working abilities and may collaborate with executive-level employees to make impactful decisions for the company.

Business administration employees will often start working in a specific department within the business field. They often dedicate their work to one department within the business field rather than managing and overseeing several teams within the business department. Business administration employees have the opportunity to work in leadership roles for certain departments due to their hands-on work in their desired department.

Related: The Best Business Related Degrees for Your Field

Careers in business management

Below are the following careers you can pursue after receiving a degree in business management.

National average salary: $62,321 per year

Primary duties: An operations manager oversees different departments within the company. Many will work with the HR team, sales team and marketing team to ensure tasks are being completed and goals are met. They help encourage company engagement and will develop different budget and financial plans. Operations managers ensure their employees are given the resources needed to succeed. They often possess strong team-building skills, leadership abilities and are effective problem solvers.

National average salary: $74,914 per year

Primary duties: Sales managers will lead a sales team to increase the overall performance of the sales department. They will train, challenge and motivate employees to meet quotas, engage with potential customers and will assist with any sales challenges. They will often create strategies to enhance the sales team’s efficiency and will act as a team mentor. This role often consists of people who are strong leaders, strategy-driven and who have effective communication skills.

National average salary: $77,523 per year

Primary duties: Management analysts will work with supervisors and company leadership to determine how they can best accomplish their day-to-day tasks. They may often create manuals to help outline and document the overall procedures to complete as an effective manager. They can do this by conducting studies and measuring the overall performance analytics of leadership. This position may require past leadership experience, analytical skills and critical thinking.

National average salary: $103,315 per year

Primary duties: A financial reporting manager works heavily with the legal and financial teams. They will develop strategies to handle different financial costs found within the company. Financial reporting managers will analyze financial documents and will decide if a specific cost is beneficial to the company. Their main goal is often to work with leadership to determine what their budget is and what it should be spent on. Financial reporting managers are often data-driven, critical thinkers and are well-organized.

Careers in business administration

Here are the job titles people with a business administration degree may hold.

National average salary: $48,541 per year

Primary duties: Marketing specialists work with the marketing and product teams to build campaigns around different products. They analyze different target audiences and strategize how to sell to them. They often serve in different elements within the marketing department including content management, market analysis and product marketing. Their main goal is to determine what effectively sells a product and how their company can market it. Marketing specialists are often well-organized, strong leaders and are willing to overcome any challenges.

National average salary: $52,867 per year

Primary duties: Human resources specialists are primarily in charge of potential and current employees. They recruit employees they see as the best fit for the company and may conduct phone screenings or interviews. Many will also work with current employees to build company culture and engagement. They are also in charge of an employee’s tax forms, payroll documents and personal information. This role often contains employees with strong communication abilities, self-motivation and time-management skills.

National average salary: $54,558 per year

Primary duties: The accountant will create financial reports for different departments to make sure the finances of the company are remaining responsible and stable. They will also track and analyze data involving future or past financial decisions. Accountants will often strategize and recommend changes to leadership that benefits the company and helps them manage proper spending habits. Many accountants are analytical, data-driven and hold strong organizational skills.

National average salary: $75,165 per year

Primary duties: Business analysts will conduct reports and analysis to determine what a business needs to improve. They work more on the developmental side of business and will use software to build strategies to grow a business. They will often act as a project manager and will work on individual projects to build solutions to enhance these projects and benefit the company. Business analysts should be knowledgeable about different software, have leadership abilities and are problem solvers.


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