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

You already know you want a degree in business, but which one should you get? Chances are you’ve heard of two popular business degrees: business administration and management. But is business administration the same as business management? The short answer is no — these two degrees are different and they offer unique opportunities to graduates. 

Whether you’re a prospective student or a professional considering a career change, understanding these differences will help you make an informed decision about whether business management vs. business administration best aligns with your goals and interests.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between business administration vs. management degrees, focusing on their scope and focus, curriculum and coursework, career paths and opportunities, and the skills and competencies each program develops. 


What is Business Management?

Business management focuses on organizing and managing a company's resources, particularly its human capital, and is inherently people-centric. But what is a business management degree exactly? 

Business management degrees emphasize communication, human resource management, and general management theories. The coursework is designed to develop important skills such as interpersonal communication, team management, and the ability to formulate and convey a company's mission and vision. 

Business managers are experts in making strategic decisions and concentrate on designing and overseeing the overall business strategy and infrastructure rather than handling day-to-day operations. This degree prioritizes general management and communication skills, preparing graduates to supervise both employees and large projects effectively.

The job outlook for business managers is bright, with a median annual wage of $116,880 as of May 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


What is Business Administration?

Business administration is the process of managing and overseeing a company's operations, resources, and strategic planning to ensure its overall efficiency and success. So what is a business administration degree and what courses does it focus on? 

Business administration degrees are generally more technical and centered on the fundamental aspects of running a business. The coursework will vary based on the chosen area of focus, providing targeted expertise in areas like finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, and strategic planning. Students learn to analyze business problems, develop innovative solutions, and implement effective strategies to drive organizational success.

The job outlook for business administration professionals is positive. As of May 2023, the median annual wage for administrative services managers was $106,470. This means that half of the workers in this occupation earned more than this amount, while the other half earned less. The lowest 10% of earners made under $62,470, whereas the highest 10% earned over $188,820.


What is the Difference Between Business Management and Business Administration Degrees? 

When deciding your educational path, it’s essential to understand the key differences in the scope, curriculum, career opportunities, and skills of business management vs. business administration. Let’s look at each in more detail. 

Scope and Focus

Business management and business administration degrees may look similar at first glance, but they often lead to very different career paths. 

So what is a business administration major’s primary focus? Business administration is focused on the technical aspect of running a business, emphasizing specialized areas such as finance, accounting, and marketing. The key objective is to arm students with the technical skills necessary for efficient business operations. 

In contrast, business management is more about overall leadership, strategy, and seeing the bigger economic picture. It aims to prepare students for leadership roles, focusing on designing and monitoring business strategy and infrastructure.

Curriculum and Coursework

While both programs start with core foundational courses in subjects like accounting, economics, and business communications, as the programs progress, the coursework becomes more specialized. Business administration students take advanced courses in accounting, economics, financial management, sales strategies, customer service, and project management. 

On the other hand, business management students focus on management and operational processes, human resources management, business strategy, international business, and leadership principles. Both programs typically require internships or professional projects to provide practical, real-world experience.

Career Paths and Opportunities

Graduates of business administration programs often pursue careers such as accountants, business analysts, marketing specialists, human resources administrators, and financial managers. These roles involve handling day-to-day operations and ensuring the efficient running of business processes. 

Business management graduates, however, are more likely to move into leadership positions such as operations managers, financial reporting managers, management analysts, sales managers, marketing managers, and account managers. These roles involve overseeing broader business strategies and managing teams and large projects. Both degrees offer substantial career opportunities with competitive salaries, although the specific job roles and responsibilities differ.

Skills and Competencies

Business administration graduates develop skills in strategic planning, analytical thinking, organization, problem-solving, and detail orientation. They also gain technical skills necessary for daily business operations. These skills are crucial for managing a business's specific functions and ensuring operational efficiency. 

Business management graduates, however, develop skills in leadership, vision setting, team management, and effective communication. They are trained to see the big picture, motivate employees, and represent the business to stakeholders. These skills are applied in creating and implementing business strategies, overseeing projects, and leading teams to achieve organizational goals.


Business Administration vs. Management: Which is Right for You?

Once you decide that a business degree is worth the investment, the next step is to choose the right program for you. But how do you decide between business administration vs. management?

To make this decision, consider your goals, interests, and skills. Here are some questions to guide you:

What Interests Me and What Would I Enjoy Doing Every Day?

The difference between business administration and business management can be found in daily tasks. If you enjoy tackling detailed work projects and focusing on specific business functions, then a business administration degree might be right for you. This path allows you to dive deep into areas like finance, accounting, and marketing.

What Are My Strengths and Weaknesses?

Do you have strong analytical and organizational skills and enjoy methodical, detailed work? If so, a business administration degree could be a great fit. It prepares you to handle the day-to-day operations and specialize in particular business functions.

What Career Do I See Myself in Five Years From Now?

An essential step in deciding which academic path is right for you is to ask yourself, What is business administration and management offering me in the long run?”If you envision yourself in a specialized role, such as marketing, hospitality and tourism, or human resources, a business administration degree will provide you with the necessary expertise. This degree gives you technical skills and a deep understanding of specific business areas, setting you up for success in specialized positions.


Get Your Degree in Business Administration at California Miramar

Choosing to pursue a degree in Business Administration at California Miramar University (CMU) is a strategic step toward a successful and fulfilling career in business.

At CMU, you'll benefit from our experienced faculty, a supportive learning environment, and a curriculum that blends theoretical knowledge with practical application. This ensures that you are not only learning the principles of business but also how to apply them in real-world scenarios. CMU's commitment to providing a high-quality education is evident in our flexible learning options, tailored to meet the needs of both traditional students and working professionals.

Ready to take the next step towards your future? Get started with CMU's Business Administration Associate Degree program or advance your skills with a Bachelor of Business AdministrationMaster of Business Administration, or Doctor of Business Administration

Your path to a successful career in business starts here at California Miramar University. Apply today!