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What's the Difference Between Business Administration and Business Management?

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If you're considering a business degree, start by looking at the difference between business administration and business management.

You've likely noticed that some colleges offer a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) while others offer a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Management, sometimes called a Bachelor of Business Management. Is there a difference? How do you know which one is right for you?

There is a difference between administration and general management, but it's fairly subtle. A degree in management focuses more on planning and organizing, whereas a degree in business administration provides a broad background and then allows the student to focus on a specialized area of business.

Business Administration and Business Management: Course Requirements

Both business management and administration degrees typically include the same core subjects, including marketing, accounting, economics and finance. These subjects give students a background in how businesses work, from how products are sourced and manufactured to how they are marketed and sold and finally, to how the money is managed and used to grow the business.

A student of business management will generally then go on to take additional courses in related areas, with subjects that may include communications, logistics, decision-making, information systems and human resources. These courses can prepare a business management student for a job supervising or managing other people.

Business Degree Specializations

A degree in business management can prepare you for a management role in most types of organizations and provide a broad foundation to help you understand how businesses operate.

Often, a business adminstration student will choose to specialize in a specific area such as marketing, accounting or finance. Business administration students can also specialize in other fields such as entrepreneurship, healthcare management, international business or operations management.

The area of focus that a student chooses is often called a specialization, focus or concentration. This focus determines which courses the student will take and they types of careers for which they can be prepared. For example, students who pursue a specialization in marketing would take core courses as noted above along with other business students. They then would take additional courses focused on marketing, such as pricing theory, public relations, consumer behavior, demand analysis, advertising and promotion management, market segments, and more.

If a student opted for a specialization in entrepreneurship, specialization courses might include budgeting, business law, capitalization and investment, supply chain management and purchasing, contracts and procurement, and more. A healthcare management specialization might include courses like risk management, public relations, healthcare information system, healthcare resource allocation and policy making, and more.

Business Degree Career Paths

A degree in business administration can prepare you for a career in a specific type of business or department, such as marketing, healthcare, finance or project management. If you have a focused area of interest and desired career path, a BBA degree with a specialization in the area you're interested in can give you an advantage on your job hunt. If you don't know exactly what you want to take or are interested in a more general business degree, a bachelor's degree in business management can provide a good foundation.

Learn more about the value of a business degree: Download our guide, "The Value of A Business Degree in Today's Challenging Economy."

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Classes Start November 21, 2016