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

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 may be right for you?

There is a difference between administration and general management, but it's fairly subtle. A business management degree 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

The demands and educational goals for various grade levels are often vastly different, requiring different teaching styles, curriculum, and tools/technology in the classroom. For this reason, students pursuing a Master of Education degree might seek a specialization tailored to the specific needs of students in specific grade levels (or adult students).

Sometimes, how to choose an education specialization may just come down to the group you want to teach: elementary, secondary or adult education. If you have very clear goals of teaching a specific range of students, one of these concentrations may be your best option.

Do you want to teach or work in a more administrative role?

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 help a business management student prepare for a job supervising or managing other people.

Business Degree Specializations

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

Often, a business administration student will choose to specialize in a specific area such as marketing, accounting finance, 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 the types of careers for which may pursue. For example, students who pursue a marketing degree may take core courses as noted above along with other business students. They then may also 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 help you prepare for 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 may 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.