Business Admin VS Business Management: Which Program Should You Choose?

On the surface, business administration and business management seem really similar. Courses for these two diplomas overlap, and employment options appear very much alike.

But if you look closer, there are distinct differences between these two training and career paths—in terms of what you'll be studying in school, your future job goals, and your business skillset.

Which diploma should you choose? It really depends on what you envision yourself doing post-graduation.

Read on to get a clearer picture of what it means to study business admin vs business management, and which program is the better match for you.


Business administration vs management: What's the difference?

Here's one way of understanding the main difference between business administration and business management:

Business Administration—The process of actively running a business. Performing tasks related to daily operations.

Business Management—Supervising staff. Making executive decisions, developing strategy, and overseeing projects.

These are very broad definitions, but they capture the essence of what differentiates these two career paths.

College-level diplomas in business administration prepare students to work as part of an office team, as an admin assistant, accounting clerk, client services representative, or sales associate.

If you take business management training, you'll be qualified for any of these roles PLUS positions that involve hiring, training, and supervising other employees.

Ultimately, business management is about people and project management. Graduates of this program understand the basics of human resources, how businesses are organized and run, and the fundamentals of marketing and sales strategy.

On the other hand, business administration is what gets things done on a daily basis, including keeping customers happy, finding and attracting new clients, scheduling appointments, handling paperwork, and preparing payroll.

Management ensures the right people are hired for each role, that the office functions smoothly, and that teams have clear goals to work toward.

Managers deal with employee disputes, report to executives (like business owners and CEOs), and are responsible for ensuring admin staff meet strategic objectives, and perform their jobs well.

Everyone works together to help the company or organization thrive—but administrators and managers have different parts to play, and different levels of responsibility.

Explore the Business Administration Program


When you're just starting out in business management...

It's important to know that when you're just starting out after management training, you probably won't be handed a supervisor position right away. You'll need to prove yourself in an administrative role, most likely answering phones, dealing directly with clients, and performing clerical duties.

But your primary goal will be to move into management. You are interested in leadership opportunities, or want to run your own business. You're looking for the added responsibilities that come with running a department, or overseeing a team.

You want to make those higher-level decisions, and like the idea of helping employees under your supervision reach their full potential.

Maybe you already have office experience, but need additional training to qualify for promotion? This is another common motivator for students who enroll in business management training.

Explore the Business Management Program


Courses you'll take for business admin & management diplomas

What can you expect to learn in business admin versus business management training? How is the curriculum different for these two programs?

Some of the coursework is the same for both diplomas. No matter which path you choose, you'll be studying:

  • computer skills (Microsoft Office, spreadsheets, database and scheduling software, how to create presentations, etc.)
  • basic accounting and payroll 
  • business mathematics
  • client services training
  • communication skills and business writing

However, if you choose a business management diploma, you'll delve deeper into these concepts, as well as other key areas of business. Your courses will include:

  • advanced accounting and payroll
  • sales and marketing training
  • human resources (HR) management
  • principles of business management
  • business law and ethics


Which Business program should you choose?

There are several questions to consider when figuring out whether business administration or management is right for you. Take a moment to think about the following:

How long do you want to spend on training?

Business administration diplomas take, on average, about 6 months to complete. Business management training takes longer—at least one year.

Do you envision yourself working in a team, or supervising staff?

If your goal is to run a department or be a team leader, it makes sense to start with a diploma in business management. On the other hand, if you don't want the added responsibility, and prefer to work as part of a team, business administration training is a good match for you.

You can still qualify for a supervisor position down the road, after you've gained some work experience—but generally, you like the idea of working at the front-line, operations level of a business.

Are you interested in starting your own business?

If you're thinking about launching a start-up, business management training is the better choice. You'll gain a deeper knowledge of accounting, how to market and sell your products, and how to go about hiring and managing a team.

Your next step

Need more information on these two business programs to make your decision? Your next step is to speak with Admissions.

An Admissions Advisor will discuss your interests and goals, and help you select the program that fits you best.

Chat live with an Advisor right now. Or request free program information by email. We're here to help!