Business administration VS business management: What’s the difference?

Last modified 06 March 2024
Business administration VS business management: What’s the difference?

Unlike other courses, ‘business’ is a broad subject that offers many different possibilities and career options. So when it comes to studying business, choosing the right degree or qualification for your career goals can become confusing.

While it might be clear what career choices degrees in areas such as accounting and human resources may lead to, there’s two that aren’t so clear cut – business administration and business management. But what’s the difference? And which one should you choose?

The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is a registered higher education provider that focuses on accelerating the careers of people like you. We are the first private provider accredited to offer prestigious research degrees such as Master of Management, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). It takes just 30 seconds to check if you’re eligible.

This blog compares the two business fields while highlighting the similarities and disparities. Read on to learn more about the difference between business administration and business management.

What is business administration?

Business administration is the study of business involving procedures, leadership and the regulations of tasks relating to running an organisation. This may include supervising and managing employees, improving business growth and revenue, and overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations. Almost all types of organisations, regardless of size, rely on business administration professionals to run and manage their companies.

Business administrators also guide the business and its employees toward any goals and priorities set by stakeholders.

A degree in business administration teaches students leadership and analytical skills, allowing them to step into various roles within a corporation.

What is business management?

While business administration maintains the business itself, business management focuses on the overall care and supervision of the employees.

People who work in business management are often the company’s leaders and oversee their team members’ day-to-day procedures and duties. They are directly involved in how the business is run and operated and are in charge of developing growth strategies to increase revenue.

A good business manager creates a supportive work environment that encourages communication and professional development. They also help employees plan and implement goals for themselves and the organisation.

What is the difference between business administration and business management?

Course Curriculum

When studying business administration, students learn about standard business subjects – such as business ethics, economics and marketing. Over time they will develop a strong grasp of the different business roles and then focus on one major area of study. For example, someone may study business administration with a specialty in accounting.

On the other hand, business management students learn how to improve their leadership skills while exploring specific industries within the business field – like human resources, communications, ethics and management. They will also participate in events to help them develop their managerial skills.

In the workplace

Business administrators often start their careers in a specific field that applies to their area of specialisation. Rather than floating across several roles with multiple processes, a business administrator will focus on a single department with one clear function. They spend their time researching, planning and predicting how strategies can help with the growth of their company.

More often than not, people who work in business management start in one department where they hone and develop their leadership skills, then move up into more senior roles. Once in a leadership position, they can start to manage their employees and guide their team to success.

Managers then organise, operate and take charge of the everyday operations involved in running their department and business.

Careers in business administration

Business Analyst

Business analysts are the middlemen between a business and its technical solution suppliers. They also ensure that projects meet the organisation’s objectives and increase company revenue.

As a business analyst, you’ll need to be proficient in:

  • Statistical analysis and database software
  • Database querying languages
  • Programming skills
  • Survey and query software
  • Business intelligence and reporting software
  • Data mining, data visualisation and database design skills.

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According to, the average annual salary for a business analyst in Australia ranges from $110,000 to $130,000.

Read ‘What do you need to become a business analyst?’ 

Financial Analyst

Experts in financial planning and using data to analyse, plan and predict the financial future of a company, financial analysts are responsible for making recommendations that will improve business revenue.

The main responsibilities of a financial analyst are:

  • Analysing financial data and providing forecasting support
  • Organising data into simple-to-read reports by using key metrics – such as yearly growth, return on assets, return on equity and earnings per share
  • Reviewing all non-legal information about prospective deals
  • Overseeing financial functions – including as assessing, auditing, planning, budgeting, taxes, consolidation, cost control and project control claims that, in Australia, a normal annual salary for a Financial Analyst could range from $90,000 to $110,000.

Careers in business management

Board member

A board member is a person on a company’s board of directors. The board of directors serves as an organisation’s governing body to guide, advise and operate the business and is often elected by the company’s stakeholders.

General responsibilities for a board member may include:

  • Attending regular board meetings to stay informed of company activities
  • Attending committee meetings and participating in votes
  • Creating and enforcing a company mission statement and vision
  • Voting to elect officers on a corporate board
  • Setting and following policies for the board’s approval has analysed 10,000 incomes Australia-wide to determine that the average base salary for a board director in Australia is $144,939 annually.

Business Development Manager

As a Business Development Manager, your role will be to grow companies by identifying and capturing new revenue opportunities. This role requires a person with strong leadership skills and an in-depth understanding of the marketing industry.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Sourcing and converting new customers
  • Improving a company’s digital presence
  • Marketing products or services innovatively and strategically. claims that a Business Development Manager can earn between $95,000 – $115,000 per year in Australia.

Learning the difference between business administration and business management can guide you to the right career choice. With over 35 years of history, AIB is renowned as one of Australia’s most established private education institutions. Future-focused, fully accessible, and dedicated to continuous improvement, we offer programs that boost your career in business – like our Fast-Track MBA.

Jo Thomas
As AIB CEO, Jo has almost 20 years’ experience in senior operations and has held multiple c-suite positions at some of Australia’s most iconic companies including iSelect and Compare The Market. Jo’s academic qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in communications, complemented by an MBA completed in 2010. Connect with Jo on LinkedIn

*The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is Australia’s largest provider of MBAs. Source Ready, B. (2023) Domestic Enrolments Surged During COVID After International Students Locked Out, MBA News. Available at: MBA News.

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