What is the difference between business administration and economics?

What degree program suits me better?

Business administration and economics equally belong to the field of business sciences. Both courses of study are about economic procedures and methods. In the following article, we describe exactly how they are related and how they differ from one another.

What is business management?

Besides a degree in business administration or a degree in economics, there is also a degree in business management. It brings together the two sub-areas and thus constitutes the overriding subject area of general business studies. The degree program in business management initially conveys overarching principles from the field of business. In the second stage, you can determine your own areas of concentration and study your individual areas of interest in depth.

There are also multiple interdisciplinary degree programs that are numbered among the business sciences: business psychology, business information systems, business sociology, business ethics, and business engineering.

What is business administration?

Business administration is a sub-area of the business sciences and deals with the economic management of businesses. Business administrators plan, support, and analyze internal processes such as product procurement, logistics, marketing, and controlling – all with the aim of ensuring a company’s efficient operation. The premise is that all goods are essentially scarce and that they require efficient handling. 

Business administration can be divided into two main areas: General business administration and specialized business administration. General business administration is cross-functional and cross-industry in its orientation. It focuses on planning, organization, and computational decisions in companies. Specialized business administration, on the other hand, examines specific segments and departments, such as marketing, human resources, and finances.

What is economics?

Economics is the second sub-area of the business sciences. Rather than focusing on individual companies, it examines entire economic areas, such as the European Union. In viewing issues that concern the economy as a whole, regularities in the production and distribution of goods are examined under economic conditions.

Economics is primarily based on statistics and creates recommendations relating to economic matters. It is a very important factor for political decisions, since it addresses topics such as GDP, inflation, taxes, and duties.

Among other things, economics consists of subject matter related to monetary theory and environmental policy. Micro- and macroeconomics, finance, and econometrics are fixed components in discussing the relationship between different economic assets.

Business administration and economics: an overview of similarities and differences.

As already indicated, the fundamental difference is that business administration addresses business-related matters and economics deals with the “big picture,” as it examines entire economic processes and the associated regularities in a society. The approaches and the objectives are completely different. Thus, a situation that is being viewed from both perspectives can yield very different results.

Nevertheless, both subareas of the business sciences cover some of the same topics. For instance, economics also focuses on behavior in households and businesses, with issues relating to both of these areas overlapping. An economics degree program includes aspects of business administration, and vice versa.

What program is the right one for me?

Generally speaking, neither business administration nor economics is a “wrong” choice when deciding on a degree. Both programs deal with the economy and prepare you for a future in management.

You have to decide for yourself whether you’re more interested in internal business processes and want to deal with subjects like accounting, marketing, and procurement, or if you prefer processes that relate to the economy as a whole, including subjects such as the global economy, the labor market, government debt, and price stability.

If you would like to combine elements of economics and business administration in your degree, the Bachelor in International Business Administration at WHU would also be a good option for you. On that course you get to know all areas of economics and business management before you select a focus area from a variety of advanced modules. From brand management and entrepreneurship to family business, all doors will be open for you.

Your career prospects with a business degree.

Job opportunities are equally good with a degree in business administration or in economics. Business administrators and economists will always be needed – both degree programs offer security for the future.

With a degree as a business administrator, for instance, you can get a permanent position in a company as a controller, marketing manager, or HR manager. Furthermore, you also have the option of becoming an independent business consultant and can support companies in optimizing their decision-making processes.

With a degree as an economist, you may likewise choose to work in a company or as a consultant, but you also have the option of working in the field of public administration. Other possible areas of employment include finance, taxes, trade associations, market research, or the world of media.

Internships during your studies are extremely important as a way of gaining professional experience. WHU also offers that as part of the practice-oriented Bachelor in International Business Administration (Degree: Bachelor of Science). You are required to do two internships, one of which must be completed abroad in a non-German-speaking country. This is a great way to become familiar with everyday professional life and its challenges at an early stage so that you are optimally prepared for your career entry after you graduate.

If you’re aspiring to a position in mid- to upper management, you should ideally add a Master’s degree after your Bachelor’s degree, in order to meet the demands of the free market and to come out on top against the fierce competition. Have a look at the programs offered at WHU to find out what suits you. Study programs at WHU combine not only the most diverse elements of the business sciences, they also provide a perfect blend of theory and practice.