Is a Marketing Degree Better Than Business Management Degree?

When you’re looking for a degree in business, there’s no shortage of options. Degrees exist in every niche of the field and nearly every school in the country offers even more narrow concentrations where students can specialize. Two of the most popular business degree options are in marketing and management. While they have some overlap, there are a few key differences between the two when it comes to what you’ll learn and the career path you might take. To help you make a decision, let’s take a look at some of these distinctions.

marketing degree

What You’ll Learn in a Business Management Degree Program

Both degrees offer a solid foundation in business practices and principles, so you’ll see common classes like accounting, economics, human resource management and business law.

Business management degree programs then start to focus more on the ins and outs of running a business. This might include classes in topics like:

  • Leadership models
  • Organizational behavior
  • Business operations
  • Statistical applications in business
  • Business ethics

Specializations in business management can be broad and varied and might include:

  • Finance and international business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Agriculture management
  • Music industry management
  • Conflict resolution

What You’ll Learn in a Business Marketing Degree Program

Business marketing degrees often focus more on sales, advertising and running marketing campaigns — essentially the ways in which a business attracts and interacts with the customer. Courses in marketing programs might include:

  • Public relations
  • Sales management
  • Online marketing
  • Advertising strategies
  • Business to business marketing

Concentrations are less common here (especially at the graduate level) but some might include:

  • International marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • General sales

What Career Options Come With a Degree in Business Management?

One of the most important considerations might be what you can do with your degree. When it comes to versatility, management wins out, hands down. A snapshot survey done by Rasmussen College found 620,033 listings for jobs that required or preferred a business management degree and only 118,759 for those with a marketing degree.

Some career options for business management grads include:

  • Compensation and Benefits Managers – plan, oversee and assess compensation programs for employees within a company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2018, these professionals need a bachelor’s degree in business management; they make a median salary of $121,010 per year and jobs in the field are expected to grow by 3% between 2018 and 2028.
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers – are in charge of the technology a business uses and typically start with a bachelor’s degree. The BLS projects jobs to grow by 11% in this field and found in 2018 that these managers bring home $142,530 per year.
  • Financial Managers – crunch the numbers in a business, produce financial reports, ensure legal compliance and do financial forecasts. Most need a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience. Financial managers bring down $127,990 annually and are expected to see a really healthy job outlook of 16% (the average growth is 5%).

What Career Options Come With a Degree in Business Marketing?

Business marketing jobs are a little more specialized and more include positions like:

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing – all are charged with getting potential customers interested in a product or service. This typically includes generating promotional campaigns like giveaways and contests, developing ads for TV, online and print publications and generating the look and personality of a brand. The BLS reports an annual salary of $132,620 and a job outlook of 8%.
  • Sales Manager – determine pricing strategies, lead sales teams, analyze sales numbers and develop new plans to reach more customers. Most have a bachelor’s degree with marketing experience. Sales managers make a median salary of $124,220 per year and jobs are expected to rise by 5% between 2018 and 2028.

How to Decide Between Marketing and Management

Keep in mind that by choosing one over the other, you’re not dooming yourself to one field. In fact, grads rarely jump right into the role they’d studied for; they typically start in a more general position and work their way up. Even with a marketing degree, you might find yourself climbing the management ladder and vice versa.

If you can’t decide, you could also consider a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in either marketing or management. MBAs give you great flexibility and often let you choose a wide range of courses that match your personality, interests and career goals.

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