Does it matter what your business degree is in?
December 28, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Business Administration VS Management degree - is there a difference?

In my ongoing search for a career that can pay the bills, I've been looking at getting a Bachelor's degree in business. Most companies in my area require one for the positions I've been looking at. Does it matter to employers what the actual degree is in? The three areas I have to choose from are "Business Administration" "Management" and "Business Management." The curriculum differs slightly between these three, but that seems to be because of the school more than anything.

So say you're looking at my resume... which one of these looks most favorable? Or does it matter?
posted by Autumn to Education (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What kind of positions are you looking at?
posted by infini at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2012

I'm trying to find a position as a management trainee.
posted by Autumn at 11:36 AM on December 28, 2012

What are the actual degrees these programs offer? While the names of majors are different, the degree you receive is part of a standardized system.

A lot more importantly than the name of the degree, what you want to concentrate on is placement. Which school has the most active career services department? Which school hooks up the most students with internships and jobs? Business is, more than any other majors, one of those areas in which the connections you make earning the degree are equally as (if not more than) important as the education. Don't expect to show up at the doors of Big Company with your shiny new degree and no experience and receive a management trainee position.
posted by griphus at 11:47 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

I probably should have included this in the original question: I'm looking at online schools so there won't be any internships or job placement. It's the only way I can afford a degree right now due to various circumstances. The degree itself would be "Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Management."
posted by Autumn at 11:56 AM on December 28, 2012

Prior to investing in a degree program, it may be useful to do informational interviews with people/companies that you might want to work at as a management trainee. If you don't have anyone like that in your network, perhaps web sleuthing could help yield some answers. I have found that LinkedIn can be a source of a lot of data about a company. You could search for people who went through the program you are considering and see what they are doing and where they are working.
posted by elmay at 12:04 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

As a person with an MBA, I'm smelling garbage here.

There are two kinds of "management trainee" jobs.

1. A high-level competative position, usually in a bank or a Fortune 50 company, where one is taken in, wet-behind the ears, and one does a succession of rotations through different company departments. It's not usually a "Business" degree needed, but Accounting, Finance or Economics.

2. A sketch-a-doodle thing, like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where you come into work for about $36,000 annually, and you work 12 hours days, 6 days a week. Skills needed: pretty much those of a chimp.

The competative "Management Trainee" jobs are usually given to those who graduate from prestigous colleges, with impressive grades and extra cirriculars.

And to address your question with your new information. On-Line schools aren't worth the paper they're printed on, certainly not for any kind of prestigious placement.

Start in taking classes at a Community College, then transfer to a University.

I have just saved you $80,000 and the heartache of a useless degree.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm looking at online schools so there won't be any internships or job placement.

If you don't have a solid prospect for employment to begin with, a business degree without internships is not only absolutely useless, but also speaks poorly of your ability to make good plans for your time and money (which does not make you a good candidate for a management position.) I can almost guarantee you that "B.A. in Business - University of Phoenix" on a resume is a sure way to get it completely ignored by hiring people. If you're trying to satisfy a specific individual's request for a degree ("get this degree to please H.R. and we guarantee you this job") that is one thing. Otherwise, it is a costly mistake.
posted by griphus at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

The school you choose matters more than the specific degree. I believe it's possible to get real, fully accredited, employer-respected, online education from Pace, Penn State, Harvard (Extension), and others. Many community colleges provide options meant to serve working adults, and would be an excellent place to start looking.

University of Phoenix / Devry / American Public University and friends are just as expensive as the above options (or more so) but provide no value.

As for the specific degree, it's likely easier to get a position if your degree offers a specific skill (accounting, finance, marketing, economics, HR, etc) than an unfocused 'management' degree; and unfortunately all your stated options sound a lot like unfocused 'management' degrees.
posted by grudgebgon at 4:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thought I'd update that I decided to go with the Business Management one. I can't afford a local school - it would cost me at least $700/mo to go. The online schools I'm looking at are $50/mo with about $4000 for the entire degree, DETC accredited.
posted by Autumn at 1:46 PM on December 30, 2012

Then you'll be spending $4,000 and all that time for something that will be relatively worthless.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:07 AM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, my alma mater was AACSB certified, and that list looks pretty solid. The DETC list is frightening.

Make sure you aren't "saving" money by buying a worthless education. The worst part of bad degrees is that even if you're a smart, dedicated student, they might not teach you the right things, evaluate you accurately, or leave you prepared for the future.

Please be cautious.
posted by grudgebgon at 10:53 PM on January 4, 2013

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