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BS or BA in Business Administration?

woman at desk smiling while working - bsba

College is a time for decisions. Decisions about your major shape the outlook of your career. A discipline like Business Administration allows for a wide range of career options from management to consultant to analyst to much more.

Picking your major isn’t the only decision. Students also need to determine whether they want a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration. Each will have its effect on the college experience.

For many areas of study, this answer is more distinctly defined. Physics and Chemistry will fall under the BS program. While Music and English will fall under the BA.

So is a business administration degree a BA or BS? Well, it’s both.

Each comes with a unique plan, and a unique outlook on the program. Each one is suited for a different style of learning. To determine which one is right for you, first, look into what each has to offer.

What Is A Bachelor Of Arts In Business Administration

Business Administration is a degree that prepares you for the working world. In essence, it provides a training ground where individuals can understand business operations, best business practices, and any number of organizational and management techniques. Graduates of this program are competitive in any number of industries for that reason.

What the Bachelor of Arts part of the equation provides is the more theoretical approach to that training ground.

BA degrees often have an emphasis on humanities, communication (both written and oral), and understanding underlying principles to apply anywhere. Combine this with Business Administration and you have a degree focusing on the strategies and key tenets of business.

These classes in history, philosophy, and other humanities subjects allow for a broader framework to contextualize business. Business is changing. Business has always been changing. Now, it is becoming more data-driven and more autonomous. What large-scale effects have occurred from other similar technological advancements? Having this framework with which to think, allows you to contextualize business and the way it affects the world.

It’s also interesting to note how ethics and ideologies can affect a community for the positive and the negative. These same thoughts can be applied to business. What the Bachelor of Arts style of education tries to emphasize is: not only do you need to be business savvy, but you must also be people savvy.

Business requires working with people.

What Is A Bachelor Of Science In Business Administration

The most striking contrast for the Bachelors of Science program is the emphasis on application and operational skills. Opposed to the wide breadth of courses involved in a BA program, the BS program will narrow in on the courses best suited to give students real world experience.

For a Business Administration degree this means breaking down business models, applying statistical data to what you’re learning, and an overall stress on application.

BS degrees often urge their students to become familiar with mathematical concepts like statistics in order to apply them to the world of business. For example, artificial intelligence and how it relates to business requires both a scientific curiosity and the technical knowledge. The same can be said for data and data analytics. Students need the technical knowhow to succeed in these areas.

These aren’t arbitrary topics either, these are the current issues of today’s business landscape. To thrive with new-age technologies one must modernize their education.

This is how a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration helps students succeed. While understanding a wide variety of subjects is beneficial, the BS degree promotes a more pragmatic outlook on their degree.

For more information, here is an in-depth resource on a BS in Business Administration.

BS vs BA In Business Administration

It’s hard to determine which is better BA or BS in business administration. The difference might not actually be a matter of better or worse, but a difference in style.

History actually shines a light on this matter.

When looking at higher education throughout a historical lens, one notes that science and arts used to be much more intertwined. The “classical education” was more closely aligned with the modern day BA. During the 19th and 20th century a division occurred where students wanted a more emphasized program for their major.

This was usually the case in more science-oriented fields. Thus the creation of the Bachelors of Science.

The BS degree allows students to focus more heavily on their interests (their interests being their major). Instead of learning a wide variety of subjects and applying them to your interest, now students could go deeper into their field of study in the same amount of time.

This illustrates the key difference between the BS and the BA.

One is designed to emphasize the importance of the major, allowing students to focus their efforts on a narrow path to gain applicable knowledge (BS).

The other is designed to show how the major fits into the wide net of other majors, connecting them all in order to gain further insight (BA).

Which Should You Choose?

This is the ultimate question, isn’t it? Both have their role to play and both are acceptable ways to learn Business Administration. At the end of the day, it solely comes down to disposition.

Perhaps this is a good way to capture the personality differences between the two programs:

A student wanting to go into the Bachelors of Arts for Business Administration might think that understanding business practices is important. However, what’s equally important is understanding how business fits into the world at large. There is more than just the sales cycle and the hours of work, there’s a vast network of thought that needs to be put into a business. This network comes from studying philosophy, history, art, alongside business.

Whereas a student focused on the Bachelors of Science program might already envision themselves working in a particular sector. For this student having the practical knowledge to succeed in that world is what’s most important. Innovation and forward-thinking are what drives businesses forward and often times those innovations are technical.

More so for a BS than a BA, finding the right program for a Business Administration degree is necessary. What to look for are the type of courses designed to fit today’s world. Data analytics, AI in business, these are the sort of topics that will help a BSBA student thrive.

Today’s world is a fast-changing one and graduates of Business Administration programs are needed to keep up. Regardless of BS or BA.


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Published April 26, 2019