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Differences Between a B.A. in Business and an MBA

Two standard degrees to target for your business career include a Bachelor of Arts in Business and an MBA. They offer you the opportunity to target entry-level and advanced roles across fields like marketing, sales, finance, management, human resources, and more.

But how exactly are these programs different? Which one will help you achieve your career aspirations and salary potential? The following sections explore some of the basic differences between a B.A. in Business and an MBA.

Level of Study

The most obvious difference between the two degrees is that they’re at different levels in your educational journey. You can only consider getting an MBA after obtaining a bachelor’s degree like the B.A. in Business.

The B.A. in Business is a standard four-year undergraduate program. However, you’ll only need to study for approximately two more years if you have already earned your associate degree, or if you have an equivalent amount of college credits to transfer. Studying part-time would increase the time it takes to earn your degree.

On the other hand, an MBA is a graduate program, which means it comes after completing your bachelor’s (or undergraduate) degree. It’s specifically a master’s degree — MBA stands for Master of Business Administration — and often takes around two years of full-time study. Studying part-time for an MBA is more common given people’s work and family responsibilities; doing so can add to the time it takes to earn an MBA.

Career Opportunities

The two degrees in question are nothing alike when it comes to the level of study. However, the B.A. in Business and the MBA offer a foundational and advanced coverage of business topics, respectively. And the resulting career opportunities correspond to the aforementioned levels of coverage.

Obtaining a strong basis in business with the bachelor’s degree will allow you to enter a wide range of entry-level business roles. If you’re interested in marketing, you could pursue a job as a marketing coordinator or brand marketing assistant. The same can be said for financial analyst, human resources specialist, sales representative, and many other roles. There are several major areas of interest within business and even more subareas within these major areas (e.g., marketing: market research, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, copywriting, etc.).

Also note that a B.A. in Business is the minimum for many business positions. Often, the real question is whether or not you’ll need an MBA.

The B.A. in Business offers a broad foundation in business while the MBA turns to advanced topics like integrated marketing communication, organizational leadership, and business ethics. It’s also important to note that the MBA is perhaps the most recognizable and desirable academic credential in business.

Graduating with an MBA can help you reach virtually any position in business. A lot of people use it to either break into or advance even higher within management and leadership positions. It can also be helpful if it’s relevant to your specialist role. For instance, if you have experience as a financial analyst, an MBA added to your resume could open up high-level roles as a hedge fund manager or investment banker.

Salary Potential

There’s no question that advancing your education with an MBA can increase your salary potential significantly.

A lot of it involves the specifics of your situation. If your company or the market commands higher salary figures for an MBA in your position, it can be simple decision to earn an MBA. Perhaps more often, though, an MBA will result in higher job opportunities and thus higher salary potential.

Take the previous example of going from a financial analyst to a role like hedge fund manager or investment banker. According to reported salary figures from PayScale at the time of publication, financial analysts earn an average salary of $60,674, compared to hedge fund managers at $103,303 and investment bankers at $99,350.

The same website reports that people with an MBA earn nearly $20,000 more on average than people with a bachelor’s degree in business. Professionals with a B.A. in Business Administration earn an average salary of about $69,000, compared to MBA holders at roughly $88,000.

Although there are too many specifics to address in any given situation, the decision to earn an MBA can pay off significantly in terms of salary and career possibilities. If you’re interested in starting or advancing your career, you can earn an online bachelor’s degree in business or your MBA online.

Earn your degree in a fully online format from Concordia University, St. Paul. Pursue your goals and learn from professors who have real-world experience.