Finance vs. Business Administration: Which Career Path Is Right for You?

Just as business is a multidimensional discipline in practice, a variety of degree programs focus on the big and small picture of the field. To some students, a broad business administration program can be the right step in pursuing their goals, while others would rather gain an education more tailored to their specific desired career paths. Find out how a business program, such as those offered by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, can hone students’ skills and if you’d prefer to take a more holistic approach or pursue a specialized program, such as finance.

Finance vs Business Administration Major

What is a business administration degree?

A business administration degree focuses on the principles of business management, including the people and processes involved. This degree covers a variety of business subjects, from accounting and marketing to advertising. It equips you with the skills you need to take on various managerial and administrative roles. With a degree in business administration, youll learn subjects that prepare you to work in a wide range of businesses. Youll have some flexibility within the field, as business administrators are needed in businesses of all types.

Choosing a business administration degree will give you the foundational knowledge necessary to maneuver in the business world. Comprehensive management skills, interpersonal skills and knowledge of business-oriented technology are some of the important things youll learn during your first years of school. Continuing your education will add critical business function skills to your knowledge base, including those involved in project management, human resources and international business opportunities. If you decide to pursue an MBA, youll get practical and theoretical knowledge that will help you manage a business. This includes skills such as relationship management and strong leadership.

What is a finance degree?

A finance degree focuses on how financial institutions and investments work. This degree will equip you with the knowledge you need to advise clients on financial issues and investment strategies. With this degree, youll have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as corporate finance, behavioral finance and financial evaluation.

A finance degree allows you to work with a business to streamline their operation, mainly through investments, financial planning, international finance, budgeting and financial problem-solving processes. Its coursework focuses on aspects like foundational math, strategic cost analysis, management and accounting. These financial elements ensure that you graduate with the ability to make logical financial decisions for any company.

This degree is suitable for individuals interested in investments, banking and business. As a finance graduate, youll have the ability to analyze markets and economies, which makes a career in financial planning a possibility. Earning a finance degree opens up many other career opportunities and provides you with various soft skills. These include communication, problem-solving and money management skills, all of which are critical to working in the financial industry.

Job opportunities for finance majors

Earning a degree in finance allows you to venture into various finance-related fields. Some of the job opportunities available to you with this type of degree include financial analyst, financial manager, management analyst and personal financial adviser. Take a look at these job opportunities for finance majors:

Financial analyst

Financial analysts provide comprehensive insights into how businesses or individuals can make better financial decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, markets and bonds. For this job, its important to possess excellent analytical skills, communication abilities, mathematical knowledge and leadership skills. These professionals work for banks, insurance companies and corporations.

Financial planner

A financial planner is an advisor who helps individuals and business entities manage their budgets and attain their financial goals. They can specialize in taxes, investments, retirement accounts or estate planning. Financial planners should have impressive research, analytical and negotiation skills. These professionals work in investment banks or firms.

Financial advisor

Financial advisors provide personalized financial management services to their clients. They help manage estates, create estate plans, manage investments and purchase stocks. Financial advisors can work as insurance agents, money managers, stockbrokers or bankers. They must have exceptional interpersonal, sales, analytical and mathematic skills.

Financial controller

Within an accounting department, a financial controller is a top-level employee. This professional helps prepare financial statements, draw up balance sheets, create budgets and make cash flow reports. They oversee every accounting function, ensuring that businesses comply with all relevant accounting standards and legislation.

Investor relations associate

Investor relation associates help prepare and present financial information about a specific company to investors or analysts. This role requires impressive communication, writing, analytical and organizational skills. These professionals ensure that investors make logical decisions based on the information they present.

Credit analyst

Credit analysts work in fast-paced environments, assessing and deciding their clients creditworthiness. These professionals must possess outstanding research, analytical, communication and technical skills. Some of the places they work are banks, health care facilities, government offices, credit institutions and the retail industry.

Determining which degree is right for you

Choosing a finance degree versus a business administration degree can be difficult because of how closely these two fields are related. Both of these degrees provide you with skills that allow you to work in the business world, but they prepare you for different careers.

When you choose to earn a finance degree, youll learn about the financial side of business, which means youre more likely to get a job in the accounting department, while a business administration degree allows you to choose a career in many different fields. For example, you can work in a companys human resources department, where youll hire and train new employees, or you can work as a business manager, overseeing many people and reporting to the CEO. Both degrees provide you with valuable skills in a variety of business subjects.

Where to work with a finance degree

A degree in finance allows you to work in the finance sector of business. This degree prepares you for a job in many different business environments, including insurance firms, banks, corporations and the public sector. You can choose to work in some of the following fields:

Investment banks

Investment banking jobs focus on trading corporate securities and providing insightful financial advice to businesses and individuals. A finance degree gives you the knowledge to carry out the financial structuring of various business operations. They ensure that businesses and individuals make calculated decisions. An individual working in this environment must possess excellent networking skills.

Corporate finance

This field requires a person to be a financial expert in budgeting, as they need to have the ability to maximize the use of a corporations money. A finance degree will prepare a graduate so that they feel confident allocating, investing and saving money on behalf of a business or an individual. Their job will require them to strategically reduce business operation costs and maximize returns.

Portfolio management

Portfolio management is an excellent blend of financial science and commerce. This field requires individuals to make sound investment policies within an organization, allocating assets per individual needs. A finance degree allows for the guidance of clients on the status of their investments, whether comprehensively or lightly.

Risk management

Most firms aim to increase their investments in a way that enhances returns yet minimizes risks. A finance degree gives an individual financial problem-solving skills that allow for managing and overseeing market risks that may affect the company they work for. The mathematical reasoning acquired from a finance degrees coursework provides the ability to develop tailor-made solutions for specific industries.

Commercial banks

A career in commercial banking means providing various financial services, from managing corporate accounts and investing a businesss profits to facilitating loans. A finance degree gives one the skills to determine risks attached to specific account holders, ensuring that logical decisions are made on financing and investment options for those individuals.

Job opportunities for business administration majors

A business administration degree provides you with versatility when selecting a job. It allows you to work in any business-related sector. The following are some of the most common career options you have with a business administration degree:

Market research analyst

A market research analyst collects and collates data, interprets data and helps identify market patterns. They ensure that the company they work for focuses on the right customers and products, maximizing their returns. They can be either quantitative or qualitative researchers.

Training and development specialist

Training and development specialists create, administer and deliver critical training programs for organizations. They assess the needs and personalize the training program to suit the specific company. This jobs growth outlook is high due to the fact that this career path allows someone to work in almost any industry.

Sales manager

Sales managers guide, mentor, train and set sales goals for their sales team. These professionals create sales plans, analyze data and assign sales territories to specific sales team members. An excellent sales manager will possess strong communication skills, leadership abilities, strategic planning abilities and analytical skills. They can work in various industries.

Management consultant

Management consultants help organizations improve their performance by creating value, maximizing growth and solving issues with employees and policies. Their objective expertise and advice ensure seamless management within the organization.

Tax manager

Tax managers are vital to any organization. They help ensure regulatory compliance, oversee the accounting department and report taxes to the IRS. This role requires someone with good accounting skills who specializes in taxes.

Business development manager

A business development manager helps improve business growth by establishing good relationships with customers and partners. Identifying sales leads, pitching products, overseeing the development of marketing literature and writing reports are skills necessary for taking

on this role.

Business process analyst

A business process analyst is responsible for designing, streamlining and engineering business processes within a business. The goal for this job is to find out how business processes can be improved and streamlined or automated.

Where to work with a business administration degree

With a degree in business administration, you have a number of opportunities available to you. Whether you prefer the people side of the business or the function and policymaking, theres a job in the business world for you. Some of the environments you may enjoy working in include:


A degree in business administration readies an individual to oversee marketing campaigns and coordinate marketing teams. This environment requires someone who can estimate a products demand and returns.

Database administration

Working in database administration entails managing digital information and studying consumer behavior. A business administration degree provides the technical knowledge needed to keep data secure and logically organized.


A business administration degree is ideal for anyone looking forward to managing business operations. This task or environment requires the employee to enforce quality standards and improve efficiency levels. Business operation management often involves working in the manufacturing sector or the corporate world.


The healthcare sector is a complex environment, requiring executives who can figure out how to provide quality medical care at a minimal cost. A business administration degree gives an individual the necessary skills to manage scarce resources and succeed in the healthcare industry.

Choosing a career in business administration or finance

Various benefits come with having a degree in finance or business administration. Some of these advantages are as follows:


Which one is better finance or business administration?

Key Takeaways. A finance degree places a greater emphasis on math to prepare students for a job that entails financial analysis. A business administration degree will emphasize managerial skills and human resource skills, such as interpersonal relations and customer service.

Is finance part of business administration?

A business administration degree touches on all of the aspects of business including general business administration, accounting, finance, project management, human resources, marketing, and organizational behavior.

Is business and finance the same thing?

Finance is the study of how individuals and institutions earn, save, and spend money over a certain period of time. Business is concerned with legalities. The main aim of business is to create a legally supported organization that operates by selling goods and/or services.

Is a business administration degree worth it?

Yes, business administration is a good major because it dominates the list of most in-demand majors. Majoring in business administration may also prepare you for a wide-range of high-paying careers with above average growth prospects (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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