What Is the Difference Between a Business Administration Degree and a Supply Chain Management Degree?

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You want to work in business, but the field is so broad that you don’t know where to start. If you are good at solving problems, thinking critically and staying organized, then you might be contemplating a career in supply chain management. Supply chain management is the specialized area of business that deals with coordinating and allocating the supplies a company or organization needs to run. Naturally, the curriculum of a supply chain management degree is somewhat different than that of a general business administration degree. College graduates also see some differences in terms of career opportunities, although there are plenty of jobs you can do with a supply chain management degree.

DegreeQuery.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Business Administration and Supply Chain Management Curricula Differences

The distinction between a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management is mainly the difference between a specialized program and a broader program. A business administration degree program exposes students to a breadth of business fields but allows them to concentrate in one area of interest. All business administration students complete required coursework in subjects like finance, accounting, marketing and organizational behavior. Concentrations within a business administration program can be somewhat general, like finance or marketing, or they can be niche fields like sports management or tourism and hospitality. Some business administration programs offer a supply chain management major, which can give students who are struggling to choose between these two degree options the best of both worlds. When business administration students choose a general business option instead of a narrower concentration, they fill out their college curriculum with upper-level coursework in each of the different business fields rather than limiting themselves to one subject.

RELATED: What Classes Will I Have to Take for a Degree in Business Administration?

Undergraduate degrees in supply chain management might include classes such as introduction to project management, business logistics and transportation management, global procurement and source strategies and demand and supply chain planning and fulfillment. Students should consider gaining real-world experience through a supply chain management internship. In addition to developing in-depth knowledge about supply chain management principles and practices, students in this program also complete core business coursework so that they have a broad understanding of the entire business field. However, supply chain management students often don’t take as many classes from the other major business disciplines as their peers studying general business administration do.

Supply chain management programs exist at the graduate level. General business administration students who develop an interest in supply chain management once they are out in the workforce may go to graduate school to gain specialized skills in this field.  

Career Prospects in Business and Logistics

Because a general business degree is less specialized than a supply chain management degree, students generally find this educational background to be more versatile. Business majors can wind up working in any number of business and finance occupations, including high-paying roles like personal financial advisor, management analyst, budget analyst and loan officer. The narrower focus of a supply chain management degree might not equip students with the finance, accounting and leadership strategy knowledge needed for these roles. However, having a depth of knowledge related to system dynamics, database management and logistics software and technologies can prepare you for jobs that require more specialized expertise than a general business program could provide. These occupations can be just as lucrative as the highest-paying business careers.

Job titles for supply chain manager roles can vary considerably. Among the most prestigious titles are Global Consumer Sector Vice President, Supply Chain Vice President, Global Supply Chain Vice President,  Global Supply Chain Director and Supply Chain Director. You might also hold titles such as Solution Design and Analysis Manager or Material Requirements Planning Manager as well as the more general Supply Chain Manager. Overall, supply chain manager positions tend to be lucrative, with a median wage of $50.77 per hour, or $105,610 per year.

Logistician is another popular career path for graduates of a supply chain management degree program. These non-leadership roles revolve around analyzing and coordinating the system of attaining, using and delivering products that include manufacturing materials and consumer goods, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. While all industries require some form of supplies, jobs for logisticians are so concentrated in certain industries that the top five employing industries account for almost 80 percent of jobs in the field. One in four logisticians works in manufacturing, and one in five has a job with the federal government. As a whole, logisticians earn a median wage of $74,590 per year, but among only those logisticians working for the government, the median salary is nearly $10,000 higher.

With a supply chain management degree, you could also be a purchasing manager, buyer or purchasing agent, the BLS reported. Management positions in purchasing have a $115,760 median wage, while non-management jobs see a $62,120 median salary.

Additional Resources

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With a Supply Chain Management Degree?

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Logistician?

What Is the Benefit of an Industrial Engineering Degree Vs a Supply Chain Management Degree?