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Marketing vs. Management: How to Choose the Degree that Fits Your Future

When deciding on a degree, it’s easy to understand the appeal of a business degree. We live in a business-centric society and the skills you learn in a business program can be applied to a wide variety of industries and niches.

But there’s no such thing as just a ‘business degree’. There are several specializations that fall under the umbrella of business. So now it’s time to figure out what path will lead you to the business career of your dreams. Two of the more popular avenues are marketing and management.

There’s a lot to compare when making your decision: the classes you’ll take, the number of jobs out there and the work you’ll eventually be doing. We put together this side-by-side comparison of marketing versus management so you can determine which degree is the best fit for your future.

marketing vs management

Marketing vs. management: What you’ll learn

Whether you specialize in marketing or management, you’ll develop a solid foundation of business skills with courses like business statistics and strategic management. However, as you get further along into your degree program, the courses you take will narrow in closer on the work you’ll be responsible for in your chosen career.

Marketing course examples:

  • Public Relations & Advertising Strategies
  • Online Multimedia Marketing
  • Strategic Sales & Sales Management

Business management course examples:

  • Applied Management Principles
  • Business Law
  • Negotiation & Conflict Management

As you can see from these sample courses, specializing in marketing will help you become well-versed in the principles and strategies of effective sales and marketing campaigns. Earning a business management degree will prepare you for managing the day to day operations of a business and its employees.

Marketing vs. Management: Career opportunities

One very important factor to consider is the job demand for each field. We used real-time job analysis software to compare the total number of job postings requiring a marketing degree versus a management degree.* The data revealed there were 620,033 business management degree jobs posted over the past year compared to 118,759 marketing degree jobs.

This discrepancy in job postings reflects the overall versatility of a business management degree. While the opportunities available to business management degree holders may be more numerous, it’s still no good to you if you don’t enjoy what the actual work entails.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the top occupations in either field to give you a better idea of what type of work you’d prefer.

In-demand marketing occupations

  • Marketing manager: These individuals are in charge of all marketing policies and programs within an organization. They’re responsible for evaluating marketing strategies, developing and monitoring budgets, researching competitors and market trends and coordinating with an internal marketing team or outside vendors to produce marketing campaigns.
  • Marketing specialist: These specialists help execute promotional campaigns and research market conditions to form strategic marketing plans. They collect and analyze data on customer demographics, buying habits and preferences in order to devise effective advertising campaigns.
  • Account executive: These business professionals help coordinate advertising initiatives for clients, typically in an agency setting. They oversee all areas of the account, including budgets, deadlines and delivering the marketing collateral.

Learn more about marketing positions in our article: 10 In-Demand Jobs You Could Land with a Marketing Degree.

In-demand business management occupations

  • Sales manager: These managers oversee and direct sales teams by setting goals, analyzing performance data and training and developing their personnel. They’re also responsible for coordinating sales distribution by establishing territories and quotas.
  • Business analyst: These analysts interpret the needs of a company by conducting organizational studies and evaluations using interviews, surveys, site visits, document analysis and more. They work to simplify procedures to assist management in operating more efficiently and effectively.
  • General manager: These professionals oversee all of the operations of an organization, including managing daily operations, measuring productivity, directing administrative activities and assigning specific duties to staff. They are tasked with supervising several diverse departments, but aren’t devoted to one functional area of management.

Learn more about business management positions in our article: What Can You Do With a Business Management Degree?

Marketing vs. Management: How to decide

It’s important to remember that earning a business management degree does not mean you’re going to jump right into a management position. Odds are good you’ll spend time acquiring knowledge and building experience before making the jump up to a managerial role.

It’s also important to know that specializing in marketing isn’t going to disqualify you from a management position within marketing. With that said, this a decision that will likely down to your personal preference. As a rule of thumb, marketing requires a bit more creativity and empathy in the form of relating with consumers. On the other hand, business management focuses more on the development of a business and managing the resources and personnel needed to get the job done.

Which business degree is best for you?

You now have some helpful information to consider when choosing a career in marketing versus management. We can provide the facts, but the decision is ultimately yours. Start with what matters most to you in your career and life and use that as a guide for evaluating the different aspects of each career path.

Try envisioning yourself in one of the roles mentioned above. Can you picture yourself thriving in any? Or floundering? Take the time to walk yourself through each degree path and research your future career field thoroughly before deciding. No matter which degree you choose, you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream business job!

Think a career in marketing is best for you? Visit our marketing degree page to learn more about how to get started!

If working in management sounds more up your alley, check out our business management degree page for more info!


*Source: (Analysis of job postings requiring a marketing or business management bachelor’s degree, Mar. 1, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in September 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2016.

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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