Distance MBA - Key differences between distance and full time mode of study
Sreetama Datta, 01 Jun 2016
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Great Lakes Institute of Management 2020
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Working professionals or executives often undergo the dilemma whether to go for the full time management programme for 2 years or 1 year Executive MBA or Distance MBA. Not all aspirants can take a hiatus from work to pursue higher education. Moreover, the full time courses are way costlier compared to the Distance or Part Time MBA programmes. While on the other hand, the Distance MBA would not give you the exposure you are looking for or placement opportunities. To help you cope with the dilemma and take the right decision, this article from the Distance MBA series of Careers360 brings to you the comparative analysis of the Distance MBA Vs. Full Time MBA or Full Time Executive MBA.

What is Distance MBA?

As the name suggests, distance learning mode is something where the methodology of delivering the education depends upon virtual mode of instruction such as through videos lectures, email or by post. Occasionally, classes and exams are held in the slated venue and schedule. Distance MBA is often referred as Online MBA or E-MBA.


Full Time MBA or Executive MBA

The full time mode of studies is mainly residential programme where the students pursue the course in physical classroom mode in direct face to face communication with the faculty members and classmates. Apart from academics, the full time MBA or Executive MBA also enjoy the facilities of the campus like library, reading room etc. They get the opportunity to involve in non-academic activities like sports, quiz, competitions, and cultural activities to name a few.

The following table brings to you brief insights on various aspects which every MBA aspirant, irrespective of mode of studies should assess before taking the admission.

Aspects to Assess

Distance MBA

Full Time MBA/Executive MBA

Programme Delivery

The delivery of the programme takes place mainly through the internet. Some of the institutes send the study materials via post. Personal contact programmes are also conducted by some of the Distance MBA players like AIMA-CME. The students can choose the mode and schedule of attending classes based on their convenience.

The Full Time programmes are residential. The programme credits vary according to B-schools and programmes. Here students have to follow the schedule assigned by the B-School and do not have the convenience to attend classes based on their will.


The curriculum is designed keeping in mind that the students are working professionals, hence the curriculum is crisp and less comprehensive.

The curriculum of the full time regular MBA is most comprehensive followed by the 1 year Executive MBA programmes. The curriculum not only includes theoretical learning but provides practical experiences and exposure as well.


The students can select the exam schedule and venue based on their convenience. The assignments can be published online or through email and the deadline for submission is also flexible owing to the professional priority and commitment of the enrolled students.  

The students pursuing full time MBA programmes are in a much stricter environment than the Distance Learning mode. Class participation forms an important part of assessment. Students are also prepared for surprise quizzes and projects. Assignments and exams have strict schedule and deadline.


The duration of the Distance MBA is classified into minimum and maximum duration. Minimum duration refers to the actual course duration, which ranges from 1 to 3 years. Along with the original duration, the students are given another 1 or 2 years breather, within which they have to complete the programme. 

The duration of the regular MBA programme is 2 years and the Executive programme is 1 year. It is mandatory to complete the programme within the stipulated duration or the degree/diploma is not conferred to the student.


The fee of the MBA or Executive MBA programmes is much lesser compared to the full time programmes. The fee ranges from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh which is affordable for majority of the aspirants or students.

The fee for the full time programmes, be it the 2 year regular MBA or the Executive MBA programmes are more expensive in comparison to the Distance MBA programmes. The range of fee is from Rs. 14 to 30 lakh or more. Financing the programme is an important factor for the aspirants and students.


There is no fixed intake for the Distance MBA programmes and hence aspirants need not worry about the competition for the coveted seat unlike the full time management programmes.

The number of seats is fixed at the B-schools for each programme. Hence, the chance of selection after competing through the applications gets tougher.

Admission Process

The admission process, including the eligibility, application process & fee and the selection procedure is simpler and more user friendly owing to the fact that the number of applicants are also higher in number and they are mostly working executives. Hence the process is more conducive to allow more and more aspirants to apply.

The application and admission process is a bit more complex and elaborate for the full time MBA and Executive MBA programmes. The full time MBA and Executive MBA programmes take place on the basis of the eligibility, entrance exam, GD/WAT/PI, profile among others.


The scope of industrial or exposure in any other terms is limited or nil. Since the students are mostly working executives, the option of exposure is ruled out. However, it is a necessary aspect for students who are not working professionals or want to change the domain of work.

Industry exposure in the form of company/factory visits and guest lecture from industry players are integral part of the pedagogy. Owing to the full time mode of study, the B-schools integrate industry and international exposure in the curriculum.

Non-academic activities

The scope of getting involved in non-academic activities in this mode of studies is nil or limited. The students hardly get the scope or opportunity to participate in competitions or cultural/sports after attending the classes, projects/assignments and exams.

Along with the regular classes and academic activities, the students also participate in non-academic activities like inter or intra B-School competitions, cultural and sports activities are in-built within the curriculum.


Networking with faculty members and peers do not take place on regular basis due to the mode of programme delivery. The students seldom get the chance to interact with the faculty members or classmates through webinars or campus visits for exams or personal contact programmes.

One of the advantages of the full time programmes is that the students are a part of continuous learning not only from the classes or the curriculum but through networking and interaction with the batchmates, who, like the students, carry years of qualitative work experience, regular and guest faculty members.

Scopes post course completion/placement

The Distance MBA programmes do not offer placement process since the students are working professionals. In case they plan to switch jobs or change the role, they have to do so on their own.

The full time programmes conduct placement process at the end of the academic year. Students get the opportunity to get a job in a new role and organization.

Recognition by employers

The companies recognize the programmes which are offered by the top Distance MBA players. The programmes must be approved by the requisite authorities in order to get proper recognition by the current or prospective employers.

The full time Executive MBA prorammes are not only recognized by the employers but the B-schools provide placement opportunities at the end of the programme where the top recruiters from each sector and domain participate in the recruitment process.

Both the modes of study come with their own set of pros and cons. You need to choose wisely keeping in mind your priorities and convenience.

Also Read

Executive MBA - Part Time Vs. Full Time Mode of Study

Distance MBA – Factors to check before enrolling

Distance MBA - Pros and Cons to check before you enroll

Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more news and updates on Distance MBA.

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