Distance MBA - Pros and Cons to check before you enroll
Before taking a major decision in life, we always retrospect through the implications so that it turns out to be a wise one. When you have to take a major decision, doing a comparative analysis gives you the overall idea of what to expect and what not to. Similarly, for Distance MBA, before deciding to enroll, know the pros and cons of this mode of study. Here Careers360 offers insight into both sides of the coin.
As the name suggests, Distance MBA is not offered in regular classroom study mode and the pedagogy is dependent more on technology and other modes of communication. Moreover, the aspirants often undergo apprehension regarding the acceptance of the degree in the corporate sphere. Hence, it is always important to test the water before you take a dive.
Let’s first look at the positive side of the picture.
Pros of Distance MBA
Lenient eligibility criteria and selection procedure – Unlike the full time MBA programmes, the Distance MBA programmes’ eligibility and selection criteria are not that stringent. The basic eligibility criterion is that the applicants need to be graduates in any discipline. The number of years of work experience is also not fixed. Although some top Distance MBA players conduct entrance exams for admission, the difficulty level or competitive level is not that high as compared to that of CAT, XAT or other MBA entrance exams. Moreover, Distance MBA does not include the processes like GD, PI or WAT.
No Age bar – Since there is no higher age limit for the candidates, the students can be from any professional background or position. For senior professionals, it might get difficult to enroll in a full time programme or he/she may feel uncomfortable attending classroom education amidst fellow students belonging to various age groups. For them, the Distance mode of MBA is ideal.
No competition – Unlike the regular MBA programmes, where aspirants have to undergo rigorous process of taking MBA entrance exam, appearing for the GD, PI or WAT rounds, the aspirants for the Distance MBA do not feel the heat of heavy competition. Moreover, since there is no specific number of seats, the enrollment of students can be of any number, without hampering the scope of learning. For example, fulltime PGDM (Executive) course at IMT Ghaziabad has only 60 seats and 6000 applicants, but the online mode of the programme can admit and accommodate any number of students.
Study at your convenience: In majority of Distance MBA programmes, students have liberty to choose class schedule and the module of study. The working executives can easily carry out their responsibilities along with study. Hence there is no pressure of attending classes, maintaining minimum attendance percentage etc. Location is also one of the biggest advantages as there is no requirement to relocate or commute to another part of the city to attend the classes.
Some institutes offer online video lectures or webinars which allow the students to interact with fellow students and professor during the webinar. In case a student is not able to participate in the live webinar, the offline lecture is sent to them, which they can go through later on, as per their convenience.
Flexibility – Majority of the Distance MBA players keep the duration of the programme flexible. Along with the original duration, the students are given another 1 or 2 years breather, within which they have to complete the programme. In case any student undergoes a professional or personal commitment or crisis, they have the extended bandwidth to complete the course. In terms of exams, the students are given the convenience to choose the date and time. The assignments can also be submitted online or by post, as per the institute’s methodology.
Affordable fee – The Distance MBA programmes are not that highly priced as the full time programmes. The total fee ranges from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. The MBA aspirants, who cannot afford to spend hefty fee of Rs. 7-15 lakh, can opt for this mode of MBA.
Now it is time to have a look at the cons of Distance MBA.
Cons of Distance MBA
Lack of specializations – The Distance MBA curriculum does not offer you much specialization options apart from few usual ones. Whereas in the Full Time MBA, there is vast choice of elective and specialized courses which you can pursue. In this regard, Distance MBA curriculum gives you the basic knowledge of the core courses.
Lack of exposure – Owing to the mode of programme delivery, there is no room for industry visits or internship. There is hardly any opportunity to get an exposure beyond the student’s own work place, where they can apply the theories. For non-working students, it would be even more difficult as the lack of industry exposure hardly adds value to the management degree.
No networking opportunity - There is hardly any scope for interaction with peers or faculty members since there is no proper classroom structure. The students opt for their classes or webinars according to their convenience and hence, they are mostly unaware about their batch mates. Although the institutes ensure interaction with faculty members through online lectures or chats, it can get inconvenient to reach them at the need of the hour, when queries or doubts ensue. After all, face to face and direct communication is always better than virtual communication.
Tough to make work-study balance – After a hectic day of balancing the responsibilities at work and home, the professionals often get drained out for putting regular hours of study. As a result, the revision of notes and study materials take place only before the exam. The students often keep delaying the exam or assignment submission dates since they are not able to cope up with the professional or personal priorities. This process hampers the overall learning and conceptual clarity, and eventually the performance. Even if they obtain the degree, it becomes a tag and not a value addition to the overall qualification and personality.
No placement: Distance MBA programmes do not offer placement opportunities after completion of the course. Since majority of the students are working executives and scattered across the country, it is not possible for the institutes to conduct a common placement process.
Corporate recognition – Apart from the programmes offered by the top players, there is hardly any corporate recognition for Distance MBA. The recruiters also tend to give more recognition or importance to the full time MBA/PGDM/Executive MBA students. However, eventually the degree might help in getting promotions or appraisal based on individual performance that is powered by management lessons learned during such MBA programmes. But, this depends a lot on how Distance MBA learning is applied in day-to-day work.
Distance MBA - What, Why and How
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