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Distance Learning or Full-time MBA: The More Suitable Option

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Earning a pay check or pursuing higher studies to improve the prospects of a better paying job – that’s a dilemma facing most students in the final year of their graduation. For those who want to make a career in management, this dilemma translates into the all-important question of whether to work toward a securing a seat in a prestigious full-time MBA program or earn a degree and some work experience side by side with a distance learning program. To simplify that choice for you, we’ve put together a comparison between distance learning and full-time MBA.

Here are some of the top factors to consider whether a full-time MBA or a distance learning program would be the more suitable option for you:

Time

The commitment of time is one of the key decisive factors when choosing between a full-time and distance learning MBA program. With five to six hours of classes every day, assignments, presentations and group tasks, a full-time MBA requires your utmost dedication and undivided attention. You won’t have room to fit in other pursuits like an add-on course or a part-time job with this course.\

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Distance learning, on the other hand, is a lot more flexible. The advent of technology has particularly contributed to the ease of studying via distance learning programs. With online classes scheduled a few times in a week, mostly on weekends, and course materials delivered right to your doorstep or your inbox, distance learning certainly makes for a more viable and practical option if you want to pursue two courses in a two-year timeframe or want to earn a MBA degree while keeping a full-time job. With specialization options available in different distance learning curriculums today, it certainly is a more preferred choice for working professionals who already have chosen a speciality or field of work they’d like to make a career in.

Money

On an average, a two-year full-time MBA program at one of the premiere institutes in the country costs Rs 12-15 lakh, provided you make it on merit. The fee is unbelievably exorbitant for sponsored seats. On the other hand, MBA courses offered via distance learning cost nearly 10 times less. So, for those with monetary constraints, distance learning definitely makes for a more suitable option as it is not only economical but also allows you to keep a full-time day job to support yourself through the course of the degree.

Job Avenues

Management professionals are sought after by businesses and big corporations alike and most recruiters prefer those who have pursued a full-time degree. All the hard work and toil put in during the two years you spend at a management school will be rewarded with a well-paying job and a satisfying career trajectory. That is why lakhs of students aspire and prepare for top management programs in the country and abroad.

In comparison, a management degree via distance learning can seem somewhat lackluster from a recruiter’s point of view. This is not to say that one has no chances of landing a job after earning a MBA degree through distance learning. However, a candidate who has pursued a full-time MBA definitely has an edge over someone from a distance learning program. On the flip side, a distance learning MBA program can definitely improve the chances of promotion or a raise in an existing job.

Exposure

A management degree is not just about textbook knowledge. The ability to analyse business situations and the functioning of different organisational sectors from a professional perspective is a huge part of this stream of learning. This unique perspective will not only stand you in good stead during your job interviews but also help you deliver better results in real-life professional situations. With its myriad extra-curricular activities such as guest lectures, training sessions and case study analysis, a full-time MBA helps you develop and hone that professional eye.

In a distance learning setting, the exposure to experts, be it working professionals or professors with an in-depth knowledge of their subject matter, is rather limited. It also limits a student’s exposure to that edge you gain from participation in group activities and extra-curricular events. A distance learning program may put your textbook learning on par with that of a full-time MBA but you’ll definitely miss out on the experience of putting this acquired knowledge into application. It is a natural compromise that comes with flexibility and lesser time commitment.

Placements

Landing a seat at a reputed management college offers a de facto job guarantee. All leading business schools, be it within the country or overseas, arrange on campus placement drives for their students and anyone who has done reasonably well during the course of their MBA program has a decent shot at having a job offer letter in hand even before getting their degree.

Job placements are practically unheard of in distance learning programs. Since these courses are run remotely, putting together a placement drive is a monumental task that most of these institutes do not have the infrastructure or resources for. In addition to that, the fact that most people pursuing distance learning MBAs are working professionals makes such placement drives obsolete. If you intend to switch jobs or change your work profile after completing an MBA via distance learning, you have to be prepared to fend for yourself.

Ease of Admission

It is no secret that B-school admissions are a tough nut to crack. MBA aspirants have to ace formidable entrance exams like CAT and GMAT and then compete against thousands of qualified candidates in group discussions and interviews to make the cut. The competition is intense, downright cut-throat even, and the rate of elimination abysmally high. In contrast, distance learning programs do not have such a long-drawn and highly competitive admission process. As long as you meet the required basic education criteria, you can enroll in the course and start working toward earning a management degree. For those who have struggled with MBA entrance exams in the past, distance learning definitely makes for a lucrative alternative for putting that management degree on their resume.

The bottom line is that distance learning programs work best for working professionals who already have full-time jobs and want to improve their career prospective without going on a sabbatical. For young graduates and students, a full-time MBA is certainly a better suited choice.

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