Is Part-Time MBA worth it? Pros and Cons of Distance MBA
Before understanding the difference between part-time and full-time MBA, one must look at the various reasons why a student wants to do an MBA. After completing graduation, a whole new gamut of career streams opens up for a student. However, based on their interest, cost, job opportunities, location, etc. a student decides what to do next.
In the last two decades, more and more students, including engineers, have been moving towards the MBA line. One of the main reasons for this is the lucrative salary, which one can get after completing an MBA in comparison to those who did not. Also, candidates who had been working previously are interested in this course because an MBA provides the opportunity to change career streams and also to get higher growth within the organization.
This means, MBA throws open the option of getting either or both horizontal and vertical career growth. It also means that a candidate can avail of this growth path much faster. MBA is a course that is believed to prepare a candidate for this.
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Generally, there are two kinds of MBA that a student or am aspirant can consider: a) Full time and b) Part-time program. Both these programs will ensure the conferring of the MBA degree to a student. However, some other factors must be taken into consideration before taking this decision.
A Masters in Business Administration or MBA is a two-year post-graduation program that students of any field can opt for. There is no distinction made between students of different streams in Graduation. However, entry into an MBA school requires one to clear an entrance test which checks on – Quantitative abilities, logical reasoning, verbal abilities, and data interpretation.
There are some common entrance tests for MBA such as CAT, MAT, XAT, etc whose scores are accepted by many colleges. Each college has its cut-off criteria, followed by a group discussion and a personal interview round. A student who clears these selection criteria gets admitted. Once the student gets admission, the first year is a general course that everyone goes through. In the second year, students get to specialize according to their respective choices from options of – Marketing, Human Resource Management, Finance Management, Supply Chain Management, etc.
Most B-schools offer full-time MBA programs. All reputed colleges offer good placement opportunities for students who clear the course. Full-time MBA programs are also greatly beneficial for freshers who do not have work experience. These programs are based on industry exposure, seminars, conferences, guest lectures from industry experts. Also, students can avail of an education loan from a financial institution for completing the course.
Some B-schools offer part-time MBAs along with full-time ones. The part-time MBAs are specially designed keeping in mind the schedule of a working professional. The classes are usually held once or twice a week on weekends. There are two kinds of part-time MBAs – the Executive MBA and the Distance learning MBA. Both courses are opted by professionals who are already working. The executive MBA is meant for those professionals who are already in leadership positions by their performance.
Their company wants them to complete an MBA course to hone up their managerial skills further. More often than not, these courses are funded by the companies themselves. The course fee for EMBA or Executive MBA is much higher than the Full-time MBA. The distance MBA is usually self-sponsored. The professionals who work at the executive level and wish to move into management level by acquiring requisite skills and knowledge, opt for a part-time MBA through distance learning. Also, these professionals cannot afford to leave their job for a two-year full-time course.
The MBAs through distance learning are often not considered by many multinationals which specifically mention the same in their brochure. These companies consider only full-time MBAs or executive MBAs if they are sponsoring. Also, students who need financial aid to do MBA should not consider Distance Learning as banks do not give out loans for MBAs through distance learning.
Comparison between full-time MBA and part-time MBA
- Cost – Full-time MBA is costlier than an MBA through distance learning. However, students aspiring for regular MBA courses can avail of bank loans which are not possible for distance learning courses. Unlike an executive MBA, MBA through distance learning is also not sponsored by companies in most cases.
- Course duration – Full-time MBA is a regular two-year program. While a part-time MBA could be less than two years or sometimes more than two years, depending on the frequency of the classes.
- Placement – Full-time MBAs offer recruitment opportunities at some of the country’s top firms depending on the tier of the College. And some offer international placements as well. However, no placements take place for executive or distance MBA. This is mainly because most students are already working while they are studying
- Competitiveness – In the job market, a regular MBA has far more weight than a distance MBA. Typically, because some of the best minds get selected for the full-time course in the first place. The course design is also different. A full-time MBA has more focus on practical grooming for industry readiness.
- Age profile: On average, the age profile of Students of Regular MBA is lower and ranges between 20 to 27 years while it is much higher in the case of part-time MBA as most of these students already have experience. While in a full-time MBA, most students are freshers.
- Student profile: While both types of MBA accept students from various academic backgrounds, regular MBA grads are fresh pass-outs from colleges. Some students may also have work experience and are looking for a higher-paying job through this course. While in part-time MBA, the candidates are mostly already working for several years and are looking for getting themselves promoted or move to another profile in their existing company.
Why can an MBA through distance learning be a good option?
There are mainly three reasons why a candidate may choose Distance MBA over a regular one.
Affordability – Distance learning courses are way cheaper than regular MBAs. While regular MBAs can cost between Rs 7 lacs to 21 lacs on average, the distance learning MBAs can range between Rs 30,000 to Rs 4.5 lacs, which is the main reason why a candidate can choose Distance MBA.
Structural Flexibility – The design of the distance MBA is such that working professionals can manage it without losing work. Thus the papers, electives, exams are so structured that they can be swapped, rescheduled. Center visits are minimal.
Hence, no specific time allotment needs to be given. This is not the case with regular. The study material, classes, exams, seminars, everything is already calendared. Some colleges have a special weightage in their CGPA for regular attendance. Also, some MBA colleges in India are compulsorily residential, which means that they need to live within the college campus for two years. This may be inconvenient for some students.
Job uncertainty – While good MBA colleges provide excellent placement after completion of the course, students who may not get placed are uncertain about job options. But in the case of a distance learning course, the candidate is already working and needs not to worry about landing a job after course completion. Distance MBA is a good option to learn while earning.
Why distance learning is unpopular as compared to a regular MBA?
No placement: While it’s true that students of distance MBA are already working, there is no guarantee that they will be able to change the course of their career post completion of the course. There is no guarantee of promotion or role movement. Also, due to no placement option, students of this course have to continue in the same job.
No recognition: As already mentioned, most companies while hiring management cadres, specifically mention that they require regular MBA grads only. MBAs through distance learning program is not recognized. Hence trying to avail another job based on a distance MBA could prove to be very difficult
No professional networking: The best part of a regular MBA program is that it offers a channel to network with other future professionals or with industry experts who deliver lectures at the college.
Numerous seminars, convocations, workshops, competitions enable students to interact with students of other faculties or institutions and thereby make their perspectives broader. This is one of the major drawbacks of a distance learning course where zero interaction with any professional network other than where the candidate is already working. Although it is a matter of choice for an individual, considering the pros and cons of the part-time MBA, one feels that professionally a regular MBA is way more rewarding and the expense to undergo it is worth it.
MBA at BMU
BMU is a prestigious institution owned by the Hero group which offers a regular MBA program and also the executive MBA program. The distinguishing feature of the MBA course is that there is a tie-up with the Imperial College London which offers mentorship to not just the students but also the teachers. From designing course material to content management, research activities, the 108-year-old college in London ensures that BMU meets all global benchmarks.
An MBA in BMU also enhances the global competitiveness of students. There is a 2-3 week global exchange program with the Imperial College London, to which a student of BMU can avail. MBA in BMU also focuses on practical learning rather than on textbook-based theories alone. 45% of the curricula are based on hands-on learning or experiential learning.
The course ensures a smooth transition from academics to the corporate world for the students through its multiple seminars convocations workshops. They have regular industry visits as a part of the curriculum for adequate exposure to the corporate, shop floor, and manufacturing setups. Students greatly benefit from this kind of course structure which enables them to be more industry-ready.