One of the most common questions that plague the minds of MBA aspirants is which mode of MBA course should they go for. It is indeed very confusing when you are standing at the crossroads, to decide between an MBA full-time vs. part-time.
Full-time and distance MBA do share certain similarities, but there are also significant differences in these courses.
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In this article, let us find out in detail, about both these courses and understand which one is more suitable for you.
The full-time management course is of 2 years’ duration and mostly residential, keeping in mind the vast course content. In this mode of study, students have to attend daily classes and directly communicate with the faculty members and classmates.
During the tenure of the course, students would get the opportunity to be a member of various interactive clubs and sports and get a taste of post-graduation college life. Internships and the chance to work on live projects are also offered to the students, but this entirely depends on the management of that institute.
After completion of the course, students are recruited by various reputed companies during the campus placement drives conducted by the institution.
Distance MBA is also referred to as an online MBA or E-MBA. And as the name suggests, here the learning process would take place via various communicating mediums like post, email, video lectures. With the rapid advancement in technology, the top Business schools have now designed innovative courses, the most popular amongst them being a part-time or Distance MBA course. The part-time programs include specialized topics including finance, marketing, and HR, much like a full-time MBA, as well as emerging streams.
But it is to be kept in mind, that no face-to-face communication with the faculties and the students takes place in this mode of MBA education it is not one of the priorities. However, some institutions do arrange for monthly classroom training. These take place at the nearest venue of the students where they get a chance to interact with the faculty and clear their queries.
Difference Between the Full-Time MBA vs Distance MBA
Below, we have weighed both full-time and part-time MBA programs, based on several parameters to help you understand the varying features.
- Programme DeliveryFull-time MBA- Most B-schools conduct full-time MBA programs which are residential, and the course structure varies according to the institutions. Here the classes are conducted regularly, and therefore the students do not have the flexibility to attend classes at their will. Every student has to stick to the curriculum designed by their colleges and maintaining regular attendance is mandatory. Distance MBA–Here, the lectures take place via the internet, and the study materials are sent to the candidates by post. But some institutes also offer Distance learning programs where personal contact can be facilitated. Students can come and attend classes at the campus, once or twice a month by choosing their preferred dates.
- CurriculumFull-time MBA- The curriculum of a regular MBA course is comprehensive, and it imbibes not only practical skills but also theoretical insights into the minds of the students. Due to the industrial exposure offered, the students are tailored to be industry-ready by the end of the course. Distance MBA- As distance MBA is preferred mostly by working professionals, the syllabus is crisper and less comprehensive so that the students do not have a hard time coping with it.
- DurationFull-time MBA-As mentioned earlier, the tenure of this course is of 2 years. Students are required to complete the course within the stipulated duration, and the certificate is not conferred to them if they are unable to clear the course within the 2 years. Distance MBA-Here the duration is flexible; the minimum duration is of 1 year whereas the maximum is of 3 years. But, if any student is unable to complete the course even within 3 years, owing to their professional commitments, they are given another 1 or 2 years to complete the course successfully.
- PedagogyFull-time MBA-As you will be pursuing this course from an institution, the environment would be strict, and you would be required to follow a set of rules. Here class participation is a vital part of the course and engagement in quizzes, puzzles, and assignments are also tracked for performance. Distance MBA-If you have a reliable internet connection, you can pursue the course online by logging in with the credentials offered by your college. For the exams, you need to choose a preferred venue as well as the desired time. Assignments can be submitted online through emails and submission time can also be stretched, which depends on the flexibility of the college involved.
- Admission process full-time MBA-The admission process is elaborate and to be eligible for admission you have to clear competitive exams like CAT/XAT/MAT/SNAP etc. After scoring, you will be getting calls for interviews from colleges, clearing which you will be allowed to take admission. Distance MBA-The process is user-friendly and conducive to allow more aspirants to take up the course.
Which mode of MBA will suit you the best?
You can conduct a self-counseling session to determine at which stage you are in, and pursuing which course would be fit for your schedule. Are you in a position where you will be able to commit all your time and efforts towards your learning? Or, do you want to embark on your MBA journey by not abandoning your personal and professional commitments?
You must also clearly understand why you want to pursue a management course. Is it to switch your current track of career or to climb up the corporate ladder? Some more crucial questions to ask yourself would include – whether you are a person who is keen to indulge in networking for professional reasons.
Also, what is the state of your finances? How much money can you invest right now? Would you prefer to take debt for your education? After you have received the answers to all the above-mentioned questions, it is time to take the first step towards arriving at a decision.
Why should you go for a Full-Time MBA?
One of the chief reasons why professionals decide to leave their jobs to commit all their time towards pursuing a full-time MBA is because it allows them to change their careers. And as for students who are fresh graduates, they also seem to be inclined towards the regular program since they don’t have any professional commitments to hold them back. The internship that students undergo during the full-time program is pretty immersive and allows them to learn new skills which can be applied in their new job role.
A full-time program also enables you to step back and focus on your personal and professional development through experimental learning and networking. If you want career transformation and various job opportunities from a learning program, then a full-time MBA would be perfect for you.
Coming to the part-time course, the students who require less help in job hunting can go for this course. As you might know, internships are not a mandatory part of the course (some colleges might offer internships) because internships prove to be redundant considering the curriculum.
Why should you choose a distance MBA?
Sometimes you have to make every decision considering your bank balance. Also, some aspirants cannot afford to give up their job, their way of earning, to pursue a course. In such instances, distance MBA may be an appealing choice as it allows the students to earn while pursuing classes of the program. Many students also pay for their tuition fees just out of their pocket. Some organizations also partially or completely pay the tuition fees of distance MBA for their employees, and in such consequences, a distance MBA stands out.
Some students, who are going through a financial crisis, cannot afford to pay the high fees of a full-time MBA and thus decide to go for a distance MBA, as the fees of it are comparatively affordable. Although they can take debts, before taking loans they have to access their financial commitments, ability to take loans, and also return on investment (ROI). If, you are considering pursuing a distance MBA just for the sake of the low fees involved, then here is another feasible option for you.
Is the Executive MBA an option to consider?
When a full-time MBA seems to be much better from various aspects, should you compromise on your future just because you are unable to pay the fees? Well, that is an important question and needs consideration – an executive MBA would seem a better option in this case. Yes, the best suggestion here would be to work and garner work experience of a few years in your sector and then pursue an Executive MBA.
Just like the full-time MBA, this course also gives you a comprehensive learning experience and even allows you to build a strong network. However, the only requisite is that the aspirant must have work experience of two or more years to be eligible for it. The fee is also reasonable, and the classes are generally conducted over the weekend so being a professional, you can balance both sides well.
So, to put it in a nutshell, when it comes to MBA full time vs. part-time, a full-time MBA course is always the best! But, if higher expenses are a serious concern, then you can first secure some solid work experience first and then pursue an executive MBA from a reputed college.