A degree in business administration is one of the most popular courses being pursued today. There are a large number of colleges and institutions which offer MBA degrees or PGDM programs. The most coveted programs are the ones offered by top notch B-Schools like IIM, Symbiosis, etc. However not everyone qualifies for these courses and there are many who are unable to study full time for various reasons.
The regular courses are also very expensive and this might be a deterrent for students wishing to pursue an MBA but are unable to afford the expensive colleges. One need not lose hope as there are other ways to pursue an MBA from a good college/institution. We will focus on distance learning programs as one such method to pursue an MBA.
Top Institutes which offer MBA through Distance Learning:
The Distance MBA program, the name itself recommend is concentrated on by means of correspondence mode. The main reason you would pursue an MBA is to have an edge in the very competitive job market. In such a scenario if the degree has no relevance or value it is definitely valuable money and time lost. So the first criterion is to select a good institute.
Fortunately, there are lot of good institutes and colleges which offer excellent correspondence courses. Some of the top institutes are:
- Indira Gandhi National Open University
- Yashwantrao C Maharashtra Open University
- Sikkim Manipal University
- Amity University – Centre of Distance Learning
- ICFAI University
- MIT School of Distance Education
- IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute
- Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning
- Dr B R Ambedkar Open University
- Annamalai University
In India there are six types of institutes offering Distance Learning (DE) today, the prominent ones being National level and state level open universities. To give them due recognition and to bring them under a common roof, the UGC-DEB accreditation was introduced. So any course recognised or accredited by UGC-DEB is treated at par with regular MBA courses in India.
Another important institute for accreditation of Distance learning MBA programs is AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). A thorough research is required and you should choose your college based on its accreditation and recognition especially if you are looking for an opportunity in career growth.
General Fees Structure:
Most of the MBA courses are structured for two years and the fees range from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1, 50,000 for the entire course. As you can see the cost of MBA through distance learning is significantly less. There are various payment options like EMI and part payments which lessen the financial burden on the student.
To be eligible for an MBA you must have completed 12 years of studies under 10+2 pattern followed by a three year graduate degree. Some universities like IGNOU also expect three years of work experience. Graduate equivalent diplomas are not accepted. Apart from this most institutes conduct an entrance test.
Entrance Exams for Distance MBA:
Most institutes’ conduct an entrance examination and the performance of the student in these tests are considered along with the basic educational qualifications as mentioned above for admission.
Some universities like NMIMS, Amity University and etc do not conduct an admission test and eligibility is based purely on the educational qualifications of the student. Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning and Sikkim Manipal University for Distance Education conduct entrance exams and students who have qualified any state or national level entrance test for MBA are exempt for taking the entrance test. IGNOU conducts OPENMAT management aptitude test.
IMT conducts an entrance exam but certain categories of students like working professional with two years’ work experience, students who have scored first class marks above 60%, technical or legal professionals, and holders of PG diploma of IMT CDL’s programme are exempted for the entrance tests.
General Course Structure and Duration for Distance MBA:
Students are provided study material by the institute/University. Contact classes are also conducted. Most of these classes are conducted on weekends so working professionals can also benefit from these classes. The Universities provide a list of places where contact classes are held in your city/town/village and you can choose the most convenient location to attend. Some Universities like Sikkim Manipal provide a dedicated student advisor who helps and guides the students during the entire course. Usually examinations are conducted twice a year and a certain weightage is given to the assignments.
Apart from undergraduates, correspondence courses are the most popular form of study for working individuals as it is usually taken up for enhancement in career and/or better prospects for future growth. In some cases the company itself sponsors the course to enhance knowledge and keep their employees updated with the latest in the industry. For working professionals the added boon of correspondence courses is the flexibility these courses offer in terms of completion of course, date of examination etc. For example an MBA from IGNOU can be completed any time from 2 to 8 years.
So to sum up the advantages of MBA in Distance Learning
- Eligibility criteria: Anyone with a graduate degree can apply. Admissions usually based on performance in an entrance test
- Credibility: A degree from an accredited college has same value in terms of knowledge and job opportunities as a regular degree
- Flexibility: Students can complete the course at their own pace and convenience which makes it feasible for busy professionals, housewives and other categories of students to study an MBA.
- Cost factor: Courses are less expensive and there is no compromise in terms of knowledge or job opportunities.
The only disadvantage is that the salary packet will not be on par with the ones offered to graduates from top notch B-schools; that is definitely incomparable but since the whole point of this article is to provide an alternative to the B-school and regular classes this comparison is actually not relevant here.
In conclusion we can say that a student aspiring for an MBA degree can definitely look at distance learning as one the options without compromising on knowledge, quality of education and a good opportunity for career enhancement and future growth in career path.