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Online MBA Programs and Distance Learning MBA

Online MBA and distance learning MBA programs provide an alternative way of getting an MBA. There are significant differences between distance learning or online MBA and full time MBAs. The main difference is that of class contact hours, although some online MBA programs do offer class contact at residential weeks. There is therefore some overlap between online MBA or distance learning MBA programs and executive MBA programs delivered in a modular format.

Distance-Learning Advantages

A distance-learning program will cause little disruption to your professional life. It is a good option for people who seek to enhance their careers or who need specific training (for instance, to maintain professional licenses or to update or broaden a skill set).

Seasoned managers often cannot afford the time required by a full-time MBA degree and may not need the credentials from such a program. Distance learning can offer them exposure to new knowledge and theories.

These are some other potential advantages:

  • Distance-learning programs require less time commitment overall than other types.
  • They offer more geographic flexibility.
  • They offer exposure to a diverse population of students.
  • They offer access to faculty in many different locations.
  • Class work can be scheduled around personal and professional commitments (although the flexible schedule can become a disadvantage for students who benefit from more structure).

Distance-Learning Dis-advantages

Distance learning is not for everyone, because it offers limited contact with fellow classmates and faculty. Distance learning does not offer the networking opportunities on-site learning does, making distance learning a poor choice for career switchers. It is also not a good choice for someone who works better in an interactive environment.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Conventional student services, such as career placement, may be limited or nonexistent in a distance-learning program.
  • Not many distance-learning programs are available. Choices are limited because the technology and form of learning are relatively new.
  • Scholarship money may not be available, because you can work throughout the program and spread your expenses over a longer time period.

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