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
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
- 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 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.