Are Online MBAs Worth It?

Komal Sharma

Last Updated: April 5, 2024
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Considering pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA)? Well, you might find yourself pondering over the choice between an online or in-person master’s programme. Each option has its pros and cons that you need to weigh. Many individuals find that an online MBA provides the convenience and flexibility necessary to manage their studies alongside work and other responsibilities. By carefully examining the advantages and disadvantages of both online and offline MBA programmes, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and professional objectives. Let’s delve deeper into these choices. Let’s get started.

When Did Online MBAs Become Prevalent? 

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In the early 1990s, Aspen University was the first to offer an accredited online MBA programme. Since then, more and more top universities have followed suit, offering their own online MBA programmes. The COVID-19 outbreak had a significant impact on this, causing numerous traditional universities to transition to online classes. This made online MBA programmes more popular, as they became a safe and convenient option for students. Because of this increase in demand, universities have expanded their online MBA programmes. 

For example, Harvard Business School started offering an online version of its MBA programme, allowing students from around the world to earn a prestigious degree from home. Similarly, the University of Phoenix offered online MBA programmes with different specialisations like healthcare management and information technology.

The pandemic also sped up the use of technology in online MBA programmes. Many universities now use virtual reality to create more engaging learning experiences. They’ve also added interactive tools like live chat and discussion forums to help students collaborate and learn better.

Is It Worth Doing An MBA Online?

When deciding whether to pursue an MBA online, it’s important to consider various factors. One key factor is the return on investment (ROI). Is the degree worth the investment? Looking at the average salary of MBA holders can help determine ROI. According to PayScale, the median salary for MBA graduates is INR 8,00,000. However, it’s important to note that this figure can vary based on your experience and industry.

Another aspect to consider is the cost of the programme. Online MBA programmes are generally more affordable than traditional ones since you won’t have to cover expenses like room and board or travel. The average cost of an online MBA programme is around INR 1,00,000, but this can vary depending on the programme you choose.

Why Do An Online MBA

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  • Lower cost: Opting for an online course can be a budget-friendly choice since you’ll cut down on expenses like transportation, accommodation, uniforms, and various stationery items. Plus, the total fees for the course are generally lower than those for an in-person course.
  • Saves time: With no need for extra travel, you have the opportunity to dedicate that time to taking a course that will enhance your skills.
  • Keep going with work: If you’re a working professional or just starting, choosing to pursue an online MBA is the ideal choice. It allows you to work and earn your degree at the same time. By applying the knowledge you gain while working, you’ll enhance your learning experience and boost your chances of getting promoted.
  • No geographical barriers: You don’t have to be physically in the class, so you can study from anywhere in the world you prefer. When it comes to the curriculum for an online MBA, it’s the same, or maybe even a little better, than that of a traditional MBA.
  • Recorded lectures: You have the option to review the recorded lectures and revisit any concepts that may have been confusing initially. Students have the flexibility to learn at their own speed, without feeling rushed, leading to better retention of knowledge. This feature is not offered in traditional offline lectures.
  • Global exposure: A virtual MBA offers a unique opportunity for global exposure, with a diverse student body from all corners of the world. This multicultural learning experience fosters empathy among students, allowing them to understand and appreciate the individual interests of their peers. Such exposure and understanding will undoubtedly shape them into exceptional leaders of tomorrow.

Why Not To Do An Online MBA

  • Limited networking opportunities: Lack of in-person interaction can hinder building strong professional relationships with professors and peers, impacting networking potential.
  • Potential for reduced hands-on learning: Some online programmes may not offer the same level of experiential learning or access to practical resources as traditional programmes.
  • Less access to campus resources: Online students may miss out on access to campus facilities, career services, and other resources available to on-campus students.
  • Potential for decreased credibility: While online education has become more widely accepted, some employers may still view online degrees as less prestigious compared to traditional degrees.
  • Challenges with time management and self-discipline: Online learning requires strong self-motivation and time management skills, which can be challenging for some students to maintain consistently.
  • Limited face-to-face interaction with faculty: In an online setting, students may have less opportunity for direct, in-person interaction with professors, potentially impacting the quality of instruction and mentorship.

The ROI Aspect Of An Online MBA

A full-time MBA usually costs about 22 Lakhs for two years. This includes all expenses like tuition fees, books, and living costs. But that’s not all. If you leave your job to do an MBA, you also lose your salary, which can be around 20 Lakhs for those two years. So, in total, it could cost you about 42 Lakhs for a two-year full-time MBA.

Let’s break it down with an example: Imagine you’re earning 10 Lakhs per year. If you quit your job for a two-year MBA, you’re not just paying 22 Lakhs for the course. You’re also losing 20 Lakhs in salary for those two years. That’s a total cost of 42 Lakhs.

On the other hand, an online MBA usually costs between 1 to 5 Lakhs. Plus, you can keep working while you study. And more than 90% of people who do an online MBA see a big improvement in their careers.

However, where you do your MBA matters. If you attend a top B-school, your MBA holds more value than if you go to a lower-ranked school or pursue an executive programme. Executive programmes are often Not worth much, and the salary raise for those who complete them is not significant.

In conclusion, an online MBA is usually a better investment because of its lower cost and the ability to continue working. Just make sure to choose a programme that fits your budget and career goals.

Online MBA Vs. Traditional MBA

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Online MBA

  • Flexibility: Online MBA programmes offer the flexibility to study from anywhere at any time, making them ideal for working professionals or individuals with busy schedules. This format allows students to balance their studies with other commitments.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Online MBAs are generally more affordable than traditional MBA programmes since they don’t have as many additional costs. By studying online, students can avoid expenses like transportation, housing, and other fees associated with attending classes in person.
  • Accessibility: Online MBAs can be pursued from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to relocate or commute to a campus. This accessibility makes them attractive to students who prefer to study remotely.
  • Networking: While online programmes do offer networking opportunities, they are primarily virtual. This may not be as robust as the networking opportunities available through in-person interactions in traditional MBA programmes.
  • Self-discipline: Succeeding in online learning means having the discipline to stay motivated and the ability to manage your time wisely. It’s all about being able to stay on track without the usual classroom routine.
  • Campus involvement: Online MBA students have limited or no access to on-campus resources and activities. This can be a drawback for those seeking a more immersive campus experience.

Traditional MBA

  • Networking: Traditional MBA programmes provide ample opportunities for networking through face-to-face interactions with fellow students, professors, and alumni. These connections can prove to be extremely valuable for advancing one’s career and personal growth.
  • Structured learning environment: Traditional MBA programmes provide a structured curriculum with face-to-face interactions. Some students find this format beneficial for learning, as it allows for real-time engagement and discussion.
  • Access to campus resources: Students in traditional MBA programmes have access to libraries, career services, and other campus facilities. This can enhance the learning experience and provide additional support for students.
  • Higher cost: Traditional MBA programmes are generally more expensive than online programmes due to higher tuition fees and living expenses. This can be a significant factor for students considering their options.
  • Limited flexibility: Conventional MBA programmes follow a rigid timetable that might not be suitable for individuals juggling work or other commitments, making it challenging to physically attend classes.
  • Location dependent: Traditional MBA programmes require students to live close to the campus or relocate, which can be a constraint for some individuals. This factor limits the accessibility of traditional programmes compared to online options.

How To Choose An Ideal Online MBA 

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  • Know Your Goals: Figure out why you want to do an MBA. Are you aiming for a better job, to switch careers, or start your business? Knowing this will help you find a programme that fits what you want to achieve.
  • Check Accreditation: Make sure the programme you choose is accredited. Accreditation means that experts have checked and approved the quality of education offered by the programme. This makes sure that your degree will be acknowledged and esteemed by employers and other schools. If you’re looking for a legit college, make sure to verify if it has any of these accreditations or approvals: UGC, UGC-DEB, NAAC, AIECE. Additionally, you can also check the college’s ranking on the national institution Ranking Framework.
  • Duration: Online MBA courses typically last from 12 to 20 months, while traditional MBAs can take two years. Executive MBAs let you study part-time. Many online MBAs finish in about 14 to 18 months. Online MBAs offer flexible schedules. You can watch video lessons, join discussions, and take quizzes whenever and wherever you want. If you’re thinking about doing an MBA in India, a one-year online programme is a great choice because of its flexibility.
  • Look at the Curriculum: Take a close look at the courses offered in the programme. See if they cover topics that interest you and relate to your career goals. Look for specialisations or concentrations that match your interests.
  • Consider Flexibility: Think about how flexible the programme is. Can you study at your own pace, or are there strict deadlines? Consider your work schedule and other commitments to find a programme that fits your lifestyle.
  • Check Faculty and Support: Look into who will be teaching your classes. Are they experienced in their field? Also, check what support services the programme offers, like tutoring, career advice, or help with coursework.
  • Cost and Financial Aid: Think about how much the programme will cost and how you’ll pay for it. Look into options like scholarships, grants, or loans to help cover the expenses. Consider the overall value of the programme about its cost.
  • Read Reviews: See what fellow students are saying about their time in the programme. Reading reviews can help you gauge the education quality, support services, and overall satisfaction levels.
  • Personal Fit: Finally, consider how well the programme aligns with your personal values and learning style. Choose a programme that feels like a good fit for you, where you feel comfortable and motivated to succeed.

Best Online MBA Colleges In India 

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Online MBAs Can Boost Your Career

Whether an online MBA is worth it depends on your goals and situation. Online MBAs offer flexibility, letting you study at your own pace while working. They are often more affordable than traditional MBAs and can provide the same quality education. 

While online MBAs may not offer the same networking opportunities as traditional programmes, they can still help you build a professional network. Overall, if you’re looking to advance your career and need a flexible option, an online MBA could be worth it. But it’s important to research and choose a programme that fits your needs and goals.

If you’re unsure about which career path to take and how an MBA can enhance your growth in it, visit our website and take the career test to begin your journey.

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