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Distance MBA vs Online MBA vs Regular MBA: Which is Better?

Jul 02, 2024 by Admin
Distance MBA vs Online MBA vs Regular MBA: Which is Better?

People seeking career advancements highly value the MBA as a professional degree. As a PG program, MBA is very versatile. The program can cater to the needs of a wide spectrum of industries. Global recognition for this degree attracts better career opportunities from some of the most renowned organizations.

India offers a variety of MBA programs. A recent graduate or a working professional can pursue an MBA degree. This is why MBAs are available in regular, distance, and online modes of education. Aspirants can choose the kind of program based on their needs and convenience.

In recent years, pursuing distance and online MBA programs has gained more popularity in India than regular MBA programs. The working population will strongly favor distance or online education, as it does not disrupt their work schedules. However, regular MBA programs continue to lag behind these modes of education. The article will also discuss the pros and cons of choosing the right institute, as well as other aspects.

Regular MBA

This is the traditional mode of pursuing an MBA program. Here, the candidates must attend the classes by visiting the campus regularly on weekdays. In addition to attending classes, candidates have the opportunity to participate in various facilities, technological infrastructure, clubs, committees, and other extracurricular activities.

The regular MBA course duration is typically 2 years. Depending on the program's nature, we will also offer it as a 1-year program. Recognized institutes primarily tailor their executive MBAs to mid to senior-level executives seeking skill enhancement. Also, they might offer PGDM or PGP programs that are equivalent to MBA course outcomes.

The basic eligibility criteria for a regular MBA is to complete their degree in any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks or its equivalent and no backlogs. An AICTE-approved institute or university must certify them. Also, the selections will be based on aptitude test scores such as CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT, GMAT, etc. Applicants shall appear for the university-level entrance exam if they haven’t appeared for any other aptitude test.

Here are some of the Top MBA Colleges in India that offer regular modes:

Xavier School of Management

Regional College, Jaipur

Indian School of Business

BML Munjal University

Indian Institute of Management (IIMs)

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

Seacom Engineering College

Management Development Institute

Faculty of Management Studies

Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies

Amity University

ICFAI Business School

Pros of a Regular MBA

  • Face-to-face interaction: In the regular mode of MBA education, the candidates will attend classes with a physical presence. This enhances the interaction opportunities between peers and faculty. Candidates can easily clarify their doubts and have discussions about academics directly with the lecturers.
  • Constructive program: The curriculum for a regular MBA program will be well-structured. The classes will be scheduled properly, and examinations and assignments will be provided on a timely basis. Usually, the duration of an MBA is 2 years, which is divided into 4 semesters. In the second year, candidates can choose their elective subject and gain deeper knowledge in their field of interest. 
  • Credibility: Having a regular MBA degree gives you more credibility and recognition. Students looking for job opportunities after the degree will consider a regular MBA certificate as a valuable factor in the industry. Attending a top, globally recognized MBA program will enhance the program. There is still a perception among students that pursuing an MBA remotely or online is not as valuable. Therefore, choosing an institute that has the necessary accreditations and approvals is crucial.
  • Campus infrastructure and facilities: During traditional learning, applicants typically make use of all the infrastructural resources provided by the institute. Inside the campus, most of the institutes would offer well-ventilated and advanced classrooms, computer labs, science laboratories, cafeterias, hostel accommodations, and much more. Students will also receive other facilities from institutes, such as placement services, scholarships, career counseling, and so on.

Cons of a Regular MBA

  • Higher fee structure: In comparison with a distance or online MBA program, the course fees for a regular MBA are quite expensive. The cost will include aspects like travel, study material, exam fees, project expenses, and more. Thus, other modes of MBA programs might seem more affordable than traditional degrees.
  • Lack of flexibility: In the case of a regular MBA, there is no choice for the students to attend the classes at their convenience and needs. Candidates in regular MBAs, unlike distance or online MBAs, don't have the option to study and learn concepts anytime or anywhere. A regular MBA is much more suitable for immediate graduates looking for higher studies.

Distance MBA

The other option to choose while pursuing an MBA program is distance learning. In this mode of education, students do not need to attend classes based on their physical appearance. Students can choose this program if they cannot commit to joining a 2-year program. The Distance MBA curriculum is specially designed for working professionals or immediate UG students who want to join any other certificate program simultaneously.

To be eligible for a distance MBA, you must have a graduation degree in any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks. Students are required to be certified by a well-known university. However, for the selections, the university might look for work experience, if applicable, or a merit score in the qualifying exam. Interactive e-learning technology will facilitate the delivery of the program. The program utilizes various tools such as audio and video equipment, the Internet, and satellite communication channels. Below are a few pros and cons of a distance MBA program.

Pros of Distance MBA

  • Flexibility in learning: In the distance mode of learning, students will get all the study material and printed notes sent to their respective addresses to make the learning efficient. In this mode, there is no need for the students to attend classes regularly at the scheduled time. They can learn the knowledge and skills at their own time, place, and pace. Perfect for working candidates.
  • Cost-effective: Most of the reputed universities that offer distance MBAs will cost much less than a regular MBA. The majority of expenses related to the course will be cut down, thus making the program more affordable. The program typically ranges between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. Therefore, a Distance MBA is beneficial for both students and working professionals.

Cons of Distance MBA

  • Less credibility: Even though, in the past decade, people have accepted distance MBA degrees as equivalent to regular MBAs, there is still a perception that a distance MBA is not as efficient as a traditional program. Even corporate people might be skeptical about valuing distance education programs. Thus, it is disadvantageous to pursue the distance mode of the program.
  • Lack of interaction opportunities: Without making a physical appearance, students have fewer opportunities to interact with their classmates or faculty members. This leaves students without opportunities to build networks with alumni or industry peers. Hence, after completing the program, candidates may feel challenged to find job opportunities.

Some of the most renowned Distance MBA Colleges in India are:

Amity University

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning

Chandigarh University

Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University 

Indira Gandhi National Open University

Narsee Monji Institute of Management Studies

MP Bhoj University

Yashwantrao C. Maharashtra Open University

IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute

Netaji Subhas Open University

Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University Distance MBA

Suresh Gyan Vihar University Distance Education

Online MBA

The most popular format for MBA programs is the online format. This program specifically caters to working professionals seeking advanced degrees in business management, equipping them with the necessary skills and management knowledge for their respective fields.

To be eligible for an online MBA seat, applicants must have completed any of the bachelor's degrees from a recognized university. The applicants must have secured a minimum of 50% or more. There is no entrance exam required for Online MBA Admissions. However, some institutes might ask for aptitude test scores conducted by the institute itself.

The Online MBA mode is very similar to the distance MBA. Most of the universities will use the LMS method. The tools will include live classes, recorded sessions, online examinations, digital assessments, online discussion forums, and much more. Some of the other support services are career counseling, placement assistance, networking opportunities, technical support, and many others. 

Pros of an Online MBA

  • Better Flexibility of Program: As the Online MBA program will be conducted on a digital platform, candidates will have a sense of relief and convenience to balance their time for classes and jobs based on their schedules. The program has no geographical restrictions, so the college can be chosen from any region of the country. The institute offers online MBAs and programs with a wide variety of options. Hence, it has better flexibility than a regular MBA.
  • Cost-effective: In a digital program, the expenses will be lower than those of a regular MBA. The Online MBA Fee Structure may vary from one to another. However, the amount will be less than a traditional MBA from a well-known instituteThus, it reduces the financial burden on the candidate. In some cases, the employer will reimburse the candidate's academic fees as per organizational norms.
  • Technology advancement: Since the program will be entirely online, students must be proficient in its use. They are capable of handling any technological issue or error with efficiency. This enhances their technological proficiency, which can be beneficial for the organization as well.

Cons of an Online MBA

  • Less interaction: Because the entire online MBA program is digitalized, candidates will have fewer opportunities to interact with faculty and other peers. Thus, candidates might find it challenging to learn the curriculum efficiently. However, there will be occasional discussion forums to solve queries and doubts regarding academics. 
  • It requires self-motivation. Working professionals find the online program to be highly flexible. That is why candidates may feel a consistent need for self-discipline and self-motivation throughout the program. Occasionally, due to their easy flexibility, candidates may put off their study commitments due to company work.

Some of the well-known Online MBA Colleges in India are: 

Amity University Online

Lovely Professional University

Assam Don Bosco University

Chandigarh University

Jain Online



ICFAI University

Manipal Online University

NMIMS Global

DY Patil Online

Parul University

Comparison of Regular MBA vs. Distance MBA vs. Online MBA Programs:

Certain key points need to be considered to differentiate between the types of MBA programs. To give a brief comparison, details of the Regular MBA, Distance MBA, and Online MBA programs are listed below:


Regular/ Traditional MBA

Distance MBA

Online MBA

Flexibility in work

Not possible



Physical appearance


Not Mandatory

Not Mandatory

Interaction facility

Highly possible

Not possible


Grading policy

Based on semester examination, class attendance, assignments, and project work

Final Examination

Semester exams and assignments



Not required

Not required (except for certain programs)

How to get Admission to the MBA Program:

First, the candidates must choose a suitable MBA program, either in regular, distance, or online mode. There are different factors, like accreditations, program structure, fees, resources, placement services, and more, that need to be evaluated while shortlisting the colleges. 

To get Admission to a regular MBA program, applicants must have passed graduation with entrance exam scores. In the case of Distance and Online MBA programs, Admissions shall be provided directly. Candidates can learn about the entire admissions process using the respective college or university website.