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

Janvi Bhambri
Janvi BhambriUpdated On: July 14, 2022 12:33 pm IST | CAT

MBA is a very versatile course that caters to the needs of a wide spectrum of students -- from recent graduates to seasoned professionals. This is why MBA is available in Regular, Distance and Online modes in India. Here, we explore the difference between each and take a look at their pros and cons.

MBA Distance vs Online MBA vs Regular MBA

Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular choices of postgraduate programmes in India. It is a globally recognized programme that offers excellent prospects of growth and earnings and the scope of joining leadership roles in some of the best of the world's organizations. Since MBA is a professional course with business-related and managerial applications, it is also highly sought-after by working professionals in India.

Mostly to cater to this sector of students there is a high availability of MBA courses via distance learning and online modes apart from the regular MBA courses. Plus, while most of the students prefer to go for a regular full-time MBA course, the popularity of MBA Distance and MBA Online courses has been increasing with the increasing availability of digital platforms and internet access. Nowadays, many of the MBA specializations in India are available via distance learning and online modes as well.

On top of that, due to the impact of Coronavirus outbreak on higher education in India, there has been a disruption of studies and academic events in almost every school and college throughout the country. In the present-day scenario, it has become unavoidable for anyone -- be it a student or a teacher -- to think about whether distance or online mode of learning is better than the regular classes.

While regular MBA courses are still leagues above the rest in terms of popularity and number of students, there are some advantages offered by Distance MBA or Online MBA that just cannot be ignored. In this article, we aim to bring out some of the salient features of each mode of MBA in India. This article helps to provide clarity to a student who is confused about through which mode he/she should pursue MBA -- Distance, Regular or Online.

Regular MBA in India

Under the traditional learning method, students attend classes on weekdays and have to travel from their house to college for classes and attendance. Students get more opportunities to be part of clubs, associations and take part in committees and sports events. Also, people believe that regular college holds greater value than distance and online courses.

The Regular MBA programmes offered in India can be a 2 year or a 1-year course, depending on the nature of the course. Most B- schools in India offer a 2-year course that includes a CSR project and internship opportunities. Colleges like ISB Hyderabad offers a 1-year course, which is known as the Executive MBA. While the 2-year MBA/ PGDM programme is opted for by students who have freshly graduated or young executives, Executive MBA's are designed for mid-level / senior executives who are looking for an enhancement in their careers.

Here are some of the top MBA colleges in India, divided region-wise.

Regular MBA Colleges in India
MBA colleges in JaipurMBA colleges in Assam
MBA colleges in CalicutMBA colleges in Mysore
MBA colleges in VadodaraMBA colleges in Kerala
MBA colleges in KarnatakaMBA colleges in Delhi
Some of the best B-Schools in India adopt the traditional full-time MBA methodology. True, it is a rigorous programme, but the end of the 1 or 2 years, the chances of good job prospects is 90% more than the Distance Learning MBA programme. Some of the popular colleges offering regular MBA/ PGDM programmes include the following.
Top Regular MBA Colleges in India
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)Indian School of Business
XLRI - Xavier School of ManagementNarsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies
Faculty of Management StudiesManagement Development Institute
Shri Rawatpura Sarkar University, RaipurRegional College, Jaipur
Seacom Engineering College, KolkataBML Munjal University, Gurgaon

Distance Learning MBA in India

On the other hand, MBA in Distance Learning allows students to study without being physically present in the class. Under this method, students are provided with the study material in the form of videos, notes and online programs etc. This method does not involve teachers and is more inclined to self-study.

Distance Learning MBA's are designed for people who are not able to take out time for a dedicated 2-year MBA programme. This could include working professionals or students who are pursuing other courses simultaneously.

However, since aspirants do not attend a regular college in a Distance Learning MBA programme, they do not get the same exposure compared to others and miss out on various opportunities that can help them grow socially and individually. Also, courses completed via the distance learning method are known to hold lesser importance and value in the corporate world than those done under traditional learning. But getting an MBA degree at the end of 1 or 2 years will surely enhance their careers.

Some of the top-notch universities offering distance learning MBA/ PGDM programmes via interactive video, pre-recorded video, teleconferencing and online or offline computer courses are given below.

Top Distance MBA Colleges in India
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New DelhiYashwantrao C. Maharashtra Open University, Nashik
IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute, GhaziabadNarsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS)
Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU), HyderabadSymbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Pune
MP Bhoj (indian Open) University, BhopalNetaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata
Chandigarh UniversityAmity University Noida

Apart from this, the top-notch IIMs also offer the students with distance learning MBA/PGDM courses.

Online MBA in India

In the online MBA learning method, students take classes via the internet as opposed to the classroom setting. Instead of physical interactions, the student takes part in virtual interactions. With the help of online classes and video seminars, students stay updated and on track with the rest of the students.

Similar to the distance learning method, students do not get a chance to enjoy the college atmosphere. The online method of learning is also called correspondence method of learning. Aspirants looking to advance in their chosen field are best suited for Online MBA programmes.

Some of the top-notch universities offering online learning MBA/ PGDM programmes are given below.

Top Online MBA Colleges in India
Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU), GuwahatiAmity University Online, Noida
Sri Venkateswara University, TirupatiEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University Online

To apply for MBA/PGDM programmes in any of the above universities, visit the official website of the university. Once you have been registered, you will be provided with content, data and videos of study material to watch online.

Regular MBA vs Distance MBA vs Online MBA

Each one of the above methods is different from each other in various ways and CollegeDekho is here tell you how! We will be differentiating between distance learning, online learning and traditional/ classroom learning on the basis of the following key points:

BasisRegular MBADistance MBAOnline MBA

Physical Presence

CompulsoryNot RequiredNot Required


CompulsoryNot requiredNot Required (Except for some courses)

Student-Teacher Bond

Great opportunity for student-teacher bondNo student-teacher bondStudent-teacher bond on a lower level

Basis for Marking

Performance in the class, Assignments, ExamsFinal ExamsAssignments, Exams

Flexibility in Work

Not AvailableAvailableAvailable

Distance MBA vs Online MBA vs Regular MBA: Entrance Exam

Candidates need to appear for an entrance exam such as CAT, MAT and CMAT to get admission in the regular MBA program. While on the other hand, candidates looking for admission in the online and distance MBA program may apply for direct admission. Candidates can check the official website of the selected college to know the detailed admission process. Besides this, candidates can check the article provided below to know more about the entrance exams that are conducted for regular MBA.

How to Choose an MBA Programme

While choosing between the distance, online and regular methods of learning, CollegeDekho suggests the following things:

  • For students who require additional assistance from guidance counsellors and professors, traditional learning method is a better option as it is more readily available on the campus.

  • In case you are lacking a flexible work schedule or are bound by geographical constraints, opting for distance learning or online learning method is a great option.

  • Online learning can be a problem for those who are not tech-savvy or are living in places where the internet is not easily accessible.

  • Online and distance learning classes are more cost-efficient not only in terms of the tuition fee but also because it does not require you to commute from one place to another for classes.

  • Distance learning methods allow you to study when you want, what you want and how you want. Students are more flexible in terms of time and content in case of distance learning.

  • Correspondence courses degrees are not accepted everywhere whereas regular college degrees have their own recognition.

  • There are many courses that are not available through correspondence and in that case, the only option would be a regular college.
All About MBA Admissions in India
MBA Admission Process in IndiaDirect MBA Admissions in India
How to Avoid Common Mistakes in MBA InterviewsHow to Start, Lead and Conclude a GD?
WAT Topics & Tips for IIMs and Top MBA CollegesTips to Appear for Online GD / PI For MBA Admissions

So? Did this help you decide which MBA would you choose? There is convenience and monetary benefits on the one hand while familiarity, physical presence and campus environment on the other. Neither can be said to completely overcome the other. It all depends upon a student's choice and career goals. Those who have any questions regarding Distance MBA vs Online MBA vs Regular MBA can ask them on our QNA zone.

Looking for admission to top MBA colleges in India? We can help. Just fill our Common Application Form (CAF) or call 1800-572-9877 for FREE student counselling.


What is the duration of distance MBA and regular MBA?

The duration of distance MBA and regular MBA is same i.e 2 years. However, the duration of the online MBA varies from 12-20 months

Is there any exam conducted for admission in MBA?

There are many entrance exams conducted for admission in regular MBA such as CAT and MAT. On the other hand, candidates need not appear for any entrance exam for admission in the distance MBA program

What are the good regular MBA colleges in India?

Some of the well known regular MBA colleges in India are Amity University, Noida and Chandigarh University

What are the benefits of pursuing a distance MBA?

Candidates who are pursuing a distance MBA can attend the lectures while sitting at the home. Apart from this, the average fee of distance MBA is also less compared to the regular MBA

What is the fee of regular MBA and distance MBA?

The average fee of regular MBA is INR 9 lakh per annum while the average fee of distance MBA is INR 2 lakh per annum

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