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

Janvi Bhambri
Janvi BhambriUpdated On: April 19, 2023 02:45 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 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 the 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 regular classes.

While regular MBA courses are still leagues above the rest in terms of popularity and the 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 houses to college for classes and attendance. Students get more opportunities to be part of clubs, and 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 offer 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 are young executives, Executive MBA is 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 Jaipur

MBA colleges in Assam

MBA colleges in Calicut

MBA colleges in Mysore

MBA colleges in Vadodara

MBA colleges in Kerala

MBA colleges in Karnataka

MBA 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 at 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 Management

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

Faculty of Management Studies

Management Development Institute

Shri Rawatpura Sarkar University, Raipur

Regional College, Jaipur

Seacom Engineering College, Kolkata

BML 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 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 MBAs 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 Delhi

Yashwantrao C. Maharashtra Open University, Nashik

IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute, Ghaziabad

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS)

Dr BR Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU), Hyderabad

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Pune

MP Bhoj (Indian Open) University, Bhopal

Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata

Chandigarh University

Amity University Noida

Apart from this, the top-notch IIMs also offer 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 the 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), Guwahati

Amity University Online, Noida

Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati

Embry-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 the other in various ways and CollegeDekho is here to tell you how! We will be differentiating between distance learning, online learning and traditional/ classroom learning on the basis of the following key points:


Regular MBA

Distance MBA

Online MBA

Physical Presence


Not Required

Not Required



Not required

Not Required (Except for some courses)

Student-Teacher Bond

Great opportunity for student-teacher bond

No student-teacher bond

Student-teacher bond on a lower level

Basis for Marking

Performance in class, Assignments, and Exams

Final Exams

Assignments, Exams

Flexibility in Work

Not Available



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 to 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, the traditional learning method is a better option as it is more readily available on 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 the case of distance learning.

  • Correspondence course 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 India

Direct MBA Admissions in India

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in MBA Interviews

How to Start, Lead and Conclude a GD?

WAT Topics & Tips for IIMs and Top MBA Colleges

Tips to Appear for Online GD / PI For MBA Admissions

So? Did this help you decide which MBA would you choose? There are 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 out our Common Application Form (CAF) or call 1800-572-9877 for FREE student counselling.


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

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 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

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 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

Which one is better: Distance MBA, Online MBA, or Regular MBA?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question as it depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Distance MBA and Online MBA programs offer more flexibility in terms of time and location, while Regular MBA programs offer a more structured and immersive experience on campus.

Can I get job after online MBA?

An online MBA equips students to succeed in any career position. After successfully completing an online MBA, there are several opportunities accessible. There are other possibilities available, including positions in major corporations and further study at top colleges in India and overseas.

Do distance or online MBA courses have value?

Participating in an MBA programme via distance learning or online study is, without a doubt, well worth the investment of both time and money. Students who want to continue their education while working may access a variety of options by getting a Master of Business Administration degree.

Are the distance learning MBA programs harder?

Distance learning MBA programmes are just as difficult as regular MBA programmes. Since you will be working and studying at the same time, all you need is a little self-discipline to get the job done. It will be difficult or stressful at first, but after finishing the programme, one will be able to acquire high-paying employment.

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