Once regarded as an elite educational qualification, the degree Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become ubiquitous since its arrival in India nearly 70 years ago. Nowadays, a MBA degree is considered as entry level qualification for several jobs.
The demand for an MBA degree is so high in India that over 5,500 educational institutions including several private universities offer the two-year fulltime course or four year online programs, alongside the 20 topnotch business schools. Some 350,000 students graduate as MBAs from private and a few government colleges annually.
The Bad News First
Here comes the flip side: Students from highly ranked Indian business schools do not encounter obstacles in getting employed. But of the nearly 350,000 MBA holders from other government and private universities, a measly seven to 10 percent find employment. Those who get jobs find themselves getting paid poorly- about Rs 10,000 per month, a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, revealed.
The main hurdle these graduates face in getting jobs is the lack of skills that are traditionally required to accompany the prestigious MBA degree. In such a scenario, it is vital for students aspiring to study for MBA courses, especially online, to select an educational institute which is reputed and whose graduates employable.
And now the good news
With some basic precautions, a student can avoid an uncertain future by getting an MBA from a reputed institute online. Keeping in mind the high demand, several acclaimed universities from India and abroad are offering the course online. These online MBA courses are not cheap by any standards but offer students the flexibility to work while learning or do other courses simultaneously to complement their degree.
Yet others can acquire an online MBA as a tool for bettering their businesses. The All India Council for Technical Education states, between 35,000 and 40,000 MBA graduates are required at managerial positions for the Indian private and public sectors every year. It is therefore imperative that aspirants for an online MBA be aware of the various dimensions of pursuing the program.
The Difference Between an Online, Distance Education and Regular MBA programs
There are three different types of MBA programs, each suited to meet specific needs of students. Online, distance education or campus study, the MBA program is fairly difficult and requires intense dedication to pursue. While those studying on campus have to attend traditional classroom lectures, participate in workshops and execute projects, those who do an online MBA can attend virtual classrooms through PCs and laptops from any location during any part of the day.
The curriculum for both courses is similar. Those availing online MBAs however enjoy the flexibility of various Internet based facilities such as online discussions and discussion boards, chatting, email and downloading course material on computers for reading at leisure. The rigorous curriculum dictates that only genuinely interested students enroll for online MBAs. Both courses consist of four semesters.
Some universities offer MBAs through distance learning but not online. Students enrolling for purely distance learning MBAs need to buy books and other study material from the university or bookstores. With such universities, exams are also conducted at designated centers across the country and not online.
Basic Requirements to Enroll for an Online MBA Program
These may vary according to the institution. To qualify for online MBA, students are required to have be graduates in any discipline from a recognized university. In addition, they are required to have passed the MAT, CAR, GMAT, XAT types of qualifying exams with a score card that is less than 24 months old at the time of application.
Some online universities also conduct their own entrance exams. Most universities stipulate that applicants have at least two years work experience or have their own business to ensure they have adequate practical exposure to various opportunities and challenges. Some degree of relaxation of the work clause is offered to applicants from remote areas and villages where industrialization has yet to make a footfall.
Money Matters But Not Always
Broadly, an online MBA can cost anything from Rs. 40,000 to Rs.15 lakh, depending upon the university. Typically, an online MBA costs anything between Rs.70,000 to Rs.15 lakh. Pricing is based on facilities offered to students which can include virtual classrooms, 24×7 chat and hotline, elaborate course material and counseling.
The pricing spectrum makes an online MBA affordable to students from the different economic backgrounds. Those who wish to avail educational loans can check with their banks whether such a facility is offered for an online MBA from an university of their choice.
The Top Colleges for Online MBAs in India
1. Symbiosis Institute of Distance Learning
Symbiosis ranks among the top educational institutes of India. An MBA from Symbiosis is well respected and helps professionals secure better prospects for future.
2. NMIMS Global Access School for Continuing Education
NMIMS based in Mumbai, Maharashtra has been rated globally as a top business school in India. An online MBA from NMIMS bears hallmarks of the same, high quality education offered by its conventional course.
3. Indira Gandhi National Open University
Over the years IGNOU, New Delhi, has emerged as an educational institution of choice for those unable to attend classroom courses. IGNOU offers online MBAs that have countrywide recognition. IGNOU has the lowest fees for an online MBA course- about Rs.40,000 for the two year program.
4. Pondicherry University
Students aspiring to make a career in India’s lucrative travel and tourism sector can consider an online MBA from the Pondicherry University. The Puducherry based- university offers a full two-year online MBA program that specializes in tourism.
5. Osmania University
Osmania University is the seventh oldest university in India. It is also hailed as one of the pioneers of distance education in India. Students who enroll for online MBA courses with Osmania University, Hyderabad can be assured of high quality training by experienced professionals.
6. Annamalai University
A selection of eight specialized MBA programs and over a dozen post graduate management diploma courses are offered by the Annamalai University online. Online MBAs offered by Annamalai University located in Annamalainagar, Tamil Nadu include e-business, international business, human resources management, marketing management and others.
7. Bharathiar University
Based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, the Bharathiar University offers a variety of online MBAs through its Center for Distance Education. The Bharathiar University was established by the government of Tamil Nadu and its online MBA programs are fairly popular due to its rigorous training.
8. MIT School of Distance Education
Another premier educational institute of India, MIT Pune offers a variety of courses for online MBA specialized in human resources, marketing, materials management, operations, finance, IT and supply chain management and others.
9. Netaji Subhas Open University
A favorite destination for online learning in East and North East India, the Netaji Subhas Open University management programs for working professionals and students. In recent years, the number of admission seekers to the Kolkata based open university are on the rise.
10. Maharshi Dayanand Open University
Also offers online MBA courses from its distance education center in Rohtak, Haryana. Fees charged by the Maharshi Dayanand University are fairly economical and within reach for those who are just embarking on their careers.
About a dozen universities based in the UK, US and Australia offer online MBA programs in India. Their degrees are well recognized. The syllabus is similar to that offered on campus by these educational institutes.
A word of caution:
Several private universities across India also offer online MBA courses. Before selecting any university based on its website and offerings, it would serve well to glance at their graduate employment rates. Several graduates from various private universities offering online MBA courses find themselves unqualified for work due to lack of skills expected from such degree holders. Meaning their degrees were not even worth the paper on which it is printed.
Checklist for students to avoid disappointments
Here are some vital tips that can help you select the online MBA course
1. Credentials: There are scores of universities offering the online MBA. Before enrolling for one, it is vital to check the credentials of the university you choose. These include checks about the university’s backers.
A good look at the faculty of universities offering online MBA programs will give you a better understanding about the quality of instruction. Social media and other online tools can help students ascertain how successful their future gurus were.
3. Employment rates
Everyone does an MBA program for better career prospects. Employment rates among MBA graduates stand at a dismal 10 percent or lower. Check how many online MBA graduates from your university/ college are employed and where. This will give you an idea about that university’s standings on the job charts.
4. Online resources:
Online resources are the backbone for any distance education MBA program. A visit to the university websites will reveal how many resources they offer. Some of these resources may not be working though displayed on the website. Try and locate other students if possible. You may post questions on Facebook, Quora and other social networking websites to get proper answers. But remember that some of these universities hire trolls who answer your queries with false and tall claims.
5. Accreditation and foreign associates
Some reputed universities are accredited abroad by their foreign counterparts. Look for such accreditation and credentials of the foreign university or organization lending such credentials.
6. Value for money
Check whether the specialized online MBA program you wish to take is in demand in India or abroad. Also compare costs with other universities offering the course online and find out what resources they offer for distance education students. Money once paid is seldom reimbursed by an university.