Regular MBA vs Distance MBA vs Online MBA

  • By Christy J. Varghese
  • 26 July 2022
Regular MBA vs Distance MBA vs Online MBA: Understanding the Difference

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Regular MBA vs Distance MBA vs Online MBA: Understanding the difference

There are many different methods by which education is imparted today. In this regard, with the increased interconnectedness and large-scale digitisation, online or distance courses have also come into the mainstream. The same is the case with an MBA degree. Today, management and business aspirants can pursue an MBA degree from distance or online along with the traditional mode of regular classroom education. This article further discusses the advantages and key features of each type of MBA programme.

Regular MBA vs Distance MBA vs Online MBA: An Overview

MBA courses can be conducted regularly, online, or in distance mode. It is a postgraduate professional degree programme spanning two years and is offered with a multitude of specialisations. The different modes of the courses are equal in the eyes of the law as well as the job market, as online and distance education has been approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC). 

There are a huge number of colleges in India and worldwide offering a variety of post-graduate programmes in management, such as PGDM or MBA programs, but it is important for an applicant to understand how these courses are different from each other before making a decision.

Which is better: Online MBA vs Regular MBA?

Competition is rising rapidly in every industry. In higher education, most students feel that they must get a professional or postgraduate degree to fare well in the job market. Due to the rise of online and distance education, students no longer have to choose between a Master’s degree and getting jobs. Online and distance education gives you the opportunity to work simultaneously while specialising in a particular field of study.

Both distance MBA and online MBA have their fair share of advantages, but at the end of the day, they both allow you to learn from home. Although the teaching techniques differ, both the programs are designed to provide quality learning from a distance. Moreover, both these programs are equally valid in the job market.

Yet, many aspirants continue to a regular MBA with classroom visits. This offers a chance to learn from the best faculties at the topmost colleges, such as the IIMs. There is also an added advantage of being able to work on real-time industry projects and build a network among your classmates. 

Why choose a regular/full-time MBA?

If you have a Bachelor’s qualification, no matter which field you are from, you are eligible to apply to an MBA course. Candidates need to appear for competitive entrance exams, such as CAT, MAT, GMAT etc., to enrol in an MBA course. On the other hand, online/distance MBA applicants may opt for direct admission.

There are various perks of pursuing a regular MBA program, as stated below:

  • The degree of a regular/ full-time MBA allows one to go for a change in their career. This is why many working professionals who are seeking an upgrade to their career get admitted to full-time MBA courses.
  • For a student who has earned graduation from any field of study and is seeking a postgraduate or professional program to follow that up, a full-time or regular MBA is a suitable option. Fresh graduates are generally more inclined to pursue the regular MBA program.
  • Most MBA programs require their students to take on an internship. This provides them with exposure to relevant career prospects and allows them to gain a clearer understanding of their line of work. Internships in regular MBA courses also aim to develop candidates’ skills and expertise.
  • Finally, a regular or full-time MBA gives you the motivation to focus on your professional development so that you can be trained holistically through experiential learning and networking.
  • Regular MBA programs generally have better placement opportunities than distance learning courses. This helps students stay on the right track to a successful career.

Why choose a distance MBA?

A distance MBA program is one of the most chosen courses by people who have work commitments and need flexible timings to complete a professional course. There is no real difference in credits in a distance MBA vs regular MBA as well.

The following are some of the benefits of choosing an MBA in the distance-learning mode:

  • Distance MBA courses are relatively affordable. The fee for distance MBA programs in India is quite low as compared to regular MBA. There are many students who cannot afford the expenditure involved to enrol in a regular MBA program in top institutes. For such aspirants, a distance MBA may be a saving grace.
  • Distance MBA courses allow working students to earn money while simultaneously doing an MBA.  
  • If you are pursuing a distance MBA, some organisations may offer to partially or completely pay your tuition fees.

Distance MBA programmes have been granted equal recognition to regular MBAs from various statutory bodies. It has been approved by UGC-DEB and is valid in the job industry. Moreover, distance MBA vs regular MBA also has equal credits most times.

Why choose an online MBA?

Online MBAs have become extremely popular in recent times as it comes with the combined benefits of both full-time and distance MBAs. More than 8 lakh students in India have enrolled on online MBAs in the past year. The following are the benefits of getting an MBA online.

  • It is naturally the most flexible program among the three types we are considering. If you can’t attend live classes then you will have access to recorded lectures in an online MBA program.
  • It gives you the opportunity to connect with world-class industry experts virtually through webinars and online live meetings from the comfort of home. Virtual meetings are beneficial as you have the opportunity to connect with personalities from any part of the world.
  • You may appear for your exams online. In certain cases, you can even choose to appear for exams based on your schedule.
  • Online MBA courses are the most affordable ones. The tuition fee is low and you also save on additional expenses such as the costs of relocating and/or commuting to the city of your chosen program.
  • Real-life projects are organised for the practical experience of the participants of an online MBA program. These projects are carried out virtually but efficiently as there are several career support services available in these courses.


How do you choose between an MBA regular vs distance or an online MBA programme? While online learning can be a problem for students who do not have access to proper internet services or technological devices, regular MBAs can be quite expensive as well. Regular MBA degrees also have higher recognition to ensure that your profile gets recognised by leading conglomerates. Besides, for students bound by geographical constraints, an online/distance MBA is a better option. Online and distance MBAs are extremely cost-effective as well, and allow you to use your time flexibly. Aspirants who require additional support and guidance from counsellors can visit the Sunstone website to know more about these different types of MBA programmes.

About Sunstone

Sunstone is a leading higher education services provider that works with academic institutions in upskilling students for employability. Sunstone offers career-oriented training interventions for undergraduate and postgraduate students at 40+ institutions across 30+ cities.

Sunstone’s training programs are industry-endorsed to enhance employability. These programs are designed for hybrid delivery with an unparalleled focus on soft skills and personality development. Sunstone’s focus is to provide students with a holistic educational experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is distance MBA valid?

Yes, a distance MBA is valid as per the recent notification of the University Grants Commission (UGC-DEB). As long as the institute you’re pursuing it from is recognised under the UGC. 

Is an online MBA worth the same as a regular MBA?

Online MBAs are valid in the job sector. The salary packages for online MBA graduates are the equivalent of the average graduate from a full-time MBA program.

Can we do regular MBA after distance MBA?

To be eligible for a regular MBA, you need to have a Bachelor’s qualification like BBA, B.Com, BA, B.Tech BSc etc. Although unnecessary, the aspirant can choose to do a regular MBA after a distance MBA.

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