Offline vs Online MBA – Which is Better for Career Growth?

Offline vs Online MBAWith the exponential boom in the Indian ed-tech industry, and several educational platforms and Indian institutions partnering with foreign universities, online MBA options have become as, if not more, lucrative as offline MBA. Hence, graduates and working professionals need to consider a more affordable and realistic option between offline and online MBA, depending on their individual constraints, needs, and ambitions. 

While a regular MBA course is still considered a league above the rest in terms of popularity and number of students, there are several advantages offered by online MBA courses that just cannot be ignored. Whether one should go for an online MBA degree or aim for a regular one depends on a lot of factors – including the MBA fee, average salary after MBA, college reputation, among other things.  

Because of all this and more, MBA aspirants have now started wrestling with questions like, “Should I go for an online MBA?” or “Is an offline MBA the best option for me?” This article aims to acquaint the readers with the different aspects related to offline vs online MBA and provide clarity to students who are confused about which mode they should choose. 

Offline vs Online MBA – What are the Benefits of Doing an MBA?

Offline vs Online MBA – In simple terms, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is a postgraduate degree that a learner can go for after the completion of his/her bachelor’s. It is a course that acquaints one with the fundamentals of business management – from finance, marketing, and leadership to human resource (HR), information technology (IT), and supply chain. 

Once one understands these facets, he/she can better manage and lead the different processes of a particular business or industry.

Here are some major benefits of doing an MBA (please note that we are not talking about offline vs online MBA here, but only laying down the benefits of pursuing the degree in general):

  • Better Career Growth: As per MBA.com, graduates can expect a 30% higher income with an MBA degree than with any other master’s degree. On top of that, individuals with 3 to 5 years of experience can expect a 40%-50% hike in their salaries post-MBA.  
  • Increased Job Opportunities: An MBA graduate will invariably have access to more job opportunities as the degree opens the door to medium and upper level-management roles across a wide array of industries. 
  • Improved Communication Skills: In an HBR researched dataset, over 300,000 professionals were asked to rank their most important executive skills. As per the research’s outcome, the ability to ‘inspire and motivate others’ and ‘communicate powerfully’ were in the top five leadership skills regardless of the management level. An MBA degree adds to one’s communication skills and elevates a professional to a higher level of communication mastery. 
  • Expanded Professional Network: It is a well-known fact that the best outcome of pursuing an MBA is getting access to a smarter, more innovative, and professionally inclined peer group than one would find in any other master’s degree program. This increases one’s professional network and helps gain leverage to an entire industry or even multiple industries – through one’s peers.

Offline vs Online MBA – What is Offline MBA?

Offline MBA, also known as a regular MBA course, is when a candidate pursues the degree through a regular college on a full-time basis. He/she has to commute to the college, attend classes, submit projects, and partake in tests & exams to attain the degree. 

For that, the candidate has to focus exclusively on the MBA degree for a period of 2 years (or whatever the course duration is) and qualify the final exams. This is often expensive, energy consuming, and requires an inordinate amount of time commitment. However, a regular MBA course is also greatly rewarding in terms of return on investment (ROI), which students must consider while debating between offline vs online MBA. 

Offline vs Online MBA – What is Online MBA?

An online MBA course, not to be confused with distance MBA, is when a candidate pursues the degree from the comfort of his/her home. He/she is not required to commute to a college. However, the candidate needs to adhere to a strict class schedule, submit projects on time, and partake in tests & exams to attain the degree. 

There is also a strict admission criteria, just like a regular MBA program, and candidates must fulfill that to be eligible for admission. This invariably includes an admission test or several interview rounds (or both), which must be passed to secure an admission. 

In the case of an online MBA course, the candidate does not have to devote the entirety of the course duration just to the degree and can maintain a full-time job during this time, which is one of the biggest reasons that students choose an online MBA degree while considering offline vs online MBA.  

Offline vs Online MBA – Which is Better?

Offline vs Online MBA – To understand which is a better option out of the two, one needs to first be acquainted with the logistics of pursuing both these degrees. This includes the college one is getting admitted to, MBA fee, salary after completion of the degree, and the peer group one will get access to. 

Before we begin learning about the pros and cons of offline vs online MBA, let’s get an overall understanding of both the options. 

Offline MBA (Regular) – At a Glance

a. Offline MBA Choice of College 

Experts often advise students to go for a favoured course and not worry about the college they are taking admission into. This is nothing but incorrect advice. When it comes to an MBA, the most important factor is the college one goes to. This is the one factor that can make or break all other benefits of pursuing an MBA degree – salary after MBA, hike to be expected in coming years, and peer group. In offline MBA programs, candidates will find an n-number of institutions offering a degree. However, not all of these provide high-quality education. 

In fact, several experts swear by the rule to not go for an MBA degree if the college is not tier-1. 

b. Offline MBA Fee 

MBA fees range from INR 11 lakh to INR 23 lakh at tier-1 MBA colleges. The only exception in the tier-1 list is FMS-Delhi, where the entire course fee is just INR 1.92 lakh (2022 figures)

IIM OFFLINE MBA FEE 2022

IIM Ahmedabad INR 23 lakh
IIM Bangalore INR 23 lakh
IIM Calcutta INR 23 lakh
IIM Kozhikode INR 19 lakh
IIM Lucknow INR 19 lakh
IIM Udaipur INR 17.60 lakh
IIM Raipur INR 14.20 lakh (excluding boarding charges)
IIM Rohtak INR 15.20 lakh
IIM Sambalpur INR 13.03 lakh
IIM Trichy INR 11.90 lakh
IIM Ranchi INR 15.30 lakh
IIM Indore INR 17.07 lakh
IIM Nagpur INR 13.34 lakh

Source: Respective college websites
OFFLINE MBA FEE FOR OTHER TIER-1 MBA COLLEGES IN INDIA IN 2022

XLRI Jamshedpur-Xavier School of Management INR 23.60 lakh
SPJIMR-Mumbai INR 17.50 lakh
IIFT-New Delhi INR 16.25 lakh
ISB-Hyderabad INR 34.63 lakh
Symbiosis Institute Of Business Management-Pune INR 17.06 lakh
IMT-Ghaziabad INR 17.55 lakh
Symbiosis Institute of Business Management-Bangalore INR 14.70 lakh
Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India – Ahmedabad INRs 12.56 lakh

Source: Respective college websites

c. Offline MBA – Salary After MBA

Offline VS Online MBA – Here are the average salaries that candidates get post the completion of their degrees at some of the top-tier B-schools in India:

OFFLINE MBA: AVERAGE SALARY AFTER MBA IN INDIA 2022

B-School Name Average Salary After MBA 2022 

(in INR and LPA)

Average Salary After MBA 2021 (in INR and LPA) One Year Increase
IIM Calcutta 34.20 29.00 18%
FMS Delhi 32.40 26.20 24%
SPJIMR Mumbai 32.05 26.06 23%
IIM Kozhikode 29.50 22.53 31%
JBIMS Mumbai 27.63 23.16 19%
MDI Gurgaon 26.65 23.15 15%
IIFT Delhi/Kolkata 25.16 21.08 19%
IIM Indore 25.01 23.60 06%
DMS-IIT Delhi 21.90 18.50 18%

Source: Respective Institute’s Placement Reports

Note: Not all of these are fresher salaries. These also take in account the skill and experience level of the candidates and their previous salaries (if any). For more details, please visit the official website of these B-schools. 

Salary after MBA – It’s also important to note that there are several tier-2 and tier-3 institutions that candidates get an MBA admission in. However, their expected salary range is not high. Most of these have high MBA fee but the placement that students get generally range from INR 6 LPA to INR 12 LPA at the most (source: Glassdoor).

d. Offline MBA – Peer Group

The lectures in an MBA course are not just limited to classes and guest lectures. Peer learning and support is one of the best ways to learn while pursuing the program. One cannot be the master of everything. However, one can begin mastering everything if he/she has the right peer support. 

In fact, many MBA graduates swear by the fact that the peer group that they had access to made their journey and learning worthwhile. 

In an offline MBA program, one meets and studies with some of the best professionals out there. However, this is only true for tier-1 colleges as the crowd at lower tier institutions is often less knowledgeable. 

Online MBA – At a Glance

a. Online MBA – Choice of Colleges 

When it comes to online MBA programs, candidates will be able to get admission into some of the best management institutions in the world – from the comfort of their home. One can be a part of a high-quality cohort in the USA while living in India and vice versa. 

b. Online MBA – Course Fee 

The fee structure of an online MBA course is lower than a regular MBA course. This is because an online degree cuts off other expenses like hostel fees, travelling expenses, boarding charges, and other extra expenses.  

High-quality MBA programs offered by premium institutions around the world range from INR 3 LPA to INR 10 LPA. These courses are provided by tier-1 MBA colleges – not just national level institutes – but some of the best international-level institutions.   

c. Online MBA – Salary After MBA

The average salaries that candidates get post the completion of their online degrees depend on the institution that they have taken admission into. Most of the online MBA programs around the world offer career guidance, resume overhaul, interview preparation, and also provide their graduates access to premium job boards. 

This, on average, brings about a salary hike of 30% to 60% for experienced professionals. Freshers from good colleges are easily able to recover their MBA fees in less than a year, as most of them bring about salaries ranging from INR 10 LPA to INR 15 LPA – depending on skills and domain knowledge (source: fortune.com). 

d. Online MBA – Peer Group

While pursuing an online MBA from a reputable university, one will interact with students from all around the world. This not only increases one’s interpersonal skills but also adds to one’s knowledge.

Again, just like offline MBA courses, an online MBA’s peer group depends on the type of college a candidate is taking admission in – and not on the course itself.

Offline vs Online MBA – Which One Should You Choose?

As per our research and the data demonstrated in this article, here’s how a candidate can decide to go for an offline vs online MBA course:

When to go for an offline MBA?

A candidate must pursue an offline MBA program only if he/she gets admission into a tier-1 college in India or outside of India. For that, the candidate will have to completely dedicate the entirety of the course duration to degree, which will then benefit the candidate with a high salary package after MBA.

-> A candidate must never opt for an offline MBA from a tier-2 or tier-3 institution in any case! 

This is because the value of a tier-2 or tier-3 degree is not that high amongst corporations. Plus, these colleges still charge candidates a lot of money for a regular MBA course, which often does not give a decent enough return on investment (ROI). On the contrary, the fee charged at a tier-1 MBA institution – although quite high – gives a great ROI, high quality of education, and candidates are easily able to recover their expenditure in less than a year. Therefore, one should grab the chance to pursue a regular MBA from a tier-1 institution quickly. However, if that is not possible, then it’s always better to go for an online MBA from tier-1 MBA colleges. 

When to go for an Online MBA?

A candidate must pursue an online MBA program only if he/she cannot pursue an offline MBA degree from a tier-1 institution. This could be due to lack of financial resources, excessive family responsibilities, need to continue a job, or all of the above. 

In such a case, the candidate must opt for an online MBA degree from tier-1 MBA colleges. This should most preferably be an internationally renowned university, whose MBA course is also World Education Services (WES)-recognised and offers alumni status.  

->A candidate must never opt for an online MBA from a tier-2 or tier-3 institution in any case due to the reasons described in the preceding section! 

->On top of that, a candidate must only opt for an online MBA if he/she cannot pursue a regular MBA from a premium, tier-1 MBA institution. This is the second-best choice after a tier-1 regular MBA course. 

Offline vs Online MBA – Comparison

While making a better choice out of an offline vs online MBA, here are the parameters that students should consider:

Offline vs Online MBA - Comparison

Offline vs Online MBA – Conclusion

  • Always opt for a tier-1 regular (offline) MBA first.
  • If that is not possible, then the second-best option is to opt for an online MBA from a tier-1 international institution that is WES recognised.
  • Never opt for any other option than the two mentioned above! 

To know more and apply for MBA scholarships, please click here.

Offline vs Online MBA – FAQs

What is an MBA?

A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate-level business and management degree with a focus on leadership and managerial skills. An MBA program will help candidates build a strong foundation of business practices while learning skills in areas like corporate finance, digital marketing, business strategy, operations management, leadership, organisational management, and more.

How long does it take to get an MBA degree?

A traditional full-time MBA degree takes one to two years to complete. Some colleges offer accelerated MBA courses to allow candidates to earn their degree in as little as a year. However, part-time, online, and executive MBAs can take anywhere from eighteen months to three years to finish, depending on the curriculum and course load.

What is an executive MBA?

An executive MBA program, also known as EMBA, is designed for working professionals who are further along in their careers and want to earn a management degree while working full-time. These are not to be confused with online MBAs, as EMBA classes meet on a part-time basis, like weekend classes. EMBAs require the same admission standards, follow the same rigorous curriculum, and confer students with the same MBA degree as full-time MBA students. However, most EMBA programs require a minimum amount of work experience (some colleges require only 5 years, while others need at least 12) and are more expensive than regular MBA programs.

Which is the better option out of Offline vs Online MBA?

Offline vs Online MBA - When compared, an offline MBA is always better than an online degree. However, that only counts if one is pursuing the degree from a tier-1 MBA institution full-time. Apart from that, it’s better to pursue an online MBA from a tier-1 institute rather than going for a regular MBA course from any tier-2 or tier-3 institute.

Is an online MBA degree worth it?

An online MBA degree is only worth it if one does not get admission into a regular MBA program in a tier-1 institution. The other reason is if the candidate does not have the leverage to leave his/her job or has family responsibilities to take care of. In that case, an online MBA is recommended! Other than that, it is highly recommended to go after an offline MBA program (regular, full-time) from a premium tier-1 MBA institution.

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