Distance MBA – How is it Perceived by the Industry?

Nidhi Mishra updated on : 24 Jan 2017

Although a distance MBA course is not much recognised by the industry during its hiring process, it is given due share of appreciation when an MBA employee applies his/her course learning in day-to-day work and performs greatly.

Distance MBA – How is it Perceived by the Industry

Distance MBA-There has always been this debate about the company or employer perception regarding Full time MBA vs. Distance MBA. While many students passing out of distance MBA courses feel that the industry is biased towards full-time students, some industry and educational experts differ in their opinions. However, some important factors about distance learning students can determine and even change the industry perception at times. Check out what majorly influences these perceptions.

Also Check: Why Distance Learning MBA is good for you?

Skill Set Enhancement:

Distance MBA is a safe bet when it is about skill set enhancement for better prospects in the industry. While most of the recruiters perceive distance MBAs as much more skilled in their areas of specialisation as compared to non-MBAs, the same may be debatable when the comparison is with the full-time MBAs. Although a distance MBA degree imparts a vast portfolio of managerial and soft skills, tools and techniques, the industry considers it fairly only when the existing employees take up such a course to grow up within the organisation.

As against this, a fresh graduate taking up the same course may find his/her skill set questionable in comparison to full-time MBAs seeking their first work opportunity. This mostly happens because of the lack of industry or field exposure of distance MBAs and the intensive exposure of full-time MBAs to enriching classroom activities, knowledge exchange, and discussions.

Preference to Taking up Distance MBA;

While there may be several reasons for students taking up distance MBA courses, the industry mostly does not consider them. This may be due to a prevalent belief that students who find it difficult to compete in the entrance exams for full-time MBA opt for the distance learning option.
However, the belief is taking a turn slowly in India. Recruiters have been considering distance MBA students for managerial jobs after understanding the reasons behind their choice of this programme and assessing their capabilities and knowledge. It will still take years for distance MBA students to come on a level playing field with full-time MBA students.

Accreditation of the MBA Institute:

This critical factor drives the preferences of recruiters in terms of hiring distance MBA students for managerial positions. If you have done MBA from a reputed, accredited institution, then its recognition is higher among recruiters. The institutional recognition or accreditation by the Distance Education Council (DEC) or organisations like UGC and AICTE matters a lot.

Your distance education degree would not hold any value if you have not gained it from such an accredited institution. While you will find a management institute at every nook and corner of the country, it is of no use if you are not enrolled in the top institutions of India. The industry only gives value to distance MBA programs held by the best of management institutes like IIMs, XLRI, IGNOU, SCDL, IMT, etc.

MBA Specialisation;

While a distance MBA programme may not hold too much importance in the industry if not pursued at a renowned institution, certain specialisations may hold good value. This happens when those specialisations are unavailable to pursue at many institutions. For instance, even if you have done distance MBA in a specialisation like healthcare management or production management, you will hold substantial value in comparison to other common specialisations like finance, IT, or HR. When the skills are rare, their value goes up. It is the same with regard to MBA skills.

Students or Working Professionals:

Fresh graduates pursuing distance MBA may find it hard to gain much acceptance in the industry after they complete their courses. Most of the companies prefer to hire a full-time MBA candidate, as they assume that those candidates will have a better business acumen and understanding. While it may not be a reality, it is a mindset that has long been there in the Indian industry. This makes fresh MBA pass-outs struggle for top jobs, which are majorly offered during placements conducted by institutions for full-time students.

On the other hand, individuals who take up a distance MBA course while doing their jobs have much better chances of getting promotions and career growth within their existing organisations. As they have been loyal to their companies for long, the companies also perceive them as willing for growth when they go on to improve their qualifications and skill sets. Thus, working professionals can improve their career path even by taking up a distance MBA programme. Companies want to invest in their existing skilled workforce rather than hiring and training new MBAs. Companies start perceiving existing MBA employees as experts in their professional areas, as they have pursued and successfully completed their MBA degrees.

Exposure through the Course:

Sometimes, the flexibility that a distance MBA course adopts in comparison to a full-time course hampers its image in the industry. Several recruiters have the perception that a distance MBA programme has lenient admission criteria and selection processes, and it does not set an age bar on applicants and offers no competition during selection. While it is true to some extent, it does not prove that those students will pass out less skilful than a regular MBA student.

Some recruiters have begun acknowledging that distance MBA students also go through stringent course content and exercises. While they may not have gone through a strict admission process, many of them can come out very well polished. This is making space for distance MBA candidates in the current industrial scenario. Still, companies consider the overall educational and work background of a distance MBA candidate, as well as question their reasons to choose this option instead of regular MBA.

It can be disappointing for many distance MBA students to find that their common specialisations, low networking, and lack of field exposure during the term of MBA may cost them heavily in spite of their hard efforts and time investment made in pursuing a competitive MBA program. However, their degree can definitely help them in receiving good appraisals and promotional opportunities within their companies when they display outstanding individual performance.

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