Executive MBA vs. Distance MBA

Nidhi Mishra updated on : 24 Jan 2017

With both executive MBA and distance MBA programs, you surely receive the benefits in terms of enriched knowledge, excellent information to lead a business domain, and outstanding career prospects. It is finally your decision to make an apt choice between the two programs, based on your preferences, resource availability, and work experience.

Executive MBA vs. Distance MBA

Executive MBA vs. Distance MBA - With the penetration of technology in India at a more rapid pace than ever, the enrollment in higher education courses, especially MBA, is also increasing at a fast pace. While there are newer B-schools coming up in various cities and offering high-quality executive MBA and distance MBA courses, the demand for online and distance education MBA programs is also on a rise in almost all areas of specialisation in management education.

Also Check: Distance MBA vs Full Time MBA

However, most of the MBA aspirants have the same question when it comes to the choice of the most suitable program according to their education, experience, and future career goals. Whether aspirants want to take up an HR specialisation or a finance specialisation, they want to understand the difference an executive MBA and a distance MBA can cause to their professional career after course completion. Let us sort out this confusion with some important considerations MBA aspirants must take into account before making a choice of the right MBA program and mode of education.

What are Executive MBA and Distance MBA Programs?

As several management institutions like the IIMs have adopted the word ‘executive’ in their new and traditional management education programs, it has become confusing for working executives to understand the meaning of executive MBA itself. In fact, many institutions have come up with full-time MBA courses of a year’s duration. However, these do not become executive MBA, just because these are one-year programs. The same is the case when working professionals perceive some programs as executive MBA, simply based on the course requirements for enrolling students to have work experience.

Executive MBA:

An executive MBA program is a course designed only for ‘working executives’ who want to pursue MBA while working full-time in their companies. There can be different modes of taking up the executive MBA program. While some individuals take up a part-time executive MBA course, some others opt for an evening, online, or distance learning executive MBA course. Most of the executive MBA programs demand 5-6 years of relevant work experience or more, depending on specific institutional requirements.

Distance MBA:

On the other hand, a distance MBA program may not necessarily aim at educating working executives. Those who are working, as well as those who have graduated and possessing no work experience, can take up distance MBA. Still, there are distance MBA programs designed exclusively for executives who may or may not be working currently, but who have prior work experience of at least 3 years in the relevant domain. This duration of the required work experience may vary from one institution to another.

How to Choose between Executive MBA and Distance MBA?

If you are an MBA aspirant, then you may need to consider some critical factors while making a choice between an executive and a distance MBA program. Here are some major factors that should drive your decision:


Executive MBA

Distance MBA


If you go for a full-time or part-time option, then it may not be as flexible as an online learning option is. However, executive MBA is still a flexible-enough option, as you can continue your job while attending your classes during evenings or weekends. While it may not affect you if you are not doing a job currently, it can be an issue when you have a job that requires frequent travel.

Distance MBA is the most flexible study option for executives and other learners, as it is pursued via correspondence or remote communication. If you do not have time to attend a full-time or even a part-time study option, then you should opt for distance MBA.

Time Availability

If you have spare time and energy on weekends and evenings, then it is a good option. It can be difficult when you have major personal responsibilities to manage, along with your job. For example, when you have kids and family to take care of and have limited time, it may not be the best option.

Again, it is the best option for those who get time randomly to allocate to their studies, along with their jobs. In spite of your busy personal, study or work schedules, you can take up distance MBA safely.

Work Experience Demand

While it may vary from one institution to another, you should preferably have 5+ years of experience to go for executive MBA.

While anyone with a graduation degree can go for it, a few distance MBA programs may be available for executives with work experience of 1-3 years or more, varying by the institution.


Can be company-sponsored(check with your firm)

Can be company-sponsored(check with your firm)

Availability at Institutes

Available at almost all leading management institutions across India, ranging from IIMs and XLRI to ISB

Available at several leading management institutes, including IIMs, IGNOU, Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning, Sikkim Manipal University, NMIMS, ICFAI University, IMT Ghaziabad, and Annamalai University


1-2 years (may vary by institution)

2-3 years (may vary by institution)


Usually,> Rupees 1,00,000; but, less than the fees for any full-time MBA

Usually,< Rupees 1,00,000; it is the cheapest option if you lack financial resources

Recruiter’s Preference

As it is an enriched MBA program with valuable inputs from experienced business professionals, it is highly value-adding and preferred by recruiters.

While it may not hold the same value as executive MBA does, distance MBA from leading institution counts fairly well in the business world.

Career Opportunities:

While most of the institutions may not support you with corporate placements when you do distance MBA with them, you can have bright career opportunities after taking up this program, especially the one designed for executives with prior work experience. It gives you an edge when it is time to move up the corporate ladder. With executive MBA, you excel in your niche area after gaining exceptional professional expertise and the avenues grow largely for you. You enrich your existing work experience, anticipate faster promotions, and grow towards leadership positions. You can even apply directly for higher positions in companies or can start your own firm.

Also Discover:

Executive MBA vs. Full Time MBA

Placement Scope after Executive MBA


Recommended articles

Leave Your Comments Views or Questions here