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Online MBA: Programs, Top colleges, Course Specializations and Best Strategy


Business degrees like online MBAs are one of the world’s most popular cross-boundary options in higher education today. Online MBAs have become very popular in higher education today, and some cost as little as half of their on-campus counterparts.

While number of enrollments and applications for full-time MBA programs has declined consecutively over the past5 years, demand for online MBAs has exploded

How can we justify this vastly expanding market? Online MBAs are this quintessential business credential and an ideal guide for prospective students who don’t want to quit their jobs.

(Figure) Some Popular Specializations of Online MBA programs across the World:
Entrepreneurship, Finance & Accounting, Human Resource Management, International Business & Foreign Trade, Investment Banking & Wealth Management, Marketing & Sales Management, Business Leadership & Business Analysis

What is Online MBA?

The intention of doing an Online MBA is to give your career an upgrade and enhance your chances of swift promotions. Online MBA is an advanced version of distance learning.

The lectures are imparted through video conferencing and your notes & recordings of lectures can be carried in pen drives. Online MBA courses are offered by several management institutes across the world. The tenure of online MBA courses can vary from 1 year to 2 years in some colleges.

Online MBA is an extremely convenient mode of learning, particularly for those looking to complete their management degrees without sacrificing their jobs. In recent years, students have shown increased confidence on online MBA courses with the advancement in data connection & speed.

Because of its dependence on satellite/ online mediums, online MBA is also known as satellite management programs.

Grow your career with support from an incredible business school

Online MBAs are career-oriented degrees by nature. Educational content is typically rooted in case studies across a variety of industries. This makes it easy for you to apply your learnings. Group projects and virtual or regional live in-person networking events will help you to foster deep connections with your peers and faculty.

Online degrees in business promise a clear way to advance your career &build a fantastic network with a credential recognized across industries. As you think about a degree in business, the question you should be asking yourself is: what’s next for my career?

Earn an MBA with faster ROI – Breakthrough Pricing

Thinking of return on your investment (ROI)? Well, it shouldn’t be new to you that the cost of higher education has proved challenging in some economies around the world.

Online degrees often cost as little as half the cost as their on-campus counterparts. This also ensures you can see ROI faster on your hard work after the completion of your business degree program.

Earning your most coveted postsecondary degree in business and earning it online can provide a great return at a practical cost. This is coupled with the fact that you don’t need to quit your job and lose your salary.

Effective Learning – Interactive & Engaging

Online MBAs are more than just video lectures andcase studies. Many programs offer weekly live class sessions across a video conferencing platform. Online degrees often meet for live sessions on Zoom andfaculty office hours.

This promises similar network building that you can expect from on-campus programs. The same is, more often than not, more efficient.

To put in other words, maximum students mostly care about two common things when it comes to an online degree:

  • Career growth
  • Return on investment

So, You Want An Online MBA. Know This.

You’re determined that you want to get an MBA degree. However, you don’t find the option of a full-time on-campus or maybe even a part-time on-campus program plausible for you.

What you’re looking for is more flexibility as well as greater control and both at a lower cost. So, an online MBA is the best most reasonable option! There are multiple choices out there for an online MBA.

You will definitely need a program that will deliver the knowledge, skills and network you need for success in your current and future jobs.

Primary elements of an online MBA program are:

  • Focus
  • Learning style
  • Delivery method
  • Duration

Online MBA: Colleges in India

In India, there is a dichotomy between an MBA and a PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). There are currently no colleges in India offering online full-time degree course in Management which is equivalent to a full-time on-campus program.

Further, AICTE has a standing directive which states that an institution cannot run both PGDM and MBA courses in the same institution. They are permitted to run all courses as either MBA or PGDM.

We have few noted establishments in India offering PGDM classes and PGDBA (Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration) in the online mode. We also have PGCM courses (Post Graduate Certificate in Management) which are offered by select colleges in India, through both classroom as well as online modes.

Online PGCM programs range typically from 12 to 15 months. You are required to complete the program in a minimum time, which is subject to extension, usually till a minimum of 3 years.

List of 20 Colleges in India: For PGDM, PGCM and PGDBA Courses

While MBA colleges need an affiliation to a university, PGDM/ PGDBA/ PGCM courses (online or offline) need no such affiliations but AICTE/ UGC-DEB approval and/or NBA (National Board of Accreditation) accreditation to run their courses.However, a 2-year PGDM qualification is considered equivalent to an MBA.

The popular specializations offered for online PGCM/ PGDM/ PGDBA courses in India typically are Finance, Marketing, Operations, Human Resource, and Business Analytics.

The following are among noted institutions in India conducting AICTE/ UGC-DEB (Distance Education Board) approved online PGDM/ PGDBA/ PGCM classes (open & distance flexible learning modes).

Few colleges,like ICFAI, also provide online (distance flexible learning) ‘Sectoral MBA’ programs of 2-year duration focused in specific industrial sectors like Hospital Administration, Pharma Management, Telecom Management, Power, Energy, Transportation &Logistics, Aviation, Oil & Gas, Infrastructure, Banking & Insurance, Retail Management, and International Business.

  • All India Management Association (AIMA, Delhi)
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT, Ghaziabad)
  • Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT, Pune)
  • Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (IILM) Graduate School of Management (Greater Noida)
  • NMIMS Global Access School for Continuing Education, Mumbai
  • Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning
  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • Indian School of Business Management and Administration, Hyderabad
  • IIM Calcutta
  • Management Development Institute
  • IIM Lucknow
  • Amity School of Distance Learning
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management
  • ITM University Online, Navi Mumbai
  • Karnataka State Open University
  • Venkateshwara Open University, Pune
  • Sikkim Manipal University of Distance Education
  • ICFAI University
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
  • Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University

Why Online MBAs Are The Future?

In 2019, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced the closure of its full-time and part-time MBA programs. This was solely because it intends to focus on expansion of its online MBA courses.

The popularity of online-format MBAs has grown massively in recent years. According to Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC-the body that conducts the GMAT exam), the majority of online MBA programs in 2016 reported an increase (to 57%)in applications from just 50% in 2015.

Online MBA courses are also available in all price points and lots of different formats.

If you’re hoping to get your MBA while working full-time, running your own small business, or even doing both, you may have a feeling that accommodating your classes in your busy schedule is going to be a tall task. Flexible study options like online MBA courses are becoming increasingly available and popular.

Because of the absence of any physical travel, you choose from a much broader range of schools when it comes to where you’d like to get your MBA from. Some of the best colleges in the world offer these degrees.

Additionally, there are many cheaper options than the traditional MBA. Owing to the fact that the cost of running an online MBA course is relatively low compared to teaching students on-campus, most institutions can afford to drive their tuition prices down to around one-third less.

Credibility of the online degree is certainly better than what it used to be. With the rise of online MBAs, the stigma attached to online degrees has long faded. Onlinedelivery models have become far more trustworthy.

Recruiters today can recognize the amount of self-motivation, self-control, and commitment that online students put in to achieve their goals.

You will have exactly the same well-known and well-respected qualification with an online MBAthat you would expect with an on-campus qualification. Moreover, you can enjoy a far lower price tag and much more flexibility around learning.

How to choose an Online MBA program

Answer these 4 questions to make an informed choice

Look at the following questions. If you are confused as to which course to choose and have listed hundreds of college options, your answers to these questions can greatly help you to shortlist your options.

By understanding the parameters of various online MBA courses, defining your personal & career goals, and thoughtfully answering the following questions, you can build a target list of best online MBA programs that are most suited to you.

Online MBA degrees: 4 Questions to help you make an informed choice

(Figure) Online MBA degrees: 4 Questions to help you make an informed choice

Choose an Online MBA program: Question 1

Do you want a degree focused on general management or a one specializing in an industry or function?

If you want to change direction to or advance your current career in enter a specific industry, consider a model focused on your desired field.

Alternatively, if you’re looking at general management MBA education, you’ll gain an overview of business, like basic disciplines such as accounting, marketing, strategy, finance, economics, etc.

Basic disciplines like accounting, marketing, strategy, finance, economics, etc. typically provide about half the credits necessary to earn an MBA degree. The other half comes from elective courses that you will have to choose.
You may also choose a program model with your preferred focus in a specific industry such as sustainability, healthcare, sports management, etc.

You should, most importantly, make this choice between general management and specialization as fitted to your career goals.

The general management model offers you a break to pursue a range of opportunities and you can ultimately qualify for a C-suite job (CEO, CFO, CTO, COO etc. positions).

The specific industry model offers depth in your chosen industry and helps you accelerate your advancement along that path.

Choose an Online MBA program: Question 2

Independent self-learner or externally directed? What kind of student are you?

Online MBA courses are typically ‘self-paced’ so you will have more freedom in scheduling your classes. However, some offer limited two-way communication and stifled interactions which means inadequate relationship building, mentor input or real-time student community participation.

Online programs offering more interaction are always more engaging and motivating for the students who are basically self-learners. Real-time communication with classmates and instructors invites multiple perspectives and offers ways to analyze as well as solve problems.

Real-time communication models also foster enduring alliances and friendships with contemporary students as well as the alums. Most programs with this model have a prescribed path to graduation.

Such online programs can help you stay on-schedule and adequately paced toward completing your MBA studies. However, this model may offer less flexibility in scheduling classes and may also require more time to earn your degree.

Choose an Online MBA program: Question 3

Many online MBA program shave a required on-campus component, especially those from top-tier business schools.

So, what’s your preferred mix? How much of remote delivery versus on-campus delivery?

Lasting anywhere between2-3 days and an entire week, on-campus residencies can take place at the start, middle and/or towards the end of the program.

Models that require you to start with an on-campus component will do so mostly to getyouacquainted with other signees and integrate you with your counterparts in the residential program.

Some colleges with this approach may also introduce you to experiential learning, and various clubs. This improves chances of team projects, class trips, future cohort meetings, and on-site company visits.

B-schoolsofferingon-campus residency towards the end of an online program do so to provide common “capstone” projects for their program just before completion.

For online students with significant professional or personal obligations, the schedule, time and travel required to attend residencies can be difficult or even impossible. So, you must discuss on this parameter in advance with your employer and/or family before deciding on the right model for you.

Choose an Online MBA program: Question 4

What’s your ideal timeframe for completing an online MBA program?

Time frame for earning an MBA degree is another major consideration for online students. Online MBA courses may range from 10-24 months or up to several years. This must be considered with reference to your other goals.
Short programs can include less interaction with fellow students&faculty, more pre-recorded lectures, as well as the absence of a mandatoryresidential component.

Such programs typically offer fewer electives and lesser number of extracurricular activities that includes fewer real-time consulting, company visits, or team projects. This model, however, can offer you flexibility as to when you want to “attend” your classes and focus your studies in a particular discipline.

Longer programs offer less flexibility however, but offer more team projects, interaction, electives, and extra-curriculars. Additionally, students who go for this model typically sense a closer bond with the school’s culture, practices and alumni network.

Top 10 Best Online MBA Programs in the World

  1. Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon University), $137,200
  2. Kelley School of Business (Indiana University), $74,520
  3. Marshall School of Business (University of Southern California), $106,197
  4. Lehigh University College of Business, $39,600
  5. Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Carolina), $125,589
  6. Amherst Isenberg School of Management (University of Massachusetts), $35,983
  7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Foisie Business School, $75,168
  8. Harbert College of Business (Auburn University), $35,100
  9. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, $30,240
  10. Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business, $78,000

Top 10 Online MBA Courses in The World for Best Career Outcomes

Here is a curated list of the top 10 global b-schools offering online degrees in management which typically have the best placement percentages as well as career growth with respect to the alumni network.
USC Marshall School of Business

  1. Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business
  3. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Foisie Business School
  4. Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Carolina)
  5. Auburn University Harbert College of Business
  6. Indiana University Kelley School of Business
  7. Jack Welch Management Institute
  8. North Carolina State University Poole College of Management
  9. Ohio University College of Business

Top 10 Online MBA Courses in The World with Best Student Satisfaction %

Prospective online students have some common worries. You will wonder if you’ll learn as much online than what you did when you sat in traditional classrooms during your undergraduate education or other regular- mode formal degrees.

You’ll be concerned that the bonds you form on campus will be especially elusive in the Internet world. And you shall think that you may also have to sacrifice connections with faculty who could become valuable mentors over your professional lifetimes.

Student satisfaction matters, especially admissions standards, career outcomes, and academic & extracurricular online experience. It can be a powerful endorsement of a program for future students.

Here’s the best student satisfaction list:

  1. Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business
  3. University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
  4. Indiana University Kelley School of Business
  5. Jack Welch Management Institute
  6. Ohio University
  7. Lehigh University College of Business & Economics
  8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Foisie Business School
  9. Hofstra University Zarb College of Business
  10. USC Marshall School of Business

List of 34 In-Demand Specializations of Online MBA Courses around the world

  • Marketing and Sales Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Finance And Accounting
  • Strategic Management
  • Logistics And Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • NGO Management
  • International Business
  • Retail Management
  • Advertising and Brand Management
  • Travel and Tourism Management
  • Public Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Banking Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Investment Banking and wealth management
  • International Marketing
  • Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Healthcare Management
  • Finance Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Operation and Production Management
  • Business Leadership
  • Business Analysis
  • Foreign Trade and Global Business Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Mass Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Project Leadership Management
  • Branding and Advertising
  • Media and Entertainment Management
  • Ecommerce Marketing and Management
  • Information Technology Management


Looking forward to getting that long coveted MBA degree? Confused about online MBA colleges in India or online MBA courses in India or the best online MBA programs abroad? Hope we’ve been able to help you with all-round knowledge about them as well as tiny other details you never knew about. Nevertheless, you need handholding to get you through this. How about a discussion with our expert career counselors with decades of experience concerning education in the field of management?

12 thoughts on “Online MBA: Programs, Top colleges, Course Specializations and Best Strategy”

  1. If any student have a choice to select between PGDM and MBA what would you suggest him/her to opt for as their higher studies.

  2. Thanks for sharing the information about the distance Online MBA Courses. Distance learning is the future of the education world and I am searching for this as it really helps me to understand the distance courses. Keep sharing this information and I am also sharing this with my friends once again thanks a lot.

  3. Hey! Thank you for sharing this useful information. Nowadays education is a more powerful weapon. Hyderabad is Educational Hub In Telangana, After graduation pass, MBA is the Best Course for Students.

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