Thursday, March 27, 2008

Assured Career, Respectable Wage And An Early Age

Anyone who is out to pursue an online MBA degree MUST WEIGH its pros and cons. This, undoubtedly, is a general view taking rounds in online student community blogs, career forums and even at expert chat columns. But, should one really think twice before pursuing an online MBA?

Look before you leap' is an apt adage one should consider before getting involved in anything. And this, like any other on-campus, online or distance learning courses, applies to online MBA degree as well. Appreciable is the effort a student undertakes in developing his/her knowledge about the online course and college before actually getting enrolled for the program. After all, it will only strengthen your belief (if you have any) in the online MBA course and college that you have chosen to become a part of.

Sure, you are in now way satisfied. So what is that so scary about pursuing an online MBA course? The reasons hardcore-on-campus lovers list out both online and offline when numbered are:

1) Most online colleges/universities lack proper accreditation, there are degree mills too

2) Only students with low grades or college drop-outs pursue online MBA

3) There are no real instructors

4) Employers do not recognize the online degree, they go for regular programs

5) The degree itself does not hold any value. The list is endless, though. So do we give full marks to on-campus MBAs?

Wait, they do not look like quite flawless either! Take for instance the on-campus MBA courses we are offered here in India. We have around 1,600 Business Schools in India including famed IIMs which offer two year MBA program mostly for freshers without any prior work experience. It would not of course be honeyed news to hear that these courses are distorted versions of Harvard MBA and designed as a post-experience qualification, when you reach here after much faltering and filtering. And what significant knowledge the faculty here possesses apart from bookish information? It is indeed a pity that Indian business schools give little significance to the knowledge acquired from real-world experience, especially in a subject like management where practice counts more.

Now, let us get back to Online/Distance MBA.

The allegation No.1 is Most online colleges/universities lack proper accreditation. Of course there is a certain truth in it; but it does not say "all'. Bogus universities do exist online, but a student who is really interested can easily find them out.

No.2. Only students with low grades or college drop-outs pursue online MBA. Take a closer look at the profile of students who join online MBA courses. You will find top IAS officers, IIT graduates, people with global experience in business and management, even MBA students from IIMs among many others.

No.3. There are no real instructors. An online college functions mostly online. So it is not possible for instructors to appear in front of a student in flesh and blood. And more over, most of those who teach you are subject matter experts, who draw real-life experience in business and management.

An allegation that may hit you directly and make you revise the decision to join a distance MBA program is the one numbered 4th. Employers do not recognize the online degree, they go for regular programs. So why do all these above listed high profile people go for their online MBA? Simply because earning an online MBA degree will fetch them hike in pay scale, higher management positions and of course more authority in specialized areas. And what more, a quick review of the recent management recruiting trend shows that a growing number of companies including Indian prefer MBA graduates from lesser known and online universities because they work hard to prove themselves and are loyal to the companies.

The last but not insignificant allegation is The degree itself does not hold any value. Is it purely because online MBA is offered for a lesser price compared two year on-campus courses? Studies from world over reveal that online degrees have become increasingly popular over the recent years. Education analysts point out that there has been a steep rise in the number of Indian students who join for online MBA over the years. After all, every middle class Indian with a career dream know that an online MBA, with lesser investment, could get them an assured career and respected wage that too at an early age.

With an aim to help materialize the management dreams of middle class Indians, more and more online universities with a proven track record in the global scene are launching their services here. And most of these institutes like California University of Technology are quite transparent about it, announcing discounts and grants for their future Indian students.

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