The Distance Learning MBA Program
With the technological advances of the internet over the past two decades, both online and distance learning programs have become increasingly popular. In terms of MBA programs however, it is fair to say that neither modes of learning are as well respected by employers as the traditional, on-campus full- and part-time versions.
Distance learning MBA programs, differentiated from online courses because while the majority of study is via the internet, students are required to attend some on-campus sessions, exams and networking events, are becoming extremely popular amongst applicants.
Anecdotally, a recent poll on TopMBA.com asked visitors to select the programs that they might be considering applying to; while 54% chose full-time, 29% selected either online or distance learning MBA programs.
Unfortunately, for the distance learning MBA study mode, there has been a lot of negative press over the years, as some institutions have been accused of acting as ‘diploma mills’, where MBA hopefuls pay their tuition fees and are awarded a diploma on the back of un-proven ‘life-experience’. One institution in particular, Rochville University came under heavy criticism back in 2009 when it awarded an online MBA to Chester Ludlow, a pug dog from Vermont in the USA.
Reputable distance learning MBA programs
But as with traditional campus-based courses, there will always be some MBA programs that are more highly regarded than others.
In fact, many distance learning MBAs are operated by business schools that have offered campus-based versions for many years. The majority of these programs are accredited under the same umbrella as their full- and part-time equivalents, and so have to meet very strict criteria.
Some even have the much sort after triple accreditation, where all three major international MBA accrediting bodies have endorsed their curricula; an achievement that many campus-based programs can only strive for.
Amongst the business schools that can boast triple accredited distance learning MBA programs are Henley Business School, Warwick Business School, Open University Business School, Durham Business School, University of Strathclyde Business School, IE Business School and Aston Business School.
Entry requirements for distance learning MBAs
While the mode of learning might be more convenient on distance learning MBA programs, applicants should not assume that the entry requirements and workload are any less stringent or time-intensive than those of traditional programs.
For example, at IE Business School’s Global MBA, a distance learning MBA program offered by the Spain-based business school, the average GMAT score for accepted students is 680. Further, the school requires proof of applicant’s language ability, and the course fees are comparable to that of the school’s full- and part-time programs.
However, while some distance learning MBA programs are clearly becoming more reputable, there will always be the risk that an employer could dismiss a degree based purely on the fact that it hasn’t been taught wholly on-campus. As a result, TopMBA.com’s advice for those applicants considering enrolling on either online or distance learning MBA programs is to look at where the institution’s MBA alumni are in their career, and which companies they are employed by – if that’s what you want from your MBA, then a distance learning MBA could well be suitable for you.