COVID-19: Online MBA hit the jackpot while
traditional MBA collapsed

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By Education Today

Posted on April 6, 2022


4 min read

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Last year brought unprecedented and unforeseen changes across the world. One industry that found itself amidst this was education. Being a part of the industry, it was easy for me to observe circumstantial transformation, but I have to be honest, 2020 was a lot different.

Covid-19 has been a defining moment for all industries, more so for higher education. Upskilling was always on the cards for many students and professionals but never had it been inescapable.

MBA notably received a jolt from the blue. Overnight, students who landed on campus had to refrain from attending classes physically or, sadly, head back home. Dreams were shattered, or at least, it felt like it.

Then something miraculous happened, something that the education industry has long been predicting and investing in but didn’t think would be applicable at a moment’s notice. Never has the term ‘being agile’ gained so much practical importance as it did in 2020. Thankfully enough, India was already preparing for the growth of e-learning. Lectures moved from wooden desks to the virtual world on Zoom. Professors traveled from their bedrooms to living rooms to teach students seated miles away and, at times, in different countries.

As the demand for e-learning continues to grow, the incapacity of a traditional MBA is glaringly visible. The on-campus MBA module relied heavily on set methods of teaching and a physical syllabus that didn’t adapt quickly. As opposed to that, an online MBA is more flexible and sensitive to the changing landscape. Come 2021, and on-campus MBA institutes are taking note. Universities that are tens of decades-old are seeing online MBA courses as a practical and attainable option.

Online MBA is no different from an on-campus MBA

Certain myths that are constantly associated with online MBA include high price points, lack of collaboration with peers, lack of exposure to real-world situations, lack of credibility of online degrees, and very simply, the lack of quality education. Today, I see all of the above being busted.

An online MBA has proven to be more affordable than an on-campus one. Think of all the costs you would be saving up on – accommodation/rental (since students are willing to relocate to a new city for an MBA), travel, food, among many. What’s more? You don’t have to give up your chances to earn while you learn. The opportunity cost of not having an income while pursuing an MBA on campus is perhaps one of the most important, and with an online MBA, students don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Online MBA is different from offline MBA that has shifted to online during the pandemic. The online curriculum includes a lot more than just lectures and one-way communication. Activities are designed keeping in mind the limitations of not being physically present, and students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers all the time. Just like in an offline MBA, projects are assigned that enable collective growth. The case studies that are discussed in on-campus classrooms are taken up effectively in virtual classrooms, too. The myth that students lack growth due to no physical interaction has been proven wrong time and again.

The third, and perhaps the most baseless in my opinion, is that degrees obtained through online courses are not credible. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Universities across the globe understand the need for and advantage of online learning. Credible universities offer online MBA courses. Reputed institutions like SP Jain and NMIMS in India and Deakin Business School, EU Business School, and Liverpool Business School offer accredited online MBA courses. And these are just a few. In my own experience at upGrad, I’ve been lucky to see first-hand some of the best business schools offering quality online MBA education at par with the on-campus course.

Recruiters are embracing Online Education The pandemic forced upon us drastic measures, the ripples of which were felt through the education industry and affected all stakeholders in the higher education industry. These stakeholders don’t just include university, students, and parents. They involve the workplace and community at large, too.