Virtualization is the new buzz word which is affecting our day to day lives. Think of any corner in our lives from shopping, eating to choosing your life partner and making important communication (email), virtual world has taken over. Education is not an exception. From the old ‘chalk and talk’ method, the paradigm has shifted to delivery via applications which support virtualization. I have been a spectator of this whole paradigm shift and hence would like to put forward my understanding of this whole change.
First things first, the basic advantage of regular MBA is that you get a feel of how communications are done in front of key stakeholders in corporate environment when every who’s who of business is watching you via real time classroom interactions. One cannot participate in a business oriented discussion with the liberty of not being judged only in a classroom environment, which helps the candidate grow as a professional. The ability to contribute in a business oriented discussion positively is the most important takeaway for a full time MBA student as compared to the student pursuing distance learning program who chose to be anonymous and secluded.
Regular MBA takes you ‘out of your comfort zone’. Particularly, candidates with work experience who resign from their respective jobs only to take a loan and chose to remain unemployed for the period of next two/one years, stakes go on an all-time high. On top of that, urgency to meet tough deadlines for assignments and presentations add a mountain of stress on those stakes. A distance learning student always stays within its comfort zone and does things at his pace. So, a regular MBA student green ticks a very important ingredient to become successful as a professional which is ‘efficiently handling pressure situations’.
I have seen candidates going into a b-school with a devil may care attitude, procrastinating in almost their every deliverable, a fair bit of being laid back while trying to be proactive. But once they come out of the b-school system, a quite visible dent in their personality is there in terms of being more disciplined, more methodical in going about their tasks and always being a leader in being proactive.
Apart from this a distance learning student misses out on other important activities in the campus like in person interactions with great visionaries, entrepreneurs and successful personalities in industry who are invited by the college to deliver guest lectures. Today, top MBA colleges have tie-ups with NGOs or drive on their own for being responsible and contributive towards social causes. These programs give ample opportunities to regular MBA students to develop their leadership skills and stand out as a winner later on in their respective careers.
I have seen regular MBA candidates enjoying the advantage of having a very strong ‘personal’ alumni network over the years in their corporate lives. As a student, they interact with three batches personally on an average, which are their immediate seniors, their own batch and the immediate juniors. This personal interlocking done during their student life proves to be very handy when they seek guidance during their career as a professional. The cushion of ‘knowing somebody by face’ is there and the level of comfort during discussion is reflected vis-à-vis their interaction with some other senior person in the firm. In the case of distance learning mode, this ‘personal’ touch is missing and only virtual reach remains there.
Based on my above viewpoints, one can easily infer that regular MBA brings along more focus and intensity along with it. You just cannot afford to have a hiatus once you are in. This prepares you for the upcoming corporate life as while working it will be very crucial in deciding one’s success because their quality of your work will also be very important along with the quantity. In distance learning mode, while attending lectures via webinar or any other virtualized tool, a student has various distractions. These distractions can be itchiness to quickly check their Facebook and Twitter or the desire to go and have a small sandwich break. So, needless to say discipline and focus go hand in hand for doing something worthy.
Lastly, the single most important thing about which every candidate does its analysis before joining a regular or distance learning MBA is the ‘placements’. A glance at the recent trends gives a very clear picture that students enrolled in a regular MBA program get better roles, better packages in better companies vis-à-vis students enrolled for distance learning. Based on my interactions with various recruiters the single most important factor which tilts the equation in favor of regular MBA candidates is that they are seen as someone who are more polished and more ready to take up business roles. To go with it, their calculative risk taking appetite is considered to be much better than the distance learning folks.
Thus, it all boils down to ‘No ship sails through the ocean without facing the storm’. As is clear from the above talking points that regular MBA candidates become more battle hardened and more trained to handle critical situations in corporate life where the onus of the success of business decisions lie on their shoulders. Also, amidst all the demands of increasing seats in distance learning MBA course in top institutes there is no denying the fact that colleges are aware that quality will suffer if they do so. So, regular MBA will not see serious competition in the immediate years to come and will be ‘the wiser thing’ to do for the aspirants as MBA-exposure= distance learning MBA, which obviously won’t give the bang for the buck and time invested by the aspirants.
Contributed by Sthita Sahu