Flexibility Is Central To Online MBA Program: Prof R Prasad, ICFAI

In an exclusive interaction with BW Education, Prof R Prasad, Director - Academic Wing, ICFAI Group, elaborates on online MBA versus and full-time MBA. Excerpts:

What are the most notable differences between an online MBA versus a full-time MBA?

The full-time campus MBA program and the fully online MBA program are designed for two different target audiences.

A full-time MBA program requires physical presence at the campus and perhaps even a hostel stay for the duration of the two-year program. In India, it is typically done largely by fresh graduates with some having a work experience of 1 to two years. The fully online MBA program can be done from wherever one is located without ever having to visit the campus. It is typically done by the working executive or business person.

The learning space in a full-time MBA program is dominated by the classroom. The online MBA Program is designed for asynchronous learning with multiple learning spaces based on the inclination of the learner. One of them is the virtual classroom which provides synchronous learning. Various increases the possibility for various forms of learning such as work-based learning, active learning and peer learning apart from faculty-led learning.

Scheduled learning is the hallmark of a campus program while flexibility is central to a fully online MBA program.

Seats in reputed full time programs are limited and can be obtained through highly competitive exams such as CAT. This restriction does not apply for the fully online MBA program from reputed institutions as many more seats are sanctioned and candidates have to meet the criteria for admission.

Is there an ideal candidate or targeted group this course is aimed at or can specifically benefit?

The fully online MBA program is most useful for working executives. It is uniquely designed to provide advantages to those with work experience. Work experience and networks are a huge asset for the MBA Program offered by ICFAI Online. Learners can enhance their learning outcomes faster and simpler. The pedagogy and the assessment in the program are designed for such enhancement.

Those who are not working, can either draw from their previous experience or will need to do fieldwork, market studies, internships, projects, interviews etc. as equivalent for work experience.

How do you ensure skilling through an online degree?

Employability for an MBA is a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies for a given role in an organisation. Relevance and specificity for the function and role are critical. It is not universal. Consequently, the design of the program is nuanced to allow for such context.

For an MBA such competencies are built through various types of learning such as active learning, work-based learning, project-based learning, peer learning etc. The pedagogy and assessment provide space for these in every course. Learners have choices of the type of learning in these that they would want to depend on.

What kind of accreditation would this course have? And would it be globally recognised?

The University Grants Commission has entitled the university to offer the Online MBA Program based on its NAAC accreditation which is A++. Very few institutions in the country have a NAAC A++ accreditation and offer such a program. The program is also approved by the All India Council of Technical Education. The regular MBA program is accredited by the AACSB a global organisation.

What makes this online course stand out among online degrees offered by edtechs or management institutes?

There are many. Let me highlight four aspects here:

- Online MBA program offered by ICFAI Online is personalised. This is a new design approach used

- The level of faculty guidance and support is significantly higher compared to other such online programs

- The program is driven by the micro-case methodology used throughout the program. Learners are led through story-based learning which they can enjoy.

- The flexibility offered for learners in learning and assessment is highly differentiated in content, pedagogy and assessment.

What kind of specialisations are offered within the course? Or can be pursued following this degree?

The Online MBA program uses the unique Cafeteria approach. This means that the learner can opt for a combination from a variety of specialisations in the areas of Finance, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Information Technology and Operations. They can also opt from authorised platforms like SWAYAM.

In a multidisciplinary world, this gives the learner a unique edge as they can make choices based on their background and career intent.

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