After having decided to go for an MBA degree finally, there is an impending problem which affects many aspirants – whether to do an MBA online or opt for a full-time on-campus program. Howsoever much this question may be confusing. It is imperative to carefully decide the right choice which suits your needs and aspirations.

Almost a decade ago, pursuing an MBA degree was synonymous to joining a good college for an on-campus program. But with improvements in technology and more access to learning resources and alumni networks, the options currently available have changed the face of this scenario. They have made the online MBA degree more convenient and appealing than ever before.

More and more lucrative options are being made available with modifications and innovations to cater to the needs of a diverse group of MBA aspirants. This has increased the popularity and demand of online programs manifold over the past few years, and more students can be now seen going with an online program as the course of their choice.

Why is this trend increasingly being observed in recent times?

Well, the most plausible answer to this would be the accessibility that online programs have to offer. They open the possibility of being able to effectively handle the delicate balance between personal and professional life, while also advancing up your career ladder. Many people have a secure job at hand which they would not be willing to leave. Others may have issues with relocations or traveling. Many may also have social commitments like looking after a family, especially kids and elders. An online MBA program looks over the need to bypass any of these commitments, and one can easily access the classes, assignments, and tests from the comfort of their homes, as and when required.

Another thing which follows is the flexibility that these programs have to offer. Unlike their on-campus counterparts, the online programs offer a choice between both synchronous and asynchronous formats. While the synchronous one allows you to experience the classroom discussions in real time, the asynchronous format is one where you can browse the lectures and study materials at a convenient hour – after coming home from your day job, or after the kids are in bed, as the case may be.

Online programs also offer the chance to have all the necessary study materials at your fingertips, which means that you no longer have to beg your peers for class notes, or even worry about misplaced or lost study materials. You can participate in classroom discussions and stand a greater likelihood of being ‘seen or heard’.

Another advantage of online programs worth mentioning is the time scale in which you can opt to complete the course. While a regular on-campus course may compel you to complete the curriculum in two years, an online course may have an option of completing the course in three or maybe up to five years, by having your say over the number of credits you want to complete over a particular term. This proves to be highly efficient – both in terms of time and associated costs.

But for people who think that an online course is a shortcut to earning an MBA degree, they might want to get their facts right. An online program presents the same (if not lesser) academic rigor as compared to a traditional offline course. Just that the coursework is tailored according to an online platform.

Also, an online course can never expose you to the cultural and academic diversity you would experience in a full-time course on a campus. You would also miss the ‘fun’ a college campus has to offer, along with the competitions, guest lectures, seminars and festivals that come with it.

The best way to go about it is first to analyze your aspirations, and your expectations from an MBA degree, keeping in mind any commitments that you might be having. And then carefully choose the best option that is ideally suited to your needs.