What are the different types of MBA programs in India?

We can classify the MBA programs on the basis of tenure (one-year or two-year) or on the basis of specialization.

Most of the MBA institutes in India offer two-year full time programs.  The IIMs and other autonomous business schools offer a post-graduate diploma in management (PGDM) or Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) which in India are equivalent to an MBA degree. Autonomous business schools can offer only PGDM or PGPM, whereas an MBA can be awarded only by a university, in two-year full-time program. The syllabi of the PGDM/PGPM and MBA degrees are similar, although the PGDM/PGPM is more industry-oriented.

The first year of a two-year MBA program is generic in nature where the students get cross-functional exposure and attain working knowledge of all management functions. Between the first and the second year, there is a two-month internship, where the students get to apply the principles of management they have learnt so far. The final (second) year is all about specializing in one (or two) function(s). There are five main specializations that are offered by almost all MBA institutes. They are Marketing, Finance, Human Resource Development, Operations Management and Information Technology. To specialize in an area, a student must take a minimum number of elective course credits offered in that area. Specialized MBA institutes offer some specialized options too. To take an example, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) provides specialized MBA in International Business. While doing an MBA program, the specialization should be chosen on the basis of interest rather than on the basis of the availability of jobs and the lucrativeness of the pay packages.

The one-year MBA program is a condensed variation of the full-time MBA and hence has a more rigorous schedule than its two-year cousin. This program allows you to bypass core classes and immediate dive into advanced studies that are directly correlated to your career goals.  These MBA course allows you to complete the degree in half the time. The one-year MBA applicants are generally 2-10 years older and more experienced than those who apply for two-year program. However, they are as eager as the freshers for a career change or vertical growth.

Then there are other options for those who cannot pursue MBA full-time because of time constraints.  An “Accelerated MBA” program is the best option for working professionals. Classes are held only on weekends or on weekdays after working hours. Such a program usually lasts 3 years or more. Executive MBA programs are specially designed for executives with a good number of years of work experience under their belt. Online MBA programs are gradually becoming popular and they will find an increasing number of takers with increasing penetration of broadband. Such programs work on “anytime–anywhere learning” model and provide pre-recorded and/or live lectures by eminent faculty and industry experts which can be accessed through tablets or even smartphones. They certainly are convenient to take up. However, they do not, as of now, have industry endorsement. Perhaps the lack of peer learning is holding their industry viability down for now.

There is no denying the fact that the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) will someday take the world by storm and democratize learning, unshackling it from location, cost and time constraints. A MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions between students, professors, and teaching assistants.

So, the big question – once you have made up your mind, which course should you take up? The answer is simple – the most sought after professional course in India is the two-year MBA program. Consider taking it up and try to get it from one of the top 20 institutes of India. If you already have more than 4 years of work-experience, you can consider a one-year program. However, there are very few reputed one-year programs in India (ISB’s PGP & IIM Ahmedabad’s PGPX are the best two).

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