Online MBA: A New Wave

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Online management programmes have shown a great response among companies. While more and more companies want their executives to take up an online MBA because of the time factor, many institutes such as Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland, Indian Institute of Management, IIM-C, UNC Kenan Flagler Business School and U21 Global have found this market tremendously attractive and full of potential.

A few months ago, Taj Hotels joined hands with hospitality institute in Swiss with a name Glion Institute of Higher Education for online education of their managerial employees. Twenty-five middle and senior level managers were part of the online MBA programme in hospitality management. The cost of Rs 19 lakh approx. per student for the course was fully sponsored by Taj. Anouk Tenten, Glion Online partnership manager, explained that companies prefer online courses to traditional classroom based courses because the institute’s 100 per cent online programme combines core management theory with applied industry knowledge, to deliver everything one would expect from a challenging on campus programme in a flexible, yet interactive, online format. The diverse student body enrolled in Glion online programmes boasts of representatives from over 60 countries. There are also several individuals from Indian service sector firms pursuing the online MBA programme with Glion.

IIM-C offers satellite based, long duration certificate programmes through the Hughes and NIIT Imperia platforms. Ashok Banerjee, dean of new initiatives and external relations, IIM-C, said that this mode of executive education has attracted a large number of participants, mainly due to the flexibility that it offers. Over the years, a steady increase has been witnessed in the number of these programmes as well as participants. Most of these long-duration satellite-based programmes at IIM-C are open programmes where participants from various companies can join. Organisations either nominate participants for the open programmes or request IIM-C for customised programmes specific to the needs of their organisations. The programme duration ranges from six months to one year. Participants login for the classes from various locations (Hughes and NIIT Imperia centers) across the country.

U21 Global is entirely based on online mode. It offers postgraduate programmes, and has big expansion plans. The graduate school is in close partnership and collaboration with four prestigious partner universities naming University of Birmingham, University of Melbourne, University of Nottingham and University of Virginia. U21Global has successfully enrolled students from 72 countries around the world. It also established a new division, Global Learning Services (GLS) which collaborates with institutions and corporations that wish to take advantage of the rising opportunities in online education, such as the development of online programmes and courses, but might lack the necessary resources, knowledge and expertise.

Experts say the market potential for online learning services is huge. The e-learning market globally will be a whopping Rs 2.5 lakh crore by 2014. Now that Indian companies across sectors are cutting costs on overseas trips for education of employees, we can only see more online education providers entering the Indian market as mentioned  by an education sector expert.