Sunday, July 02, 2006

Correspondence and MBA

During the course of many interviews, I have come across candidates who say that they have a "correspondence MBA" and therefore they should be given weightage for it. I personally believe that, simply put, a correspondence MBA is useless. Correspondence accounting courses, technical courses and even economics courses are ok, but a correspondence MBA course, definitely not.

An MBA is not about mugging a few theories and appearing for an exam. Many students, especially the ones who go to tier II and tier III MBAs view the MBA as just another course, or as I often put it, "Advanced BCom". In many of the MBA colleges under Bombay university, professors offer tuitions (and there is demand) for some of the "tough" subjects. Whats next? "21 most expected question paper sets for MBAs"?

An MBA is not about Accounting, Costing, Marketing and Operations Research papers. It is about being able to learn concepts and applying them. So, you spend time learning these concepts in your classes and you apply them through your case studies, the projects you take up and the internship that you do during your summer months.

The other thing that a good MBA course teaches is "you are not the only one who is smart". Put in a class of 60 odd people from varied backgrounds - including ones with experience, without experience, military experience, bureaucracy experience and varied educational and social backgrounds - and what you get is a sheer intellectual buffet. In a case study, you would think you have covered all angles when a team blows you with another 30 different angles.

The MBA is also a race against time. You are expected to complete 3 or 8 different case studies within 24 hours. How do you do it? Time management, planning are things that really, cannot be taught beyond a certain point. You got to pick up skills as you go along.

It is about team work. For the individual contributor - or those who can never work in a team, it is about being able to work with a team. For the rest, it is about being able to work on your strengths or being able to reduce your weakness by trying something you have never tried. Thus, in a group case study, you would try to reduce your fear of econometrics by trying your hand in the mathematical part of the study or use some bodys econometrics skill to bolster your argument. It is essential that you do both, not just one.

A correspondence teaches you very little. It prescribes a few books and offers you some notes. Yes, it does involve committment of time, but really not as much as the other options and then again, it is devoid of interactions with other teams or professors.

Unfortunately just reading a few courses and mouthing a few jargons is simply not enough for an MBA (though you can argue that most MBAs at the end are reduced to only that).

At the end of it my simple advice. If at all, you want an MBA and you cannot take a two year full time course, look at a one year MBA or a part time MBA. Part time MBAs (that demand a fair time while you are working) are tough. I would go so far as saying, it is tougher than a regular full time course. Usually the people who enrol for a part time course or a one year executive MBA are very committed and it does make for a wonderful experience. This is what I have gathered from some of my friends who have taken/taking the 3 years part time course at IIMB.


vijayakumar said...


Your inputs on this MBA correspondence degree is perfectly right...

But, guys like me, who already in a job needs MCA or some degree means what could be the options...

just need a suggestion......

thanks & regards


Anonymous said...

What is your opinion about the Twinning MBA programme at Christ College from Pondicharry University(Directorate of Distance Education) .

They have classes of 2 hours each Every Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday . Its a 2 Year MBA .

Anonymous said...

I have some reservations about doin part time MBA ,Firstly I can't attend the evening classes and in some cases even if I can the courses cost a bomb!
So I have decided to do a PG course for 2 years offering a dual specialization and SAP r/3 is this a sound plan
Do advice me since I m not rich and have limited resources .

Anonymous said...

If you have limited resources, I am not sure why you would forego two years of earnings. A part time course is the way to go for you.

Dont bother with the SAP specialization, any company which hires you will give that. Learn an additional thing like marketing or operations or some such subject.

kiran said...

I'm working in a software MNC for the past 4 months.Actually,i feel i'm much better in the management rather than mere coding.I'm really interested in pursuing an correspondence mba as i do not want
to leave this company.I'm in a dilema now.Please advice me what to do.To take a correspondence right now or wait for two years to gain some expirence or to take a part time?Please suggest me the good universities also.

shashidhar said...

I completed my B,Tech(textile Technology)last june, and i joined a Textile company in karnataka where am technically assisting our vice president(operations).He is very experienced & intelligent person.Am intending to go MBA in OPERATIONS MNGMT,but i don`t want to leave my current profile right now.earlier i was thinking to go for Correspondence but after listening to my cousin`s advice and ur advice i think its better to go for regular MBA.I am in a dilema that when shall join for regular MBA either after geting 2 years experience or you prefer me to go now itself.Kindly advice me

Neelakantan said...

wait it out. gain experience here for 2 years and then do an MBA. it is more worth it that way...

amrita said...

i am currently pursuing MBA, as a regular course but apparantly i am unable to develop interest in it.I graduated in BCA. i still feel like doing coding,shall i go for MCA after this?if yes,what sort of jobs will i get with both the MBA and MCA qualifications?Please suggest.

Anonymous said...

your thinking is absolutely correct, but if you are looking at case studies and practical studies like internship, you can choose ICFAI. in fact if you require more details you can contact on Mr. Karthik from Bangalore on 9986034285.

Neelakantan said...

i have received lots of questions about this, please drop me a mail and i will try my best to answer your queries.

Neelakantan said...

amrita, an mba really, is not for everyone. it is not your "advanced bcom" course. dont collect degrees; think before you sign up for a course like this. it is a waste of two years time and then another two for mca and a lot of disillusionment in between. Dont worry, either way, there will be enough jobs out there.

sumith said...

well wat has been said above is absolutely rue but i would like to put forward one question. is a 1 year MBA programme or a 2 year MBA programme more recognised. i wolu like to take up some correspondence course. i am a BE(ECE) graduate so pl suggest me some courses that wolud suit me. i am interested in HRM also. pl tell me which is a wise act. takin up a MBA degree or a MCA degree(both thru corres.)? pl inform me thru my mob num.

Anonymous said...

Dear Neelakantan,
You are right in theory but still your implementation is poor. U r still to learn that people around could be smarter than you. You are right Just MBA correspondance is not enough. But MBA correspondance with job experience wroths. My be not in eyes of few ppl, but for me it worths as working 10-12 hrs for earning bread for oneself and the family and then putting effort shows the degree of dedication. Learning the case studies and being a part of actual case is a different horizion of learning experience. Think over it.

karthik said...

hey ppl i am karthik working in a finance company i want to my mba as a part time or by attending weekend classes plz can anyone suggest me some good college

Miti said...


I completely agree with your views on an MBA, and what it stands for..
For example, Im thinking of doing an MBA-Finance, but I know in terms of book knowledge it wont do much for me, since Im already doing CA. What it will help in is looking at all that knowledge at a practical level. And Very importantly, like you said, its the exposure that you get, which changes your perspective completely. I think being at a good B-School is like going to a Fnishing School. You learn to deal with what will come next in the proper manner.


P.S. - I REALLY like some of the other posts too. I discovered your blog only a couple of days ago, and I cant wait to go through most of it! The blog is so varied in its content, and refreshing in its thoughts. Two thumbs up for your efforts!

Neelakantan said...

Thanks Miti...

Manoj Pachouri said...

Dear Neelakantan

I want to differ from your point that "Correspondence MBAs are useless".

Let me introduce myself first. I have myself done MBA in regular mode from ICFAI Bangalore and got campus placement in Oracle. I have worked as software developer and project manager in IT industry before joining the MBA.

I agree that full time MBA is having an edge over correspondence or distance mode but again it depends on the student also. If someone got good opportunity in graduation to work for a good company and after 3 – 4 years s/he decides to go for a management course, what would be better for them? Going back to a B or C grade college in full time mode or going for correspondence MBA without losing out on 2 years of work exp and salary? I purposefully told B or C grade as not more than 2000 students are taken by A grade MBA colleges. It is my own experience that you can learn better management by practicing it during work and not by interacting with faculties or students during case studies or mock sessions. Most of the faculties (yes I am including grade A colleges also) are ones who have taken VRS from their job because either they could not handle work pressure of work or they were simply not competent enough to be promoted to top management. What can somebody learn from a faculty like this who might have a corporate experience of 25 years.

I know many students from IIM-A also (as we have family business in Ahmedabad) who spoiled their career as they got rusticated from college. It is also a very hard truth that most of the MBA students in full time mode are freshers just out of their graduate colleges. These fresh breed of so called Managers spend most of their college time in extra curricular activities or loitering with friends/ girlfriends.

Regarding time management also, yes we had to submit many assignments, projects and presentations at same time which teaches us time management but again correspondence MBA students are working harder than full time students as they have to manage their house hold responsibilities, job responsibilities and manage time to study also. This is not as easy as it looks but I have seen people managing all these things bravely. And when such people clear their MBAs (yes... correspondence) already having some prior work experience, they are the ones who contribute most in their organizations.

I am open for any feedback. you can reach me at..

Manoj Banshilal Pachouri
Bangalore, India
+91 98862 88806

Anonymous said...

Dear Manoj,

I went through the comments that everyone posted here, and even yours!I graduated in 2004 in Bachelors of Computer Applications.I secured 49.7% in my graduation coz of which I couldnt enter into any full-time courses available. Hence I took up MBA-Correspondence from Sikkim Manipal University and finished with first class in 2006. I am working since 3years. Because of the fact that Correspondence courses are not given much weightage, I was re-thinking about the possibility of going for a full-time course. I'm not able to decide upon this. Should I continue working and add on to my experience or leave job and take up a Full-time course. Based on my graduation marks, I dont hope to get in A or B grade schools. Kindly guide.
Thank you in anticipation.

Anonymous said...

To know about distance MBA from various institutes check

Manoj Pachouri said...

Dear Anonymous

Please continue your correspondence and job. there is no point in going for stars and then falling down risking your career. We should understand that everybody can not get into IIMs or Harvards. Be realistic and practical. Your work experience will add value to your career and Correspondence MBA will give you lead in your appraisals and promotions.

With Best Regards

Manoj Banshilal Pachouri
Bangalore, India
+91 98862 88806

"Should I continue working and add on to my experience or leave job and take up a Full-time course. Based on my graduation marks, I dont hope to get in A or B grade schools. Kindly guide."

nijesh said...

hi sir,

My name is nijesh, working as an accountant & admin in a pvt company i want to do MBA. my financial background is not good, but i want to do MBA but i will not get any financial support to reach my dream, so i wanted to do MBA in correspondence but you & many of them telling that MBA should do in regular classes only. so what can i do, pls guide me sir.

Anonymous said...


i made a single mistale in life, i scored poorly in my, so no chance in MBAs. As most of the colleges even don't allow us to compete even though all other academic records are good.I don't know if it is fair or not in this democracy but i worked hard in IT companies & BPOs.
i want to go for MBA correspondence. my options are operations/hr. I want to stick back to the bpo .am i going right?

Anonymous said...

neelakantan's opinion is what's useless here. education is what you make it.

Anonymous said...

btw, 3 or 8 case studies in 24hours? WTF is he talking about? Sounds like he hasn't got a god damn clue.

Neelakantan said...

Anon uncle, shouting louder does no good. Look at the industry and figure out for yourself.

Education, indeed is what you make of it, but thats for later. First you need an open mind. If you dont have it everything else is useless.

I will reiterate. Go for a part time MBA rather than correspondence.

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vpp said...

hello everyone.... i am in BTech(final year).. ihave been recruited by NTPC..i want to do MBA ASAP.. but the company allows only after 5 i think i would not be able to do so if i wait for company's approval.. so should i opt for correspondance MBA..if yes please suggest a good instiute to do MBA in operation research..

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Gautham Shashangan said...

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vivek thakur said...

thanks for providing such a useful information. Can you please let me know the best college for Correspondence MBA course.