Online Vs in Person MBA: Which One is Better?

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It is common knowledge that specific courses cannot be taken except physical attendance in a classroom or school. For example, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) was one of such courses alongside Medicine and Law. However, one notable thing about life after the pandemic is the adaptive nature of humans. There was an increase in online classes in 2020, with more physical courses being taught online, including receiving an MBA. Life after and during a pandemic showed the possibility of receiving an Online MBA or a traditional MBA. Aspiring business school students can find it challenging to choose between online and on-campus schooling. For this reason, we will tackle all aspects of an online vs in person MBA to aid your decision. 

As the name implies, an Online MBA is an online master’s degree program where students encounter the same rigorous curriculum courses and are held to the same standards as their traditional counterparts. A conventional MBA route follows the regular classroom schedules with students living (possibly) on-campus and attending physical lectures. Whether in person or virtual, the benefits of receiving an MBA from a prestigious business school (such as Antai College of Economics and Management) open doors to a higher earning potential and career advancements. 

The Emergence of Online MBA

Business schools saw an increase in the number of MBA applications they received post-COVID, with most applicants favoring an online vs in person MBA. The emergence of an online vs in person MBA is due to the constant growth in the business world. There is a higher need for employees who have a business degree and business acumen to carry out work in real-time. 

The traditional MBA approach is no longer sufficient in meeting the needs of employers and prospective business students. Most traditional MBA students cannot work and simultaneously earn a degree. Employers would rather have workers who can apply their business knowledge while still working towards a degree over those who forfeit one for the other. 

The online MBA program is the ideal solution that provides employees with business education, leadership, strategy development, and quick critical skills. Students also have a more flexible arrangement that enables them to earn an MBA while working and increasing their earnings with their employers. 

Online Vs in Person MBA: What is the Difference?

When viewing an online vs in person MBA, both degrees are identical for the most part. The significant difference between both degrees is that the traditional MBA requires in-person attendance. The curriculum, rigor, and the degree awarded at the end are all similar. A big selling point for the online MBA is the possibility of students having work and school balance by taking classes remotely. An ideal online MBA candidate is a business sector professional who wants a career upgrade. Most career upgrades come at the cost of leaving current jobs, but an online MBA eliminates that. The online MBA is also for individuals with family obligations that prevent in-person class attendance. Other differences in an online vs in person MBA are:

  • Cost: a significant difference in the price of an online vs in person MBA comes from the annual room and board expenses. The average room and board cost are $10,000, while students who attend top business schools can pay $20,000. The tuition fee remains the same for both student types, but traditional students lose where online MBA students earn income while in school.
  • Admission Requirements: the admission requirements for an online vs in person MBA are about the same, except for a GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) waiver. Both degree types require a Bachelor’s degree, official transcripts, a resume, personal statement, and unique letters of recommendation. The GMAT waiver is for online MBA students, and it is dependent on the school you apply to. In exchange for the GMAT waiver, schools bank on online MBA students having experience in the business sector.
  • Accreditation: the top three accrediting bodies of an MBA program are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). 

Schools accredited by independent third-party boards show a high standard and quality of education. Even with online MBA programs for years, some employers remain skeptical. Prospective students should always check the accreditation of a school before applying.

Pros and Cons of Online Vs In Person MBA

Online MBA


  • Online MBA’s offer a flexible learning and work schedule 
  • Online MBA’s are cost-effective as students do not have to pay room and board costs
  • Online MBA students have a diminished opportunity cost. 
  • Online MBA’s can often be fast-tracked and completed within a shorter period than in-person. 
  • Online MBA students can attend prestigious institutions without having to relocate. 


  • Students are excluded from all campus activities 
  • The progress of online MBA programs is highly dependent on the internet speed and bandwidth of the students. 
  • Online MBA students are exempt from business networking events as interactions are solely online. 
  • The success of an online MBA is dependent on a student’s willpower to finish the degree rather than relying on in-person connections from faculty and other students. 

Traditional MBA


  • There are higher networking opportunities with traditional MBA’s
  • Traditional MBA students can rely on other students and faculty in person for their learning.
  • It is easier to join work-study MBA programs and internships when the students are physically present. 


  • The demanding schedule of the traditional MBA eliminates the chances of students working alongside earning the degree. 
  • Courses of a traditional MBA are scheduled, and students cannot shift it to fit their time.
  • A conventional MBA takes approximately two years to complete, which means students will be out of work for 730 days. 
  • A traditional MBA chooses GMAT scores over work experience. 

How to Choose an Online MBA Vs in Person MBA?

Because both online and traditional MBA’s offer the same quality of education, it can be challenging to choose which is the best fit for you. The last things we advise that you consider before deciding how to further your education is the following:

  • The School’s Location
  • Course Schedule
  • Family Obligations
  • Career Goals 

With these factors in perspective, it becomes easier for you to choose an online vs in person MBA. 


Antai College is a respected business school in Shanghai, China, with over 30 years of history. Its MBA program (online and in-person) is top-rated and attracts international students and Chinese locals alike. 

The foundation of ACEM’s business school is within its new curriculum style. This curriculum focuses on entrepreneurship, sound management, leadership, and the science and art of doing business (SADB). ACEM is the ideal choice to further your business career as it intends to cultivate high-quality business administrators and executives.

You may be interested in: The Pros and Cons of Getting an MBA