Online MBAs vs. On-Campus MBAs: 4 Key Differences

An online MBA refers to a program that allows you to do your masters at whichever place you want and when you wish whereas an on-campus one refers to one of MBA programs that need you to attend certain lectures at a given time.  These are two totally different things in various aspects. Let’s look at how they differ in the following ways: 

Key Difference # 1: Distance

One significant benefit of an online MBA is the flexibility that it offers. Doing your MBA online gives you freedom to choose where you want to study from and at what time no matter how far you are. You don’t need to be around or live near your university for you to study when doing an online MBA.   An on-campus MBA, on the other hand, is less flexible. Why? With this one, you’re needed to attend all your scheduled classes for you to get assignments and sit for your exams. You, therefore, have to live near the university to study with this program. You are, therefore, supposed to attend lectures at a time that has already been set for you, which could inconvenience you if you had other plans to take care of at that same time. 

Key Difference # 2: Affordability

Continuing with education can be overwhelming at times because it can be costly sometimes. However, you can deal with that by taking an online MBA. An online MBA does not need any physical space, and that’s why it is relatively cheaper. Additionally, a student taking an online MBA doesn’t have to spend money on transport going to school every day hence helping him or her save money which could help in paying fees for the next semester. Therefore, in many ways, an online MBA gives you a chance to continue with your education at a cheaper cost.  Taking an on-campus MBA tends to be more costly as you have to pay for more tuition fee compared to an online MBA. Also, the living cost is expensive when taking an on-campus MBA as it involves a lot of expenses like traveling to and from school every single day. 

Key Difference # 3: Quality

An online MBA allows you to choose where you want to study. Therefore, it gives you the chance to decide which university you wish to enroll to, and ensure you get the quality of education you want.   However, you can also end up not getting such a quality MBA degree as you expected due to the excess freedom given, which means that no one is making follow-ups on your progress like an on-campus course. How? Studying online can result in you thinking you have a lot of time to study at your own pace, which then leads to procrastination, especially if you’re also working, which might lead to failure.  An on-campus course ensures you follow a program and get support and encouragement from classmates and lecturers, which can lead you to always stay active. This support can lead to one getting a better-quality MBA degree. However, it all depends with an individual. 

Key Difference # 4: Diversity

Online MBA programs are diverse in that they bring millions of people from different parts of the planet together to get online education. Students enrolling for an online MBA get a chance to register themselves in universities that are miles away from them and get an opportunity to be part of those schools and be their students even though online.   On-campus programs, on the other hand, most of the times, enroll people belonging to a certain age bracket mainly because the admission criteria is based on previous examination results. Therefore, being an older person who is maybe working and haven’t had a chance to complete your MBA, you might get yourself not getting a chance and have no choice but to enroll in an online MBA.  An online MBA is more diverse in that it enrolls people from different age groups and in different stages of life. 


If planning to take an MBA, consider the above factors before deciding which program is best for you as what could be suitable for one person might not work for another. It is therefore crucial that you also consider some factors like your job if you are working. Taking an online MBA when working can be your best choice.   On the contrary, if you’re not working and want to take an MBA, you should consider enrolling in an on-campus program as it will help you make the most out of your time as you live near the university.

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