'Masters of Business Administration' (M.B.A) is the most sought after educational qualification in India. It is important to understand at the outset that M.B.A program can only be offered by universities in India. All other institutions can only offer diploma programs in management which is popularly known as PGDBA (Post Graduate Program in Business Administration). At some places the program offered by the university is also know as MMS ( Master of Management Studies).

The importance of the program can be understood from the fact that even students of leading educational institutions like IITs also want to do this program to enhance their career prospects. Over a period of time, institutions offering management programs have mushroomed in India. The M.B.A./MMS/PGDBA programs are offered through two routes: 1) Regular or full time program and 2) Part Time program through class room teaching ( mostly done in evening on weekdays and during the day time during weekends) or correspondence. While some students are lucky to do full time program, many students are not able to pursue full time program and take up management studies only after they start working. Looking at the need for part time programs, many institutions offer part time program.

The most important question that a student faces is how to select a good institution to pursue part time program. While it is possible to identify institutions of repute for full time program, it is not possible to do so for part time program. Many magazines and periodicals evaluate business management colleges and publish rankings from time to time. However, for part time colleges, no such ranking is available. This makes task of a prospective student difficult on how to select a good management college to pursue his ambition.

A student desirous of pursuing management program should look at the following aspects of part time MBA program:

1) Is the program offered recognized by UGC, AICTE or DEC? Some of the programs are good even though not recognized by these institutions. However, such programs are offered by only select and leading management colleges like IIMs. Basically this aspect will help a student identify worthiness of an autonomous program. In some of cases of exceptions, this aspect can be ignored. For instance, if the company in which you work finances a particular management program you can overlook this aspect.

2) Look at the syllabus of the program. This is very critical and shows the richness of the program in terms of content. Also a student needs to look at how relevant is the syllabus? Has it been updated? Does it cover relevant subjects in context of the changing world scenarios? Please note that part time program is very critical for knowledge enhancement and hence content of syllabus is extremely important.

3) Look at the faculty profile. Teaching in part time program is done by part time faculties who have relevant industry experience. The profile of faculty gives an insight into the delivery aspect of the program. Interaction with faculties from industry helps in better understanding.

4) Look at the infrastructure in terms of library facility, research documents available, simulation labs and internet facilities.

5) Most of the part time colleges don't offer placements. Hence this aspect can be ignored. However, if any placement assistance is provided by a college, it is an added advantage.

6) Look at the system of evaluation that a college follows. It should be more of presentation based, should cover case studies and be focused on problem solving. Theory based teaching won't make much of sense for a person who has work experience.

7) Last but not the least, look at the fees. This is where you get value for money. Evaluate all the above six criteria with fees and you will be able to find out the value in the course.

It is extremely important to note that a correspondence program in management should be avoided to the extent possible. You will miss many aspects of interaction that you get in part time MBA program.

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