Working students do better in online MBA, says Jain Deemed University VC

The first batch of working students of the online MBA programme of Jain University graduating in 2023 will be equipped with skills for career growth.

Working students do better in online MBA, says Jain Deemed University VC Raj Singh, Vice Chancellor, Jain Deemed University
Pritha Roy Choudhury | Nov 18, 2022 - 3:24 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI : The first batch of students to join the online management degree programmes at Jain (Deemed-to-be) University will graduate in 2023. It offers MBA, BBA, M.Com, B.Com, MCA and MA online. Vice Chancellor Raj Singh spoke to Careers360 about the courses, how they are different from the regular MBA and why working students fare better than fresh students in online courses. Edited excerpts below.

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Q. How is the regular MBA degree different from an online one?

A. It is nearly the same, the syllabus for online and offline is also the same as far as the course-wise content and semesters are concerned because ultimately they have to qualify for the same degree under the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Q. Is there a difference in terms of student profile?

A. Sometimes, I find better students in the online degree programmes because these students have experience. In regular degrees, our average student has experience of fewer than two years and many are without any. This is the key difference. The second difference is that online students are not able to do the kind of internships which regular students can do, even though we try to make up for it and make it available on an optional basis. Those who are working can achieve the same levels of learning – or are even better at times – than regular students; they can correlate better as they are working on real-life projects. I am a product of online learning myself. Upgrading skills and career growth are possible for those who have been working. But, I would say there is a limitation for freshers.

In March 2021, universities were allowed to offer only those programmes online which they were offering in regular mode for the last many years. The reason was that these universities would have the course and curriculum and methodology developed very well in those areas.

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Q. Where do the students come from? Which states?

A. For online, we are more known in south India. So, we expect the majority of students will come from five-six southern states. For example, from Karnataka and Kerala. We have more representation from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana than other states. Online degrees have more widespread representation than offline. As far as countries are concerned, there is huge representation from Guyana; then, we have good representation from some of the African countries. In all students from 51 countries take the benefit of our programme.

Q. How many students does a teacher teach at a time? What exactly is the process followed?

A. There are 60 students or fewer in a class. And we divide the students into groups of 20 for practicals or tutorials. So, let’s say there is a theory lecture of 60 students together, but when they come for a practical or tutorial, the section will be divided into three and they’ll go into breakout rooms. One part can go for the tutorial, one part can go for a lab, and another part can go for another lab.

Q. How do you ensure industry exposure for online degree students?

A. There are various modes. For example, for computer science, we have tied up with software companies. As for people who are already working, we have introduced the concept of “post five” which involves stating how you will apply at work that you have learnt in the theory class. They need to reflect on the difference between learning and its practical application so that learning can be concretised. And this file is given some weightage. So, we convert the workplace into a laboratory.

But this is only for those who are working a full-time job. The remaining are from far-off areas. We have given them a list of projects in which they can work with the community and society and learn something hands-on and submit a report. So, the element of live projects has been introduced. But I agree, we are not able to cover many things and this is the limitation of online degrees.

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Q. Are students from online degree programmes treated the same at the time of placement?

A. This depends on the companies which recruit. As far as UGC is concerned, there is no difference between an online degree and an offline degree. But on the ground, there are many companies which don’t distinguish and there are companies which do.

It all depends on what kind of practical work they have done. For those who are working and are looking for better job opportunities, I find them almost at par with regular degrees because they can convert their workplace into laboratories. So, those who are working at whatever level are almost at the same level as regular degree programmes. Whereas students who don’t have that kind of opportunity may be at a step lower. Even with a full-time degree, there are companies with different policies. Those who want to change their job from their current workplace, are most welcome to avail of the [placement] facilities and many do avail. And when we do the campus recruitment, the students are welcome to come and participate.

Q. How do you do campus recruitment for this set of students?

A. We have a 70+ team and throughout the year, we develop relationships with the industries, with the HR heads, for project consulting and framing. We send students for internships. Many students get pre-placement offers because of the work they do during the internship. Some of the companies, more specifically the software companies, recruit students in the 100s. Students who complete their programme online, if they want to, can participate in the campus recruitment offline.

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Q. We find many of the colleges are offering internships from the very first semester. Do you offer any such programme?

A. We have offered online students an entrepreneurship course. We have created a “marketplace experience lab” which is available to all the students and alumni of JAIN. It is like Flipkart or Amazon – a student can log in with their enrolment number and password and can start the training wherein they can buy and sell. Online students have access to this too and there are lots of live projects which were created online during Covid and students work on those projects. I have thought of creating something called an “internship house” with a pool of companies to offer live projects that anybody can take and work on.

Sometimes, I find better students in the online degree programmes because these students have experience. In regular degrees, our average student has experience of fewer than two years and many are without any.

As far as UGC is concerned, there is no difference between an online degree and an offline degree. But on the ground, there are many companies which don’t distinguish and there are companies which do



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