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Distance Learning MBA UK

Distance Learning MBA UK

Can I do a Distance Learning MBA in the UK ?

The growing dominance of distance learning in the market for MBAs was illustrated quite clearly in August 2003 when the Open University Business School (OUBS) decided to cut the minimum time that it is possible to get its MBA in. Considering OUBS provides the most holders of the MBA than any business school in the UK this was big news for the distance learning MBA market.

It used to be seen as a second class option for students, but at OUBS and Henley Management College , distance learning MBAs are a major part of their offering. More importantly, both of these business schools offer MBAs that are recognized by all of the major accrediting bodies. The number of people studying for a distance learning MBA in the UK is going up faster than the rate for any other mode of delivery for the MBA. In 1999 there were 2,938 applications for a distance learning MBA from UK-based students. By 2001, the Association of MBAs said there were 3,250.


This is remarkable, but the increase in overseas students applying to distance learning MBA courses in the UK is even more so. In 1999 there were 3,571 applications and by 2001 it was 5.638, which is a rise of 57.8% in just two years. By the summer of 2003, 6,500 students were on the Henley Management College MBA programme, with two thirds of them studying it from overseas, and OUBS had 8,015, with two thirds of them coming from the UK .

This mix of home and overseas students is actually quite unique. Full-time MBA courses in the UK tend to consist of more overseas students than home based students, in particular at the more prestigious institutions. Meanwhile, part-time courses, particularly at the non-accredited business schools, are dominated by home based students.

When OUBS reduced it's minimum it allowed students to complete their degree in two and a half years instead of three years with this new acceleration coming into effect for students commencing the course in November. Henley Management College students can already do the course in two and a half years, but should make sure that they can find enough time to complete their studies on top of their work and home life. An MBA course takes something like 1200 hours to complete, and this includes the dissertation.

OUBS and Henley both point out that a distance learning MBA must be properly supported. The business schools need to be proactive in their support for students and have good systems in place along with personal tutors who can identify difficulties that students are having and address their queries. Otherwise, completion rates and progression will be poor.

The more progressive business schools in the UK are developing distance learning courses too.