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Online Executive MBA: Pros & Cons

Not sure whether to do your Executive MBA online or on campus? MIP's Maria Carulli walks through the pros and cons of the Online Executive MBA


By  Bethany Garner

Tue Mar 17 2020

Should I do an online or on-campus Executive MBA?

Dear BusinessBecause,

I want to do an EMBA, and am currently weighing up my options. 

What are the pros and cons of an on-campus versus an online Executive MBA program? Will I get as much out of an EMBA with less time in the physical classroom?

This Week's Applicant Question was submitted by an anonymous reader.

The Answer

This week's Applicant Question is answered by Maria Carulli, head of admissions for the International Executive Masters at MIP Politecnico di Milano.

At MIP Politecnico di Milano, we like to say that we have one Executive MBA that is taught in different formats, to suit the diversified needs of our students. 

This also applies to the distance learning EMBA that we have, which can definitely be considered an Executive MBA, it is just taught via our digital learning platforms. 

Concerns about online programs

Though one may think that the main disadvantage of the online EMBA is the lack of the sense of belonging to a class, and as a consequence the reduced possibility for networking—as compared to more traditional EMBAs—this is not what our online EMBA students tell us.

We think that students on the online program are the ones who can best share what attending an online EMBA really means. 

That is why I would like to mention the story of Elivar, one of our students from Albania, whom I met at the very beginning of her search for EMBAs and was quite skeptical about our International Flex EMBA (the name of our distance learning EMBA). 

I quote: “There is is prejudice towards online studying, based on the fact that learning isn’t just an intellectual activity, but a social one. That was my concern too, when I first decided to register for an international online EMBA program,” she explained.

Got a Question of your own?


Advantages of an online EMBA

Since starting the program, though, Elivar has turned out to be one of our most enthusiastic School Ambassadors, and has even become an Ambassor for the International Flex EMBA. 

In particular, she stresses the fact that the way we carry out our work today is mainly remotely, and therefore the online platform of our distance learning EMBA, to quote her again, “was the best opportunity for me to recognize how to communicate, interact and socialize with people online and learn how to enlarge my professional network through digital means of communication."

Generally speaking, our educational offer is now mostly available through smart learning, as our school strongly believes in digital technologies as knowledge enablers. 

We started our ‘digital revoution’ back in 2014 with the first edition of our Flex EMBA, and our International Flex EMBA is now among the top 10 in the world according to the latest ranking of online MBAs by the Financial Times.

This has the very simple objective of giving our students the guarantee that, no matter which format they choose, they are choosing an EMBA that will bring them invaluable knowledge and, perhaps even more importantly, a new mindset.

Who is an online EMBA for?

I would like to conclude by saying that, eventually, there are no pros and cons in absolute terms with regard to a format, but there may be pros and cons of a format with respect to one’s own situation: 'do I travel a lot?', 'is my agenda unpredictable?' 

If the answers to these questions is ‘yes’ then the only program is the distance learning MBA, and the very reason why it has been designed.

Ask an Admissions Expert a Question

Next week, you'll have the chance to ask Frank Fletcher, senior director of MBA programs at the University of San Francisco, anything you like about getting into business school. fa46c03565be4ae555cd96e195c7ff2adee253d8.png

Frank has overseen the MBA programs at San Francisco for over four years, and prior to this he acted in a range of marketing, recruitment, and admissions roles with other top business schools from Vlerick to Fordham.

Frank himself holds an MBA from Fordham' University's Gabelli School of Business.

Student Reviews

Polimi Graduate School of Management





Great technology competences related to the financial world

The program offers great technological and concrete competencies of the technology applied to the financial sector. Students are highly motivated and fun to be around. The courses are highly linked to innovative and forward-looking topics and deliver great career prospects.




On Campus

Master in FinTech

Mip is a very organised school, the program of the Fintech master is really interesting and covers a lot of useful fields. I believe the Carrer Development Center and the network of companies the school has is one of the best features of this master. Suggested if u are interested in finance technologies and the interaction between them.





MIP Politecnico di Milano was totally a gamechanger for me, I learned a lot and the exposure I got while studying here was unlimited. This university is very flexible and student friendly, the professors are highly qualified and are devoted to their work. The best part about this university is that if you have free time in your course, you can sit for other courses as well of your choices, being a civil engineer I always had affinity towards design, as I got a weeks off from my course I used to attend design lectures with other batches. This was really helpful to me.