Get a top-rated Mini-MBA Certificate for $199 $29 (Limited time offer)

MBA programs that accept correspondence courses & distance education degrees

Apart from the regular pre-requisites (GMAT score, MBA essays, recommendations, TOEFL score) listed in the MBA applications guideline pages of many top business schools, if you’ve paid attention to the academic requirements section, you’ll find something on the following lines – a degree from a recognised university, transcripts that mention the grades / performance (GPA, CGPA or percentage). This may suffice for most applicants, but there’s generally nothing that specifically mentions about how they treat MBA applicants who have completed their undergrad degree through distance education or correspondence courses in India.

Check out what a few of the top b-schools have to say on their website:

Harvard Business School expects the ‘equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution’. For those who’ve graduated from international universities, their definition of ‘valid equivalents’ includes three-year baccalaureate degrees.

INSEAD wants applicants to submit transcripts that indicate the ‘diploma and grades achieved from each college or university’ attended and the authenticity of the transcript to be confirmed with the ‘official seal and signature of the institution’.

Columbia Business School is happy to receive a ‘bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution’ that you’ve attended as a ‘registered student’.

Wharton accepts transcripts showing the academic work at the ‘baccalaureate/undergraduate level and beyond, whether or not for credit or a degree’.

What’s common across these descriptions is that their stand on correspondence courses and distance learning degrees is pretty ambiguous.

Most MBA applicants go with the general assumption that bschools expect a full-time undergraduate degree as the pre-requisite. And that may be true for many MBA schools. But where does it leave applicants with correspondence and distance education degrees? Are they eligible at all or does their part-time education (as opposed to full-time, classroom based degrees) knock them out of the race?

One of the MBA applicants approached us offline for advice. As an entrepreneur, he had done well in business. He also seemed really passionate about pursuing an international degree. However he had a double hurdle to cross. Apart from a correspondence degree, he also had a low GMAT score.

We confessed that our knowledge on this topic was limited (no shame in admitting it rather than taking folks on a wild-goose chase!). We suggested that he reach out to universities where his profile was closer to the class average to check directly if they would accept his application.

Some MBA colleges responded back saying they accept correspondence degrees. The applicant shared the list with us and we in turn thought it might be helpful to share it with MBA Crystal Ball readers who are in a similar situation. We haven’t re-verified this list independently, so use it only as a starting point to authenticate if these MBA programs would accept your application.

MBA programs that accept correspondence courses & distance education degrees

  • Rotman School of Management – Toronto
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management (Acquired by ASU in 2015)
  • Queens MBA – Canada
  • Daniels College of business – university of Denver
  • Price College of Business – University of Oklahoma
  • School of Management – University of Buffalo
  • College of William and Mary – Mason School of Business
  • Leeds MBA Program – University of Colorado
  • Virginia Tech Graduate Schools
  • Fordham Graduate Business School
  • Rutgers School of Business Camden
  • Rutgers School of Business, Newark and New Brunswick

Of course, for folks who have stronger profiles suited for more competitive programs, this list may not help much. But the takeaway from this exercise is that you may be able to locate MBA programs that accept applications from correspondence degree holders, even if this fact isn’t specifically mentioned on their website.

As always, instead of relying on this one factor, look at other aspects of the program as well. What is the market value of the degree and the brand? How selective is the program? What calibre of classmates can you expect?

If you have approached bschools to check whether they open the MBA admissions process to folks who have completed a correspondence degree or a distance education course, please share the name of the university and how you found this out (mentioned specifically on the website, or confirmed via email/phone).

Update: One of the applicants who read this article and went on to connect with several business schools was kind enough to share his findings with us.

In his email to the admission teams of several top MBA programs, he mentioned that he was 35 years old and had a distance degree in Bachelor of Arts from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). He asked if he would be eligible to apply. He received a positive response from the following business schools that confirmed his eligibility.

  • Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Stanford GSB
  • Kellogg School of Management
  • McCombs School of Business
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Stern Business School (NYU)
  • Ross School of Business
  • Tuck Business School
  • The Wharton School

While some were very specific in saying ‘Yes, you are eligible,‘ there were some that simply pasted a standard response about accepting 3-year bachelors degree, without getting into the specifics of distance or correspondence degrees. Berkeley Haas was the only one to highlight the fact that candidates with a distance / correspondence degree could be at a competitive disadvantage in the pool of applicants who have a 4-year bachelors degree.

What next?

When you can’t do much about your degree, focus on the other aspects that still matter – like your essays, goals, recommendations, resume, interviews. Make the admission officers appreciate what else you have to offer.

After you’ve confirmed the eligibility aspects with your target schools, if need some help in building an impactful application, send us an email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

Read this story of a candidate we helped, who got multiple admits from top business schools despite having a distance / correspondence degree.

Mini-MBA | Start here | Success stories | Reality check | Knowledgebase | Scholarships | Services

Serious about higher ed? Follow us:


Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

34 thoughts on “MBA programs that accept correspondence courses & distance education degrees”

  1. Greetings of the day, Sameer
    You are doing a wonderful helping students in need.
    I am pursuing CA and I am in the final year. I have completed 2 years of CA articleship from one of the Top 20 firms of India and have been accepted for Industrial training in a Finance Company for a period of 12 months. My CA final attempt is due next year. I have graduated in B.Com Honours from Delhi University (Correspondence) scoring 70% in the final year. Is there any top notch B-School that will accept my profile for a Masters degree or MBA?
    If yes, you are requested to give some guidance on the same.
    Thank you.

  2. Thanks a lot for the meaningful pointing. There requirement for more such helpful post.


    Prof.Prakash Bhosale | Mumbai | India |

  3. Hello Sir, i am pursuing my graduation from SWAMI VIVEKANAND SUBHARTI UNIVERSITY Meerut, through Distance Learning Mode , and i am also preparing for Management Entrance Exams (CAT, XAT, IIFT,CET etc) but due to my Correspondence Graduation , i am in a big confusion about my Eligibility for Various top B-Schools .
    As no where is mentioned the eligibility for Distance Graduation Mode, how can i compete with regular mode candidates.
    Kindly Help how could i pre-select the colleges on the basis of my graduation.

  4. What is the stance of Top B-schools around the world on the work experience that you may have acquired (full time!) while pursuing your Bachelors through correspondence? Is there a chance of it being considered equivalent to a graduate level internship or not at all? If so, is it a good idea to stress on the work exp. in your school application essay/statement of purpose? How to make it seem more important and justified on the application?

  5. @Akanksha: Read this post – Does Chartered Accountant (CA) articleship count as experience?

    @Ankur: I’m sorry, my knowledge about CAT (and other Indian entrance exam) based MBA options is very limited. Can’t be of much help here.

    @Shrey: Universities will consider it on a case by case basis to judge the quality of experience. You should definitely highlight it in the application. The ‘how’ part is something that’ll require a longer discussion.

  6. Hello, Sir

    I am pursuing English Hons. from Delhi University North Campus. Its a correspondence course of 3 years. I have done diploma of one year in International Business and thereafter I was enrolled in Delhi University so I’ll be completing my course in 2017. That would make 16 years of undergraduate education after Xiith. I have a work experience of 1 year with IBM and currently working with Barclays. So by 2017 i would be having at least 2 or more years of work experience. I am also working on scoring good GMAT and TOEFL scores.
    So I need to know that is my profile eligible to apply for a business program in USA or Canada. I can get good letter of recommendations and college essays also but I have a confusion only about the profile eligibility to apply to US or Canada Universities.

    Please enlighten me about the same.

  7. Sir,
    I am pursuing chartered accountancy and did correspondance from ignou. Is it possible to get admissions in b schools (both Indian and foreign university) with correspondence degree. Are they going to recognize certificate issued by icai for completing chartered accountancy course.

    • If you consider ISB they’ll consider your Ignou degree as eligible. As far as IIMs are concerned your CA degree alone is eligible ( if you have 55% IPCC and Final average )

  8. Hello,

    I am a grad of 2012 passout and carry 2 1/2 years of work experience, Mean while i have done a distcance PGDM course of 2 years from a B school named Xaviours school of business management in Supply chain Management and even my work expeirence is with supply chain management.

    Now to apply for some top B schools in USA they require 16 years of education, Will i be eligible in that of 16 years, if yes can you please help me with the top schools which accepts my profile under academic requirments.

    Any answer would be higly appreciated.


  9. Every one is very much busy in his/her life, and due to there job, business or any other problems. People not able to continue there regular studies. And due to advantages of distance education, now every one is able to continue there education. I am also doing distant learning.

  10. Hello,
    I have accomplished a bachelor of science in physics through distance education from Indira Gandhi Open University and I have 5yrs of experience as I am correspondence student as well as I also have a trainer experience ,..I have scored 88% in graduation so am I eligible for MBA in oxford or Cambridge or top university..and if in GMAT i score 700 or more than this,,will I get admission in Top university..???please reply..
    Thanking You…..!!

  11. sir,
    Yesterday i went for my councelling and being eager about going to USA i was in regret because as im a Bcom correspondence student from Delhi University they said i cant do my MBA from U.S because of my correspondence degree . so is there a way out of this ?? or correspondence students can actually not do mba from U.S ?????

  12. @Fuzail: Universities like Cambridge and Oxford are very strict about academic credentials and performance.

    You could try your luck with the MBA colleges listed in the blog post above and then reach out to the admissions offices of other bschools to see if they encourage you to apply.

    @The Other Folks: Pleejh read the main blog post before posting your query. We won’t be addressing redundant and very generic questions.

  13. Very interesting info Sameer.
    Do you actually know someone who got into a good college in Us/Canada with distance education background?
    Because the guy you are mentioning may not have taken admission at all.

    • Hi Sameer Sir,

      Will a full time MBA from Masters Union/IIM/ISB/a decent college abroad that accepts online degrees compensate for a correspondence bachelors at a doctoral level? will that improve my chances of getting into a Dphil in management from Oxford or a DBA in strategy from Harvard Business School?

  14. Hi!

    Since all the esteemed member institutions/universities (US or European) prefer a background in business and economics, is it possible to appease such preferences with a PG Dip/Graduate Dip in Finance or International Management ,Viz. the PGDBF or PGDIB from the Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning or Master of Financial Management from Amity Directorate of Distance and Online Education ? (The aforesaid examples are merely indicative and not exhaustive)

    I have non-business/economics background.

    N.B: Assistance regarding the possibility of “online/distance” PG Dip/Graduate Dip (Finance, Management,Insurance etc.) being recognised by the tier one B schools, is being requested, in particular.

    Further, it is a known fact that work-experience is the mother of all. Therefore reiterating the same won’t really answer the query.

  15. @Ankit: I don’t know of anyone who’s got into these programs with a correspondence or distance education certificate.

    @RequireMBA: While MBA colleges may ‘prefer’ students who are familiar with business and economics, I don’t think every university will insist on it. Many have pre-MBA courses that start a couple of weeks before the main MBA course. During this they cover the basics of economics, statistics that are important.

    I’d suggest getitng in touch with a few bschools that you are interested in and share your profiel. Ask them directly if there’s such a mandatory admissions requirements.

    It may save you the effort and money of investing in an online degree, which may not have the relevant credibility in their eyes to begin with.

  16. Hey Sameer..I m a BBA Graduate and I m planning to go for 1 year Distance Learning Post Graduate Diploma.
    So could u please tell whether distance learning diploma would work as a 16th year qualification and make my qualification equalant to U.S.A Batchelder’s Programming (for 4 years) ?

  17. Greetings,
    I am a recent graduate in Bachelors Of Mass Media that is a 3 year bachelorette degree. However as we all know that most US universities require 12+4 years of education. Therefore I intend to do 1 Year of Masters programme, however i’ll be working. Therefore will my qualifications will still be valid if I do my Masters in the form of correspondence/ distance education?


  18. Hi,

    Can you recommend me some US universities who takes Distance Learning/Correspondance Master courses for MS Finance. I have done my Master of Commerce from Mumbai University which is Correspondance Course. OR can i just show only 1st year of my Masters or i need to show both the years. I am confused if they consider the same for MS finance course. I have more than 4+ yrs of work exp in Finance.

    Need you concurrence on the same.

    Ekta Shah

  19. hi
    I am now running distance mba through sikkim manipal university this is my last semestar so i want to go canada for develop my further study. i have completed my bachlor in management from Tribhuwan university of Nepal with regular. But i am still confused what will happen to my career. Pls suggest me

    • Hello, sir
      I’m 2nd yr zoology hons. Student from an ugc certified but not naac and nirf ranking holder college.
      I’m soo eager to do mba from top B school of USA, is there any chances to get admission?? or I should join some other top university of India for bba or bca and then go for gmat and apply for USA’s B school. Plzzz….. reply ASAP I need your help…

  20. Hi,
    I am currently pursuing Chartered Accountancy and in my finals right now. Have given my final exams 3 times now and I was wondering if I can switch to an MBA program from a university abroad and then continue with CA after my MBA gets completed. I hold 3 years of articleship experience and I also hold a (correspondence) from Jammu University. I also hold a NCFM cerificate in equity derivatives. Would I be eligible for an MBA program in a recognized foreign university?

  21. Hi sir
    I am arjun, graduated in mechanical engineering and working in Mechanical domain as a project engineer in power sector. I am in thought to do distance MBA course.Which institutes are better to do distance MBA course.Is there any possibly to join Distance MBA course in IIM’s. If there is a way please tel me how can i proceed.

  22. Hi Sameer,

    I am from Pune. After engineering, I have 12 years of IT experience in technical teams. Recently, I am moved to Business Analyst role. I believe that MBA course will help me to gain better knowledge about Finance, economics, banking sector etc. I cannot leave my job and I am not interested in distance learning. Executive MBA seems to be perfect choice for me. I also hope that this degree may bring some better opportunities for me in future.
    I am thinking to go for EMBA in Symbiosis (SIMS).
    No institute offers placement assistance for EMBA. In that case, it is worth to spend 3.5 Lakhs for Symbiosis?

  23. In my view, a regular course is always good but if you’re a working professional then doing a distance course would be always better than an online course. There are so many universities who offer MBA in distance mode. The university should be UGC/AICTE recognized.

  24. hi,

    I have graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce (3 year course) from University Of Delhi in Jan 2015.
    Since all foreign universities require at least 4 years of graduate education I am currently pursuing my Masters in Commerce from IGNOU Delhi through Distance education while working. I will be completing my 1st year in Nov 2016.
    I additionally have 2 years of work experience.

    I wish to pursue MBA finance.
    I am targeting to write GRE/ GMAT this year.
    Well m not thatgood with quant or vocab, which test will be better for me: GRE or GMAT? Which is easy to score?

    Also wish to know about my eligiblity as i am doing from ignoue(distance education)

  25. Sir i have completed my BA degree from distance education . I have work experence is 6 years , but i will improve my career so i m intersted for MBA, from abroad , plz suggest me what can i do for career for improvement please tell me . Thank u .

  26. Your post was very informative, thank you but if you could help me with something; I pursued three years of B.B.A. from India and lets say i go for a diploma in Singapore for a year, would that in any way help me in getting admission into an M.B.A. in the U.S. ? Would that really count as a collective 4 years of study as eligibility?

  27. Hi Sameer
    I am glad that you discussed about issues with MBA applicants holding correspondence degrees .
    But what about MS ? Do you think universities in US accept for MS as well .Since I have done MCA+BCA from I.G.N.O.U I needed to know whether i can do MS in computer engineering
    in US.h

  28. Hi Sir,
    Please do advise that for a Public Sector bank employee (7 years+ experience) apart from GMAT score of 700+, what leadership skills could be favourable for her to stand out amongst the other applicants so as to crack Top B schools in the US and UK?


Leave a Comment