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    What is the Difference Between MBA and PGDM? Must Read for Every MBA Aspirant!

    by BML Munjal University October 31, 2018

    One of the most difficult phases a student goes through after completing graduation is deciding on which programme to go for in further higher education.

    However, when you want to join the bandwagon of future managers, then an MBA is the best option to move forward.

    Wait, there are PGDM courses too!

    Now, what is the difference between MBA and PGDM, or is there any difference at all?

    MBA and PGDM

    Yes, of course, both are postgraduate level management courses.

    PGDM stands for Post Graduate Diploma in Management; whereas MBA is Masters in Business Administration. Both the course have different specialisations.

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    Difference between MBA and PGDM

    For all those who wish to build a career in a senior managerial position knowing the difference between these two courses in the beginning.

    Before you rush to take the entrance tests and fill the application forms for your dream institute, it is important that you get the basics sorted out.

    So, let us see MBA and PGDM up close.

    MBA vs PGDM – The Key Differences

    The foremost difference between both these courses is that – PGDM is a diploma course, while MBA is a degree course.

    Incidentally, many people have an idea that the market value of a diploma program (PGDM) does not match the level of a degree (MBA). Anyhow, that is just a notion.

    In reality, the main difference is that MBA is a degree programme conducted by Universities and colleges with affiliation to those Universities.

    The diploma programme, i.e., PGDM is a course that is conducted by those autonomous institutes that are recognised by the AICTE approved by the Ministry of HRD and Government of India.

    As of now, even the IIMs offer a Diploma course and not a degree. The MBA programme is approved by all these three authorities, anyhow, it is also important to get approval from UGC.

    At BML Munjal University, the student is conferred the MBA degree on completion.

    So, it is important to understand your career objectives and go to a reputed college instead of stressing about a degree or diploma.

    Accreditation Check

    Since PGDM is the course that is offered by the autonomous bodies, you must take extra care to validate whether a particular college has the essential accreditations. Only after confirmation should you apply for admission there. There are some small colleges or, say, institutes that do not have proper accreditation status. On the other hand, MBA degree programmes are conducted by universities, with lower chances of fraudulence.

    MBA vs PGDM – Syllabus and Curriculum

    Another factor for differentiating MBA and PGDM is the syllabus. In the majority of the MBA courses, the curriculum is formulated by the university and therefore is pretty rigid in that sense. So, the core syllabus is expected to be the same in two different MBA colleges recognised by the same university.

    On the flip side, PGDM courses are designed by an institute individually, which leads to more flexibility in the curriculum. Even various changes are made in the syllabus every year due to changes in the industry. Therefore, colleges offering a PGDM programme are expected to be more suitable and aligned with the trends in the corporate world.

    MBA vs PGDM – The Focus of the Course

    The core subjects of both courses, i.e. MBA and PGDM, are common. However, the experts claim that the MBA programmes are more focused on the technical and theoretical aspects related to management rather than the adoption of practical knowledge.

    On the other hand, PGDM courses are more focused on the industry and its practical knowledge. This course is designed to develop the skills needed in the current market. PGDM course is, therefore, more helpful for the students to develop practical marketing skills with the consideration of industrial perspectives.

    MBA vs PGDM – Expenses

    Now, this is certainly one of the major factors for differentiating both the courses, i.e. PGDM and MBA.

    As a general observation, it reveals that the tuition fees for an MBA are overall lesser when compared to that of the PGDM courses.

    One of the reasons behind this is that most of the MBA offering colleges are approved by the government. Hence, they get good financial support from the government, and consequently, getting the degree is more economical for the students.

    But in the case of PGDM, the candidate has to bear all the costs for the entire program as there is no financial support offered to the college by the Government. However, this is not a rule since you will find many MBA programmes with high tuition fees as well.

    Teaching Methods

    Training and teaching are multi-dimensional under PGDM; even activities like cases, presentations, short-term training, and simulations are part of pedagogy.

    Whereas the scope of innovation in an MBA is also very good as the syllabus is finalised by the university and does not only rotate around bookish knowledge. For eg: at BMU, we primarily focus on our students and their overall personality rather than just theoretical knowledge.

    The institution is primarily known to imbibe real-life skills among the students so that they strive to reach a pedestal.

    MBA vs PGDM – Entrance Examinations

    An individual can get entrance in PGDM through CAT/MAT/ATMA/XAT and also state-level examinations like MHCET, and TSICET. Some universities consider only state-level entrance exams for MBA, but a few also accept CAT and MAT.

    BMU accepts CAT, XAT, NMAT, MAT and GMAT scores for admissions.


    According to business magazines and student-centric websites, 90% of the top 100 institutes offer PGDM courses in India. But that does not mean that MBA colleges are anywhere far behind them.

    MBA vs PGDM – Impact on Your Career

    Now, let us take a deeper look by dividing the career impact of these courses into two subparts, i.e. higher education perspective and jobs perspective.

    Starting with the higher education perspective, yes, there is a major difference. Acquiring an MBA degree helps the individual to get a little more value when compared to a diploma.

    MBA gets the individual marked against the master’s degree, while PGDM gets the individual marked against a diploma. But that is in no way relatable to the industrial success record of students or the difference in knowledge that is imparted in the institutes!

    And with the perspective of getting a job, there is not any major difference at all. Securing a placement with a top company in the industry is bound to be a cakewalk if the individual comes from a reputed business school in India.

    Here it is important to note that the factor which makes all the difference is the infrastructure of the institute that comprises the faculty, as well as the teaching methodology. Besides, the track record and reputation of the institute are also what differentiates it from the rest. Hence, needless to say, a degree or diploma from a well-reputed institute would always be valued more for obvious reasons!

    Hence, if you are looking to build a successful career path in the field of management, it barely matters which course you choose. All that matters is the institute that you go for, therefore, think practically at the time of finalising the institute for your management course.

    Comparative Analysis: MBA vs PGDM Key Aspects

    Aspect MBA PGDM
    Type of Qualification Degree Diploma
    Awarding Body University Autonomous Institution
    Curriculum More standardised, often with a focus on theory and research. More flexible, with a focus on industry-relevant and practical skills.
    Affiliation Affiliated with universities. Autonomous institutions are not necessarily affiliated with universities.
    Specialisations A Wide range of specialisations is available. Diverse specialisations based on industry demands.
    Recognition Generally, widely recognised. Recognition can vary depending on the reputation of the institution
    Rigidity Can be more rigid due to university regulations. Generally more flexible in adapting to industry changes.
    Emphasis on Practical Skills May have less emphasis on practical skills. Often emphasises practical skills and real-world applications.
    Duration Typically 2 years. Duration varies but is generally 1 to 2 years.
    Entrance Exams Often require entrance exams like CAT, MAT, etc. Entrance exams, such as CAT, XAT, GMAT, etc., are common.
    Alumni Network Strong university-based alumni networks. Alumni networks may vary based on the institution’s reputation.
    Regulatory Body Authorization Approved by UGC (University Grants Commission) and other relevant regulatory bodies. Authorised by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and other relevant bodies.

    It’s important to note that both MBA and PGDM have their merits, and the choice depends on individual preferences, career goals, and the reputation of the specific institutions offering these programs.

    MBA vs PGDM – Closing Remarks

    The difference between the MBA programme and the PGDM programme is very well understood now. So, you can easily arrive at a decision keeping in mind your career objectives and also the offerings of these courses.

    Make sure that you prepare yourself really well for the entrance examinations so that you can bag a seat in a reputed management institute.

    Even if you have to bear hefty course fees, remember that it is a one-time investment that is going to fetch you returns for a lifetime. So wish you a brilliant career ahead!


    MBA vs PGDM, which is better?

    The choice between an MBA and a PGDM depends on individual preferences and career goals. Both are recognised postgraduate qualifications in India. While MBA is a degree awarded by universities, a PGDM is a diploma granted by autonomous institutions. Consider factors such as curriculum, accreditation, and industry relevance to make an informed decision based on your specific needs and aspirations.

    Is PGDM equivalent to MBA degree?

    The MBA is a postgraduate degree, while the PGDM is a diploma that holds equivalence to an MBA from any Indian University. Examinations for PGDM programs are administered by affiliated universities, and institutions offering PGDM are authorised by AICTE to conduct these exams.

    Why do people choose MBA over PGDM?

    Individuals may choose an MBA over PGDM for several reasons. MBA programs are typically offered by universities, providing a degree that may be perceived as more traditional and widely recognised. Some prefer the academic depth and research focus associated with MBA curricula. Additionally, the university’s brand and alumni network can play a crucial role in influencing this choice. Ultimately, the decision may hinge on personal preferences, career objectives, and the perceived value of a degree from a university.

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