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Difference Between PGDM and MBA. Which course is better, MBA or PGDM?

Management is a science. We have seen many students out there being in a dilemma when it comes to understanding the difference between MBA and PGDM. In order to help understand the difference between the two, or which is better PGDM or MBA, we bring to you this article.

So, read all the basics and be informed. It is very important for management students to understand how both of them differ from each other and between MBA or PGDM which has more value. Pursuing both these courses can help one in the growth of their career in getting a better position and getting a good figure of the amount.


Nomenclature: Difference between PGDM and MBA

While these two terms are used interchangeably by students and even by B-schools, there is a vast difference among them as far as the certificate they offer. MBA stands for Master in Business Administration, which is a degree course, whereas PGDM stands for Post Graduate Diploma in Management, which as the name clearly mentions is a diploma program.

Now if the courses are concerned with management education, then why the difference in name. The reason behind is that, under the current education system, only university or institutions affiliated with universities can award Degree certificates.

Therefore MBA Degrees can only be awarded by Universities for their affiliated institutions. On the other hand, PGDM which is a diploma course can be awarded by autonomous institutions that are registered with AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education).

Course Duration

The duration for MBA programs is generally for two-years. It is usually offered by Universities or Colleges, while the PGDM programs could be of one or two years duration.

Although, there is no such fixed rule which determines the course duration, and many MBA degree programs are also curtailed to keep them more aligned with industry requirements.

Academic Orientation: Which is better PGDM or MBA

The academic orientation for both the programs makes them independent and different from each other. MBA degrees as mentioned are usually awarded by Universities, which come under UGC.

The syllabus is a little inflexible compared to PGDM. Academic orientation is more theoretical in nature when it comes to MBA. When we talk about executive MBA it is a completely different course altogether because in Executive MBA most of the individuals come from a working background or work experience which itself brings different learnings in the classroom from practical and real experience in the industry.

PGDM programs, on the other hand, are offered by independent B-schools and institutions which set their syllabus. To align their teaching pedagogy to the more contemporary model that is suited to the current economic scenario in the country there is an opportunity with these B-schools to modulate their syllabus as per the demand in the market.

Simply put, PGDM programs are more practical and contemporary in nature, whereas MBA degrees are more theoretical and focus on traditional business practices and models.


Affordability is a major factor to determine out of MBA or PGDM which has more value. Generally speaking, because MBA degrees are offered by universities (mostly by state-funded universities) the fees for such academic programs are relatively lower, as education is subsidized by the government. But, this might not hold true completely when it comes to private universities or deemed universities.

PGDM diplomas are offered by completely autonomous institutions like NMIMS, and therefore the courses are priced much higher. The fee structure is generally determined on the basis of market forces.

Screening Process

Finally, coming to the screening process which is followed to join these management programs! Generally, MBA degree programs are offered by universities and therefore the admission is given on the basis of state or university level entrance tests.

The reach and scope of these university-level tests are limited and MBA aspirants can only seek admission to one university or colleges affiliated to that university through the entrance test. For instance, XLRI organizes their own MBA entrance test i.e. XAT exam, and thereafter conducts a separate admission screening process to shortlist students for admission.

But, when it comes to PGDM or two-year MBA programs offered by IIMs, especially in top MBA colleges in India, candidates have to undergo a national level MBA entrance exam like CAT or MAT, which is highly competitive in nature.

In addition to this, the score/percentile/rank obtained in these national-level exams are often valid for admission to many other B-schools across India. For instance, CAT score is generally accepted by almost all major B-schools in India for shortlisting of candidates.

Which is better MBA or PGDM

In India, as well as overseas, both MBA and PGDM courses are regarded as having equal value when it comes to career prospects. What truly matters is one’s professional abilities and capabilities.

There is no difference when it comes to how the industry treats a PGDM program or MBA graduate program. Career growth is the same in both and a lot depends on an individual’s performance and not on MBA/PGDM. What matters is the industry perceptions and similar aspects. 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.

Do make sure you prepare yourself really well for the entrance examinations so that you can bag a seat in a reputed management institute to fetch your returns for a lifetime. So, wishing you a brilliant career ahead.


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