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By Harshita Mehrotra

PGDM vs MBA: Understand the differences, curriculum, duration, factors to consider, which one to choose, and more


5th June, 2020

Table of Contents

Aspiring managers and students in the management field want a higher education that can provide them with tools to be on top of their career game. One full-proof way of making it there is by pursuing a management program after graduation. India has over 5000+ B schools offering both MBA & PGDM programs. However, one dilemma all students face at this crossroads is ‘what is the difference between PGDM and MBA and which course is better between MBA and PGDM? Many factors need to be kept in mind in choosing what’s better, but most important is to consider our career goals and personal interests. 

So together let us explore the difference between PGDM and MBA, what’s best for you between PGDM vs MBA and why! 

PGDM vs MBA: Understanding The Difference 

We are in a new age where corporates are rising as great powers and entrepreneurial projects are held in high regard. All this greatly contributes to the management field being one of the most sought after by graduates and freshers. When we choose the field of management to pursue, we are faced with two program choices, an MBA or a PGDM. Next, we rack our brains on these particular questions, what is the difference between MBA and PGDM? But why have two options to choose from? Is PGDM equivalent to an MBA?

The main difference we need to understand is between Degree vs Diploma, MBA vs PGDM. MBA is a degree that can only be provided by universities or colleges affiliated to a university. For example, FMS is affiliated to Delhi University and so offers an MBA. Whereas IIMs despite being the top most colleges in the country to learn management offer a diploma as it is not affiliated to any university and offers PGDM or PGP. Statistics show that out of every 10 management colleges, 9 offer PGDM and only 1 offers an MBA. 

So this would bring us to the next question, is PGDM equivalent to a masters? This answer is slightly complicated, so let me break it down for you. This will help you understand the main difference between PGDM and MBA. PGDM offered by these colleges is autonomous or in other words, not university affiliated.

However, this does not mean that PGDM is less valuable than an MBA. The corporate world and industry view the MBA and PGDM courses as equivalent. It is just that PGDM is a Diploma as individual institutes can only offer PGP and MBA is a degree.  

At this point in time, many questions must be arising in your mind like-

For a successful corporate career which is better MBA or PGDM? 

PGDM vs MBA in India, which is better?

Fear not! We are going to clear that dilemma for you right here. 

Key Differences between PGDM vs MBA

Comparison can be done on various grounds between the MBA and PGDM. However, understanding the foundational level to their professional implications is a must to develop a clear mindset.Before understanding the individual difference between PGDM and MBA, we should understand what an MBA is. 

An MBA stands for Masters in Business Administration. This means that an MBA is a master’s degree that can only be offered by a UGC approved university. UGC is the University Grant Commission and all universities are listed under this. 

Whereas a PGDM stands for Post Graduate Diploma in Management. This is offered by deemed institutions and colleges under the AICTE or AIU approved list. AICTE is an acronym for All India Council for Technical Education. 

 Differences between MBA & PGDM

Full-FormMaster’s in Business administrationPost Graduate Diploma in Management
Approved By/ Affiliated toUGCAICTE or AIU
CurriculumRigid, Vast & Rarely updatedSpecific & industry-aligned
Value of CourseMaster’s degreeDiploma
Higher studiesCan go for PhDCan go for other PGP’s
ProgramOffered by an institution that is affiliated to a University. Offered by an institution that is not affiliated to any University.
Study FocusBased on developing technical skills and business knowledge.Based on Industry-specific needs & Practical skills.
CurriculumRigid, due to an involvement of the University.Flexible & subject to change as per the colleges offering the PGDM.
DurationTwo to three yearsOne to two years
Controller of ExaminationUniversityInstitute itself
Job MarketBoth Stand Equivalent for the corporate world

PGDM vs MBA: Factors To Consider

There are many factors that one needs to consider when trying to find out the difference between MBA and PGDM. Some of these factors are, Cost, time, effort, location, job prospects & placements, ROI etc. Some well-wishers will be guiding you towards an MBA and some towards a PGDM. 

But, what makes one better than the other and based on the difference between PGDM and MBA, how to choose the one most suited for us? For instance, if you are pressed for money but not time, you could opt for an MBA as PGDM though not necessarily has a higher fee and a shorter duration.Like these, many factors play a vital role in making this choice the one that suits us the best. However, the most important factor to consider is the career path we want. 

Who Should Go For An MBA?

The people on the “MBA team” may say that when on this crossroads of MBA vs PGDM, MBA is the better choice. However, this conclusion may be based on myths more than facts. Am I saying an MBA is equivalent to a PGDM? Not exactly. One fact that is missed by most of us is the value of the course. The value of an MBA degree is that it is a master’s degree, which might play a big role if you see yourself with a career in academics. If you are sure that you will want to pursue a PhD, following your postgraduate degree, then going for an MBA is important, as you will not be able to go for a PhD after a PGDM. 

The curriculum of an MBA touches all the fundamentals of business administration and the governing theories, leaving very little room to consider what the industry demands. An MBA curriculum will teach you all the core business theories that have helped businesses around the world survive and succeed. One may also find the MBA curriculum as rigid & rarely updated as all changes have to be approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC), as a result, changes might happen only once in 3-5 years. 

What stands most important here is to recognize the interests & goals that will fuel your ultimate decision. In short, one might go for an MBA because: 

  1. It is a master’s degree
  2. Can pursue a PhD after MBA
  3. Provided by UGC accredited universities
  4. Duration is 1 or 2 years (based on the college or university’s curriculum)
  5. The curriculum is widespread and basic, touching all fundamentals of business

Who Should Choose To Do A PGDM?

PGDM or Post Graduate Diploma Program is a professional course. It teaches us the practical aspects of work through indulging in state of the art learning techniques like experiential learning, case studies, vestibule training etc. as compared to the MBA. So is MBA and PGDM the same? The course contents of PGDM vs MBA may be similar, but the purpose of each is different. Many renowned institutes offer a PGDM or PGP as they are autonomous deemed colleges. By autonomous we mean colleges not affiliated to any university or institute and recognized by AICTE as technical education providers. Colleges providing a PGDM or PGP can also be accredited by AIU (Association of Indian Universities).

A PGDM’s curriculum is up to date and in sync with the current demands of the industry. In short, why you should choose to do a PGDM are:

  1. It is a Diploma degree
  2. Duration might be 6 months to 2 years
  3. Provided by autonomous and nodal institutes
  4. Considered by the industry to be equivalent to MBA
  5. Allows one to gain more insight by means of specialization in a field

Conclusion: Which is better in MBA vs PGDM?

A clear career path is the one we can define by understanding our own capabilities and professional endeavours. The key takeaway from this being, the need to visualize one’s career path If we are sure about being in a particular field or career, or we are looking for a career change we can go for a PGDM. However, if we want to learn about how businesses work overall, or be in the field of research or academics, an MBA may be the better choice. 

So focus more on what you want, keeping in mind what is being demanded by the industry and job market. I say this because, for the world and India, an MBA and PGDM lead to the same career prospects. 

PGDM graduates have the advantage of learning through practical workspace situations and experiences. An MBA graduate follows a classroom curriculum while gaining valuable knowledge through networking amongst their students, faculty and alumni.

We should weigh in all the above-discussed factors alongside our personal goals to bring out the best in ourselves through our professional lives. 

PGDM vs MBA General FAQs

What is the difference between PGDM & PGP?

PGDM is the short form for Post Graduate Diploma in Management and PGP stands for Post Graduate Programs. So as the name suggests, PGDM is a specific management program that falls under PGP’s. A college or institute can be offering many programs under their PGP’s. 

What is the difference in the Syllabus & course structure in between PGDM vs MBA?

The syllabus of an MBA is found to be more rigid and rarely changed or updated as all changes need to be approved by the UGC, which is a long process. This results in the syllabus being changed once in 3 to 5 years. 
Whereas, in PGDM the course syllabus is found to be more flexible and frequently updated according to the industry needs & job requirements. 

What program should I choose if I want to make a career in academics?

If you aim for a PhD or becoming a professor of management education, going for an MBA is the right choice. As the value of the degree is that it is a master’s degree, you will be able to go for a PhD after. 

Which course is better to make a career in the corporate?

Students who want to enhance their job readiness and employability skills for a better corporate career, desire to do jobs in MNC’s or want to start their enterprise without investing a lot of time into studying management, then PGDM is a better option.

What entrance exams would one need to qualify to study PGDM?

For an MBA there are various level management entrance exams like CAT, XAT, MAT and few state and university level exams too. However, more or less these exams can be used for admission into both the programs. However, the final decision lies with the universities offering the said programs.

In the corporate world, is there any preference given to either an MBA or a PGDM graduate?

Corporates make it a point to recognize talents that come from both these programs. Additionally, they remain more interested in brilliant students and brands instead of caring about an MBA or PGDM program.

Which degree will give a higher paying career, PGDM or MBA?

Candidates should understand this fact that when they have a PGDM degree or an MBA degree, there is no hurdle in the corporate sector based on this presumption or prejudice. The vital thing to consider is the choice of institution whether an aspirant is opting for an MBA or a PGDM. The remuneration is based on the individual’s skills and capabilities, how they perform in their field and their personality overall is assessed by the management.

About Sunstone Eduversity

At Sunstone Eduversity, industry-oriented MBA and PGDM programs prepare the students for the ever-evolving business world. Furthermore, the curriculum focuses on imparting relevant knowledge of business concepts and principles which are genuinely put to use in the real world. Sunstone has tech-led pedagogy, faculty who have corporate experience and a student-centric approach that transforms the students’ career and focuses on their holistic development.

Moreover, the fee structure of the management programs and the sense of accountability they take for their student’s careers make Sunstone Eduversity unique. It takes complete responsibility of their student’s success and job placement. To date, it has had 100% placement for all its batches with students placed in good companies like Amazon, Byte Dance (TikTok), Reliance Jio, Flipkart, etc.

Upskill yourself with industry-aligned management programs, tech-led pedagogy and economical fee payment plans – Apply Now

Sunstone Eduversity Fee Structure

They have two fee plans which are as follow:

  • Pay After Placement – Students pay a nominal fee at the time of admission, and only after getting a job on the completion of the course, they pay the full course fees.
  • Money-Back Guarantee – Students pay a fixed amount of fee at the time of admission and get a refund of tuition fees in case not placed.

For more details on Sunstone’s Fee Structure – Click Here

Must Read

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  4. Worth of an MBA degree under threat? 
  5. Do business school rankings matter?
By Harshita Mehrotra

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