Every year management aspirants suffer from a dilemma. Which course to opt for MBA or PGDM? This article will give you some insights into differences between an MBA and a PGDM

 A Guest Post by Sampurna Majumder


One of the most sought-after courses in India at the post-graduate level, management studies has a plethora of options. An ever expanding field of study, students can opt for degrees or diplomas in various fields of business management. Several colleges across the country offer courses in management studies. However, one thing that students face problem with is what to opt for – an MBA or a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

As the entrance examinations season approaches the dilemma surrounding choice of course among aspirants continues to grow. These days the confusion is enhanced further because of the sudden growth in the number of business schools claiming excessive achievements within the university system.

Which one to choose?MBA or PGDM?

What is the essential difference between the two? A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is a degree course that is offered by management colleges that are affiliated to particular universities. On the other hand Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) is offered by institutes that are usually recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). For example, Birla Institute of Management Technology offers PGDM. Even the Indian Institutes of Management offer PGDMs.

Let us understand the basic differences between the two options to help you make a better choice.

MBA is only offered by Recognized Universities: - Only those management institutes that are affiliated to a recognized university are licensed to offer MBA degrees. This is precisely the reason institutes like Faculty of Management Studies, Department of Management Sciences (PUMBA), University of Pune, or Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies can offer MBA degrees as they are affiliated to Delhi, Pune and Mumbai University respectively.

Interestingly, the IIMs being the best in the country, offer PGDMs since they are not affiliated to any particular university. Nonetheless, some of the degrees offered by the IIMs are recognized by regulatory bodies like the AICTE.

Difference in Course Curriculum: - While the curriculums for both the educational programmes are somewhat similar, there are subtle points of differences. While MBA curriculum has a more theoretical approach, that of PGDM is more practical and industry-oriented. A PGDM prepares a candidate for the job market.

Flexible Curriculum of PGDM: - Since an autonomous institute does not have to abide by any university curriculum, they are free to design their course curriculum according to industry standards and business environment. Moreover, compared to an MBA program, a PGDM programme offers much more exposure to the industry. On the other hand, since an MBA abides by a particular university, alteration of the syllabus is not easy and even if they do so, it is a somewhat slow process.

MBAs are more Affordable: - While it comes to the fee structure, MBAs are more affordable as compared to its PG Diploma counterpart. The fee structure for an MBA is somewhat similar to a university programme whereas a PGDM programme’s fee is structured according to the institute and the duration (1 year or 2 years).

Difference in Focus: - An MBA programme usually helps student to develop business knowledge and technical skills. A PGDM on the other hand prepares students for senior managerial positions paving the way for robust career in the corporate sector.

Experts’ Opinion

In one experts’ opinion, as far as industry is concerned more about recognizing talent reputed institutes rather than bothering about PGDM or MBA. Though curriculum and syllabi content wise there not much difference, but if someone is planning to go abroad, an MBA will be easily recognized while PGDM students will have to ensure that they choose equivalent certificates while making such plans.

Earlier PGDM was not recognized for higher studies like M.Phil or a PhD. But now PGDM certificates from top institutes are being recognized for higher studies M.Phil and PhD.

However, some teachers opine that MBA is not an end in itself but a means. An MBA degree helps student to develop skills in numerous spheres like managerial theories, ethics, leadership, finance, operations, economics and teamwork. Students can always work and develop a network with alumni, community and business leaders that can help in the career growth of an individual.

Teachers also advice that while choosing the institute, aspirants should consider the brand of the B-School; Its reputation and placement records. The brand is significant of established practices that ensure a better learning environment personal and professional growth. Moreover, a proper networking helps students sail easily through the industry. A student passing out from a prestigious B-School will carry the tag throughout his or her career.

Whether you opt for an MBA or PGDM, both degrees are recognized and offer good employment opportunities. It is advisable that you get in touch with experts who can guide you through the process and help choose the correct course. Once you have chosen the right path, opportunities galore will open up at your door.

Author Bio: A skilled writer and an ardent blogger, Sampurna Majumder has been lending her knowhow to prominent websites like Shiksha.com by penning articles and blog posts on popular courses like management courses, educational trends and institutes like these.

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MBA or PGDM—A Management Aspirant’s Dilemma originally appeared on The Daily MBA on September 2, 2013.

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