The difference between MBA and PGDM?

Both MBA and PGDM are highly lucrative programmes for business management aspirants. As such, it is difficult to differentiate between the two as both of them are courses designed for the postgraduate level.

Small-scale as well as large-scale start-ups and business ventures are burgeoning all over the world. Prospective entrepreneurs, managers and others who are keen on embarking upon their business journeys are constantly on the lookout for a formal degree that will give them the edge in a vast, competitive business market.

And an MBA or a PGDM gives them the opportunity to stand out and excel in their diverse business endeavours. Both the degrees being commercially driven, they are excellent alternatives to each other. But there are certain differences between the two that must be kept in mind by anyone who is considering to pursue a Master’s level management programme.

While MBA is short for Masters in Business Administration, PGDM stands for Post Graduate Diploma in Management. As their names suggest, MBA is a degree programme, whereas PGDM is a diploma course. However, the latter is considered as an equivalent to an MBA degree and is quickly becoming the go-to course for entrepreneurs and corporate workers. 

Even though both  MBA and PGDM usually take 2 years to complete, the latter sometimes becomes an exception to this rule as there are some private educational institutions that conduct 1-year PGDM programmes, such as the ISBR Business School in Bengaluru.

There are a number of other minor differences between MBA and PGDM. They vary according to factors such as course expenditure, syllabus to be covered, entrance examinations, etc. Although subtle, a close scrutiny of the differences between the two courses would help anyone wanting to make a mark in their business career. Choosing the right course of study is, after all, a vital career choice. Making an informed decision after considering all the available options is the key.

Following is a list of all the differences between MBA and PGDM based on several parameters. This will make it absolutely clear as to which would be the more advantageous option to choose:

Course Expenditure

The important thing to remember is that the fee structure of both MBA and PGDM varies according to institution. Generally, MBAs are offered by universities which receive yearly financial aids in the form of grants sanctioned by the government. This makes the course cheaper for students to afford since much of the education expenditure is incurred by the government.

As per latest reports, according to the type of MBA (executive MBA, part-time MBA, distance MBA, etc.), the standard range of MBA tuition fees is from ₹10 lakhs to ₹23 lakhs in Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which are premier government-approved institutes of management education and research in India.

On the other hand, PGDMs are mostly offered by autonomous bodies that are not affiliated to any particular university. They do not receive yearly grants from the government like MBA institutes do. This has dual consequences. The cost of education is more expensive and it is mostly incurred by the students on their own.

Currently, PGDM fees range from ₹15 lakhs to ₹23 lakhs in IIMs. Considering all management institutes in India, the average course fees ranges from ₹1 lakh to ₹15 lakhs per annum. This is a good indicator of how course expenditures can vary from one institute to another.

Entrance Examinations

The best thing about both MBA and PGDM is that students from all streams of discipline, i.e. Science, Commerce, Arts/Humanities can apply. But admission depends on the successful clearance of certain entrance tests which are not the same for both courses.

For MBA, State Level Entrance Examinations like TSICET (Telangana State Integrated Common Entrance Test) or MAH-CET (Maharashtra Common Entrance Test) are considered prerequisites.

On the other hand, admission in PGDM courses mostly require the passing of National Level Entrance Exams like CAT (Common Admission Test), MAT (Management Aptitude Test), XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test), or ATMA (AIMS Test for Management Admissions). AIMS stands for Acharya Institutes for Management and Sciences, a private institution affiliated to Bangalore University.

Course Syllabus

The syllabus for an MBA course is designed by the university. It is more rigid in nature than the ones designed for PGDM courses. MBA programmes are more theoretical in their approach. The focus is more on the development of basic and advanced concepts in business studies. This ensures a sound, solid training for the students eager to showcase their knowledge in the business world and even become brilliant academicians and business educators themselves in the future.

As far as PGDM is concerned, the autonomous, non-affiliated nature of the institutes offering the courses enables them to design their own syllabi. Thus, the syllabus designed in a PGDM course is more pragmatic and dynamic in nature. Special attention is bestowed on prevalent industrial concerns. The syllabus is made accordingly. The management training in PGDMs thus focuses more on the cultivation and enhancement of specific skills. This makes it more convenient for aspirants to adapt and redefine themselves in a rapidly changing business environment.

Career Goals

As the theoretical bent in MBA programmes is higher, aspirants desiring an added academic degree in their resumes for better career prospects, would find MBA as the ideal programme to opt for. Also, since MBA degrees are mostly offered by government business management institutes, a job in a government-owned company or a PSU is the kind of employment opportunity someone with an MBA degree is most likely to receive and prosper in.

Those who want to establish themselves as self-made entrepreneurs or work in large-scale private corporations, would do well to obtain a PGD in Management. In private companies, the designations of business manager, HR manager, client relationship manager, marketing assistant, management trainer, finance executive, among others, look for candidates who are PGDM holders. This is a direct result of the skill-oriented training programmes incorporated in PGDM courses, designing the syllabus according to the needs of the industry at the moment.

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Related Courses
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) | Ghaziabad
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) | Greater Noida
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) | Kotputli Jaipur
Related Institutions
NIMT Greater Noida
NIMT Institute of Management, Kotputli Jaipur
NIMT Institute of Technology and Management, Ghaziabad