The number of people aiming for a degree in business management is rapidly on the rise. While the number of applications for the program is increasing, the number of institutes offering the course is also increasing. The investment is a life-changing one, and so the applicants take into consideration various factors before selecting a particular institute. Now an interesting thing about the degree in India is that not all colleges offer a masters’ degree in management. There are plenty of colleges that offer a diploma in management. Applicants often are found confused whether they should go for a college offering an MBA degree or the one offering a PGDM diploma. PGDM or MBA, i.e., PGDM vs MBA, is the first question that arises in students mind who is looking for management education. In this article, we will clear the confusion between MBA or PGDM. 

What is the difference between PGDM and MBA?

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Let us clear the confusion regarding the two subjects into consideration.
Masters in Business Administration fondly known as MBA is a two-year course in management program. It is a degree course offered by both private and public universities and the colleges affiliated to these universities. Several colleges like FMS Delhi, IIFT Delhi, NMIMS Mumbai, Symbiosis Pune, and JBIMS Mumbai offer an MBA degree under their management program. The degree, in this case, is approved by the University Grants Commission.  PGDM vs MBA difference must be clear before taking a final call for the admission in B School.
Post Graduate Diploma in Management also known as PGDM is a diploma program offered by colleges that are recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), India’s nodal body for technical education. All the IIMs in India and several private universities like XLRI, SPJIMR, KJ SIMSR, IMI, and IMT offer a diploma in management. With the IIM Bill 2017, the IIMs can offer MBA degrees. IIM Ahmedabad awarded MBA degree to 2017-19 batch.

Both the MBA and PGDM are business oriented courses and have little difference overall. Let us understand these differences. Here is a trade-off between PGDM vs MBA:



The fee for studying in a public or private university is comparatively low. This is because most of the government approved universities receive financial aids and grants, thereby resulting in lower fees for the students. However, this is not the case with all the Universities. On average, the fees for a PGDM course is higher than an MBA degree.


While both PGDM and MBA have similar subjects in the offering, however many claims that MBA focuses more on theory and technicality while PGDM courses are more skill and practical application based.


Since MBA course curriculum is university dependent, any change in syllabus takes years to amend and implement. PGDM courses are more flexible and keep updating faster according to the latest industry requirements. Thus making sure that the students acquire the relevant skills and knowledge.

Susceptible to fraudulence

An MBA degree is given by University which is approved by University Grants Commission, and so it is more secure in comparison to a PGDM Diploma which is offered by autonomous institutes. Students need to make sure that they do not fall in the trap of fraudulent colleges that do not have proper accreditation status.

Why does an MBA or a PGDM matter?

If we consider the case of India, there is no difference when it comes to an MBA or a PGDM. 90% of the colleges in India offer a PGDM. Also, the companies treat an MBA or a PGDM holder alike. There is no discrimination by companies on this ground. Yes, the college’s brand name and legacy along with the individuals’ competitiveness play a significant role in determining his career trajectory.
Even in the global context, employability remains practically the same whether you hold an MBA or a PGDM. But yes, if we are considering the option of higher education say a Ph.D. or double MBA then having an MBA degree helps a bit more than a PGDM.  MBA vs PGDM has little difference when it comes to the Indian context.

When should you consider opting for an MBA degree?


If you look for the legacy of institutes, MBA programs are generally much older. For example, JBIMS Mumbai, offering an MBA degree is more than 50 years old. Likewise, FMS Delhi is over 60 years old. The older the college, the wider their alumni base. Having a strong network of alumni is always an added advantage from placements point of view. In fact, after the IIM Bill, the IIMs may also give MBA degree instead of a diploma. 

Fee Structure

If cost plays a significant role in your selection of a business school, then colleges offering an MBA degree are more suitable for you. Since most of these colleges receive government grants, so the students do not entirely bear the burden, and consequently, their fee structure is a bit on the lower end. Also, some colleges that offer both universities approved MBA and AICTE approved PGDM have lower fees for their MBA program in comparison to the PGDM program.

Higher studies at abroad

If you wish to pursue higher studies such as a Ph.D. or a double MBA from a foreign university, then it is an MBA degree that is acceptable by those colleges. Most foreign universities do not accept diploma degrees for admission into their programs.

University support

Since MBA degrees are awarded by Universities, hence they are more genuine and reliable. Not only are the fees charged by AICTE approved colleges high, but there is also a risk factor associated with these colleges. If the college is not a well-reputed one, it may not follow the AICTE norms properly and can fool the students.  On the contrary, a university is controlled by the University Grants Commission, and the colleges have to abide by the laid norms. So they are typically well established and promises uniformity in education and pedagogy. 

Global acceptability

Most of the business schools across the world offer an MBA degree. So, the MBA is a universally accepted degree and is accepted by all the recruiters both at the national and the international level.

When should you consider opting for PGDM Diploma?

Real time business experience

PGDM courses offer an immense learning experience to students via rigorous classroom studies, case studies, industry visits, internships and likewise. They not only expose the students to current business realities but also help them develop a practical approach to problem-solving and decision making. Thereby preparing them for their future ahead. 

Flexible course structure

While an MBA has a rigid course structure since it is university controlled and any suggestion takes a long route of approvals before it can be put into practice, the PGDM courses are very flexible. As a consequence, the curriculum is regularly updated according to the changing business requirements and the students are well trained as per the latest developments in the industry. Also, PGDM focuses more on the practical side of doing business while MBA emphasizes on theoretical knowledge. 


If placements play the most crucial role in your B School selection process, then PGDM is a better alternative. Most of the MBA institutes do not guarantee a job and students generally have to look out for their placements. Since PGDM institutes are autonomous, so they work very hard to ensure that their students get excellent placement offers. 

Experienced faculty

Most of the faculties in PGDM colleges have rich experiences. They are typically industry veterans and help students gain more practical insight into real-time business scenarios. Also since these colleges offer lucrative salaries to their faculties, so the quality of education is also high. Whereas due to old university rules, the quality of education in MBA colleges is comparatively lower.

Job oriented

PGDM courses are more job oriented due to their relevance. Latest syllabus along with rigorous case discussions, seminars, workshops, etc., prepare you more for the competitive world.

While the choice between MBA or PGDM can be intimidating, one should be very clear about his/her personal goals. If one wants to pursue a business program to accelerate his/her corporate career, then one should opt for a particular B-school based on its ranking, curriculum, and placements. The degree or diploma offered by the institute won’t matter much in this case as industries are more interested in people with relevant skills.
However, if you want to do a business program at low fees and with proper university support or if you wish to pursue a higher degree from abroad then MBA will be the perfect choice for you.
Some key factors that should be considered before many any decision are:

  1. Ranking of the B-school
  2. Placements
  3. Brand name and legacy offered by the Institute
  4. Fee structure
  5. Teaching pedagogy
  6. Return on investment
  7. Location of the B-school
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