MBA vs PGDM: Difference Between MBA and PGDM

Over the last couple of years, the importance of a good MBA degree has been on the rise. Those are opening newer opportunities for themselves while ensuring they can access some of the highest paying jobs in the market. But many get confused with MBA vs PGDM debate. When it comes to Indian Institutes and the way they execute MBA programs, MBA vs PGDM becomes an important consideration. MBA vs PGDM debate can be looked at in two major ways. 

The modalities of the MBA program depend largely on whether they offer MBA degrees or PGDM. Both Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) has a similar end, but the way colleges implement it is often different. 

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Difference between MBA and PGDM

1. Nature of Course

The most notable difference between MBA and PGDM lies in their nature. MBA degrees are offered directly by colleges and universities (both Government and Private) that are recognized by the UGC and have a proper Master’s program. At the end of the course, the universities offer their students a recognized degree after their course.

In PGDM, it remains a diploma program that is offered mostly by B-schools or independent and autonomous colleges. At times these colleges might also have affiliations to certain Universities. These are courses that offer a diploma degree at the end of their completion. These institutes and B schools offer professional degrees, and as a result, they are recognized by India’s nodal body for technical education – All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

2. Course Content

Another difference between MBA and PGDM arises in the course content aspect of the two. While obtaining an MBA degree is only possible through colleges affiliated to Universities, their course structure is often mandated by such Universities. Although a helpful task in the case of other courses, it often becomes problematic when it comes to an MBA course as external business changes like technology and management methodologies should reflect in the structure of the course.

When it comes to PGDM, the fact that it’s mostly autonomous colleges giving out the diplomas, it offers the institutes more flexibility to create the course structure as per the latest market trends. 

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3. Importance of the College

MBA vs PGDM also differs in the importance given to specific colleges. While an MBA degree is usually given out by specific universities recognized under the UGC, PGDM remains a professional diploma course offered by colleges accredited to AICTE. Factors such as the rank of college, placement records, faculty become more important in the case of PGDM. MBA vs PGDM debate requires students to pay close attention to the track record of colleges claiming to offer a PGDM for its authenticity. 

Read: MBA Developer Salary in India

Why is an MBA Preferred over PGDM?

An MBA remains a master’s degree ratified by the UGC and follows its guidelines. With PGDM, students run into the possibility of doing the course from a low ranked college with a bad course structure that avails them no benefit. Not being closely regulated can be detrimental for students that do not complete their PGDM from top B schools. Thus, candidates are suggested to go through the colleges’ ranking and track record rather than choose a college based on an MBS vs PGDM debate.

An MBA degree also proves beneficial over a PGDM in cases of higher studies like going for a Ph.D. or double MBA. In such cases, preference is always given to a candidate with an MBA degree. This is mostly because one is a degree course while the other a diploma.

MBA vs. PGDM: Comparison Table 

Here is a comparison table demonstrating the difference between PGDM and MBA in an in-depth manner. 

Aspects MBA PGDM
Approval Approval is needed from UGC, Govt. of India, the Ministry of HRD, and AICTE Approval is needed from Govt. of India, AICTE, Ministry of HRD
Ph.D. Eligibility MBA graduates from Indian universities who have at least a 55% overall average may register for a Ph.D. programme. MBAs can also instruct graduate students. In Indian Universities, PGDMs with a minimum cumulative GPA of 55% are eligible to join Ph.D. programmes. PGDMs are also qualified to instruct PG students.
Course Syllabus Universities are responsible for creating and updating the syllabus.  Dynamic, according to the demands of the sector, updates. The AICTE has approved the curriculum. 
General Ranking About 10 of the top 100 schools offer MBA programmes, including FMS, NMIMS, KJSIMS, SCMHRD, and others. Due to greater instruction, training, exposure, and job placements, 90 percent of the top 100 institutions are PGDM institutions. A few examples include IIMs, XLRI, MDI, IMT, and GIM.
Placements Depending on the MBA institution. Some MBA institutions, such as FMS and JBIMS, have greater placement rates in comparison.  The institution determines. Compared to MBA universities, the majority of PGDM institutions have greater placement rates. 
Innovative Practices Limited room for inventiveness because practices are set down in the university’s centrally prepared syllabus.  Training and teaching have many different facets. Pedagogy includes cases, simulations, presentations, and short-term training. 
Examinations The university conducts the examinations The approving authority, AICTE, has granted PGDM institutions permission to hold the Examinations.
Entrance Procedure Comprehensive entrance tests at the federal, state, and local levels, including the CAT, MAT, CMAT, TSICET, MAH-CET, etc. Comprehensive CAT/MAT/XAT/ATMA as well as several state-level tests such as TSICET, MAH-CET, etc. 
Equivalence MBA, a post-graduation degree exactly the same as an MBA from any Indian university. For teaching (UGC NET), for a Ph.D., and all other purposes.


MBA vs. PGDM: Determine Your Goals & Make a Decision!

Your life’s final objective is what counts the most when considering “PGDM or MBA: which is better?”. What do you hope to accomplish with your management degree? Do you envision yourself pursuing a certain type of employment in the future? 

This must be the main determining element in your programme choice. You should also question yourself about what type of programme (on-campus or not), setting and immediate employment goals are most important to you. You may wish to think about your budget while purchasing it. 

Any top school’s PGDM programme will undoubtedly lead to a career that pays really well. Given of the program’s curriculum and close industry connection, PGDM graduates may have an advantage that helps them stay more applicable and practical in their field for longer. 

However, when comparing MBA vs. PGDM, an MBA from a reputable institution with a long history in the field can also assist you in achieving some short-term professional objectives at a far lower price


While the difference between MBA and PGDM remains minute, it is essential to complete an MBA course from a recognised university. At upGrad , you can choose from the best of Indian & foreign colleges to obtain your MBA degree and achieve your goals. upGrad provides industry-relevant programs designed and delivered in collaboration with world-class faculty and industry.

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What is the difference between an MBA and a PGDM degree?

An MBA is a master’s degree in business administration, whereas a PGDM degree is a diploma in business administration. The basic difference between the 2 courses is the institution that provides it. Only universities or colleges affiliated to universities that come under the University Grants Commission (UGC) are allowed to provide an MBA degree. PGDM degrees are provided by colleges and b-schools that are recognised by the AICTE under the HRD ministry. There are a few subtle differences in terms of curriculum, fee structure, teaching methodology, and so on, but the important thing is that organisations usually do not distinguish between the 2 degrees while recruiting.

How to apply for an MBA or a PGDM degree?

The first step towards applying for an MBA or PGDM degree is to clear the Common Aptitude Test or CAT. Next, depending on your score, you can apply for various institutes that accept CAT scores. If they accept your application, you may be invited for a group discussion and/or a personal interview round. If you clear these rounds successfully, you will be granted admission by the institute.

Some institutes such as Symbiosis, XLRI and IITs have their own separate entrance exam for MBA entrance. Some others accept GMAT scores (which is also accepted internationally). However, their process for screening candidates is very similar to the one described above.

Is an MBA better than a PGDM?

There is no absolute way in which one can say that an MBA is better than a PGDM degree. An MBA course focuses on teaching students’ theoretical knowledge and the curriculum is usually only revised every 3-5 years. PGDM courses focus more on practical aspects of management, and are more dynamic in terms of evolving with the changes in the market or environment. Also, an MBA course is usually less expensive when compared to a PGDM course, unless it is being provided by an international level university. On the other hand, corporate recruiters don’t usually distinguish between the degrees. Instead, they focus on the institute ranking, your academic scores, work experience, and so on.

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