What is the Difference Between PGDM & MBA? Which is Better PGDM or MBA?

So you dawdle between PGDM & MBA?

Not just you, but there are millions who do not know the fine distinction between MBA and PGDM. It simply leaves one in uncertainty which paralyzes them not to know what to choose, MBA or PGDM. Whether it is about opting between a specialized MBA degree or opting for PGDM, the perplexity remains consistent in the psyche of the graduate who has recently given a ‘farewell’ to his/her graduate’s life. The objective of both MBA, as well as, PGDM programs is to design students’ career in the management domain.

Let us break the myths, doubts, and uncertainties of Graduates:

What are PGDM and MBA programs?


A Post Graduate Diploma in Management is a diploma course offered by the institutes that are recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and which is autonomous and not affiliated to universities. However, an accreditation by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) makes an institute’s PGDM course equivalent to MBA.


A Masters in Business Administration is a degree course offered by colleges affiliated to the universities. Hence, only universities can offer MBA programmes.

Where is the dilemma?

The term, ‘Diploma’ is assigned to Post Graduation in Management, which is not the case with MBA, and it is where the puzzlement begins. Graduates often have a question in mind; does PGDM hold any value? Well, the truth lies in the quality of education provided in the programs, not in their names. MBA program is preferably meant for students who want to pursue a regular degree course and gain comprehensive knowledge of the management subjects. PGDM on the opposite is designed for working professionals, who wish to upgrade their management skills by gaining the latest knowledge of management in lesser time, without hampering their working life.

However, to provide you a clear picture, recognize where the key difference between MBA and PGDM lie.

The Academic Institution

In India, MBA degree is offered by universities, which are regulated by University Grants Commission or UGC. For example, MBA degree course is offered by ICFAI Business School, which is affiliated to ICFAI University. Therefore, aspirants must know that they can only avail MBA degrees from an institution, which is affiliated to a university. A PGDM degree, on the contrary, is offered by several private institutions, which need not be affiliated to a university.

Therefore, aspirants baffled about MBA and PGDM must take this distinction into account among the two programs in terms of their affiliations.


Although there are many similarities between the curriculums followed by both MBA & PGDM courses, there exists some dissimilarity. A student who joins an MBA course will be studying more of the theoretical aspects of the management. An MBA institute will follow a fixed curriculum as it will be based on the university guidelines, whereas the student who joins a PGDM course will be gaining knowledge regarding building soft skills and the program will be highly industry-oriented. Also, they do not have to follow university standards, so institutes are free to change its curriculum according to the shifting industry standards & business environment.

So, we can say that PGDM courses follow a dynamic syllabus which changes according to the need of the industry.

Course Structure

Since MBA is a degree program offered by an affiliated university, chances of having the latest syllabus are meagre. This is clearly because a university syllabus is changed once in every three to five years, owing to the time and cost associated with a change of syllabus by the latest faculty. This does not derive that the syllabus is outdated; however, you can certainly say that it is not in tune with the latest trends in the industry. Frequent change in syllabus requires upgradation in faculties, which is seen as a challenge; however, with better faculty introduced, the learning experience can also be enhanced for the budding MBA students. The curriculum of PGDM courses is flexible as compared to MBA as autonomous institutes do not have to follow university standards.

The Focus

An MBA will help in developing technical skills and business knowledge whereas a PGDM will prepare graduates for senior-level positions in industry and paves the way for a strong corporate career. Hence, if you’re looking for a career in the challenging area of management, you should consider PGDM.


Presently, there are various PGDM courses, which follow a trimester system. Trimester system is usually the year split into either two or four term, each term carrying two to four-months. A traditional MBA course consists of two terms or semester in a year, each ranging from four to six months. Differences between MBA and PGDM can also be noticed in terms of the duration of these two programs.

Money matters

MBA degree is affordable as the fee is similar to university standards, while PGDM courses are costlier than MBA courses. The opportunities offered in PGDM are utterly important and not easily available. And that’s why the higher cost.

What after PGDM or MBA?

You should note that all the Universities/Institutions do not accept PGDM as equivalent to MBA into their Ph.D. programs. You are only eligible for Ph.D. if you have done MBA or you have completed PGDM from AICTE approved institutions. Hence, if you wish to pursue Ph.D. after MBA, you must make sure that you have either MBA degree or PGDM from AICTE approved institutions.

Which one should you go for? PGDM or MBA

A million dollar question…right?

Pursuing a management course is a decision of choice. However, the ultimate aim for aspirants must be to attract the top recruiters in the industry who recognize their knowledge and skills at the time of hiring decision. Whatever might be your career objective, MBA/PGDM helps you achieve it. Both MBA and PGDM are appropriate for the kind of person willing to pursue them.

If you’ve made up your mind, also read: Why Do MBA in Pune?

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