Difference between PGDM and MBA

Difference between PGDM and MBA – Busting the Common Misconceptions

Travelling and living on your own, exploring the new culture, lifestyle and studying in a different city has been a dream of many youngsters in India. Some students start dreaming about pursuing their management career early in life and start gathering information right when they are in school. Whereas, there are others who dream about pursuing a management degree when they are still in undergrad colleges. Majorly, there are two sought after courses a student chooses from – Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) or Masters in Business Administration (MBA). But then, the next question is which course should you pursue?

There are thousands of Indian students who line up every year to apply for these courses. However, most of them don’t have clarity on the difference between both the courses. Like any important life-changing decision, everyone who wishes to go for a management course starts doing their research from scratch. If you want to study and live in another city, you obviously tend to research about the scholarships available, part-time jobs, rented apartments, your expenses in detail. But what after all this toil and hard work? You won’t stop here. You also research about the scope of you getting a job after you pass out from the college. Questions such as how to make a comfortable living haunt you. We, at ISBR, ensure that you are not alone in your research. Now, let us understand both these courses – Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) or Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

Similarities between PGDM and MBA

PGDM and MBA are both business-oriented management courses at Master’s level. Both the courses prepare you for the same game; it is just that their names are different. Both the courses equip a person well to enter into the management field. In terms of employment opportunities too, both have the same market. Employers don’t differentiate between the candidates who’ve done PGDM or MBA. They treat them the same way, and the selection entirely depends on how your interview goes.

Although both the courses look same on the outlook, there are some subtle differences. There are several misconceptions around this. So, let us help you understand them more so that you can make a wise decision.

Difference between PGDM and MBA

What’s in the name?

As the name suggests, PGDM is a diploma and MBA is a degree. We all know that diplomas have a certain level of stigma attached to them in the Indian society. But don’t be under the impression that a diploma doesn’t hold the same value as a degree. MBA is a degree course offered by the govt. as well as private universities whereas PGDM is a diploma course offered by the autonomous colleges or B-schools recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Government of India’s nodal body for technical education.

Who can offer what?

Earlier, only the colleges affiliated to a university could offer an MBA degree. Therefore, colleges such as Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), affiliated to the University of Delhi offer an MBA degree. The autonomous institutes such as the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), XLRI, MDI, ISB, etc. used to offer only PGDM as they are not affiliated to any university. But, after the passing of the IIM Act, 2017, the Govt. of India has authorized the IIMs to award an MBA degree for the courses they offer. However, only some of the IIMs have exercised this option and have started offering MBA degrees while others are still offering PGDM.

What about the course duration and curriculum?

With respect to the course duration, an MBA degree is a two-year-long course whereas depending on the type of programme you choose, PGDM course can be either one-year-long or two years long. As far as the curriculum is concerned, there is a major difference. As an MBA is offered by the colleges affiliated to a university, the curriculum is designed and approved by the university itself and is mostly theoretical. There is less or no scope of improvement as the university guidelines are rigid, and the college needs to adhere to them.

However, the PGDM courses are designed independently by the institutes themselves and the programme is industry-oriented and works on the overall development of students, including the soft skills as they aim to align their curriculum to suit the trends of the corporate world. It’s more practical and flexible. Most of the MBA courses follow the semester-based system, whereas the PGDM courses follow a trimester based system.

PGDM or MBA: What should you choose?

  1. The credibility of the institution: Apart from some famous institutions such as the IIMs, FMS, MDI, etc., one should always do a background check. Since autonomous institutions offer PGDM, make sure the one you join is not fraudulent and has proper accreditations. MBAs are more secure as they are offered by colleges affiliated to universities.
  2. Your budget: This is certainly one of the underpinning factors. Generally, earning an MBA degree is economical compared to the PGDM because the MBA colleges usually get some financial aid from the govt. To give you an idea, the course fee ranges from Rs. 25,000 at FMS, Delhi to Rs. 24,00,000 (approx.) at IIM, Ahmedabad. Sure, you can get a student loan but only to be repaid later when you start working. So, make sure you get a higher ROI.
  3. Your Goals: If you just want a Master’s degree and add another academic qualification to your CV, then going for a low-cost MBA suits you. But if you are cut out for the corporate world, then you are free to join PGDM or MBA because honestly, in that scenario, only the B-school you join matters the most.

Let’s look at some average salaries of some top B-schools in India:

B-School Average Salary
IIM Calcutta Rs. 28 LPA
ISB Hyderabad Rs. 26 LPA
XLRI Rs. 24 LPA
IIM Lucknow Rs. 24 LPA
IIM Kozhikode Rs. 23 LPA

Obviously, everyone can’t get 99+ in CAT and secure an admission in the IIMs, XLRI and FMS but that doesn’t mean they are doomed. There are many good B-schools and MBA colleges to choose from in various cities in India that offer you a good MBA/PGDM degree at a much lower cost. Choose the right college with good infrastructure, academically sound faculty and an innovative teaching methodology. Just make sure you get a good ROI after completing your degree.

Despite several differences between the two courses – MBA and PGDM, the major influencing factor is the institution providing them. From the perspective of securing a well-paying job with a top company, any reputed business school in India is good to join.  Therefore, the right question to ask shouldn’t be which course should I join but which B-school should I join?

About ISBR

ISBR Business School, Bangalore based, Top Class B School for PGDM or MBA, Consistently ranked as best B School in India, AICTE-CII Platinum Catagory , with multiple specializations.