MBA vs PGDM: Let’s solve the Dilemma - - IPS BUSINESS SCHOOL

MBA vs PGDM: Let’s solve the Dilemma

The dilemma of MBA vs. PGDM has remained a burning question for all the aspirants willing to pursue a postgraduate course in management. The difficulty often arises due to candidates being not entirely aware of the similarities or differences between MBA and PGDM.

But here we need to emphasize that the topmost and the premier institutions of India, namely IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C which used to confer PGDM degrees, till the IIM-Act 2017, shifted to conferring of MBA degrees as they realized that the word ‘Diploma/Program’ has a stigma attached to it, as there are certain serious disadvantages associated with a PGDM/PGPM degree. Hence, it is essential to know what parameters to look into before getting admission into any particular course – MBA or PGDM.

One of the major differences while comparing MBA and PGDM is that MBA or Master of Business Administration is a degree course that can only be offered by the colleges affiliated to universities, whereas PGDM or Post Graduate Diploma in Management is a diploma course offered by autonomous institutes, not affiliated to any university – hence the value of a PGDM is having its own limitations.

Therefore, let us start by evaluating similarities and differences between MBA and PGDM as it is the key to find which course suits your needs. Below, we have compared MBA vs. PGDM on certain decision-assisting parameters that should give you clarity about their compatibility with your needs.


  • Eligibility
    • For both the programs either graduates with 50% aggregate marks or candidates appearing in the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification are eligible for admission, provided he/she can produce a letter from their college’s head confirming about their present status as claimed.
  • Entrance Exams
  • Awarded Qualification
    • MBA leads to completion of a Degree course whereas PGDM leads to a Diploma qualification
  • Course Structure and Approach
    • MBA will follow a University approved curriculum, with industry-specific skills being implemented by individual institutions. The curriculum will be uniform across institutes affiliated to a university and is mostly a semester-based system.
    • PGDM in the guise to delivering industry oriented program focuses more on building soft skills, lacking theoretical input and is mostly a trimester-based system.
  • Accreditation
    • MBA is accredited by University Grants Commission (UGC) whereas a PGDM Diploma is accredited by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
  • Perception
    • Though both MBA and PGDM are viewed as equivalent during recruitment. The influencing factor for PGDM is mainly the institute offering it. Also, while PGDM courses might be industry-oriented, it faces serious roadblocks while applying to pursue higher education or jobs overseas. This being the main reason for the established IIMs moving towards MBA and abandoning the PGDM/PGPM garb,
    • Even though there might be a few differences in the way these courses – MBA and PGDM are designed, the objective is ultimately to make the student ready for Industry.

A WORD OF CAUTION: But caution needs to be maintained while getting admission to PGDM courses. Since the awarding institutes are autonomous, to check their course’s accreditation becomes of utmost importance, without which there can be severe cases of fraud.

To conclude, keeping other dimensions constant, a careful analysis will tilt the favour in MBA’s scale as:

  • MBA a Degree programme
    • At the end of an MBA programme, students are conferred with MBA degree instead of a Post Graduate Diploma. You do not need any AIU equivalence certificate to accompany your MBA degree while to prove that you have done MBA an equivalence certificate is needed with PGDM.
  • MBA has Global acceptability for employment
    • At the international level, an MBA degree is well recognized for global employment opportunities and is acceptable by all the recruiters. Top B-schools in the world offer MBA degrees and not PGDM diplomas. 
  • MBA degree - requirement for higher studies abroad
    • If you wish to pursue higher studies like a doctoral programme abroad, it is the MBA degree that makes impact and is acceptable. Foreign universities need your MBA degree instead of diploma to offer you admission in Ph.D./Doctoral programme.
  • MBA backed by University
    • MBA degrees are awarded by Universities. There is uniformity in education, learning among all the University affiliated colleges. Besides, students do not have to exercise so much caution while opting for MBA courses offered by the University or University colleges as they carry all the university related credentials as against the private PGDM colleges who sometimes may not follow the AICTE norms meticulously.
    • This happens at the time of fee refund as candidates find it difficult to get their paid PGDM fee back. Since the MBA colleges are affiliated to a University and Universities are controlled by University Grants Commission (UGC), the colleges have to abide by the university norms. In addition to UGC approval, the university affiliated colleges can also get AICTE approval for their different courses.
  • MBA Fee structure is affordable
    • University or university affiliated MBA colleges offer MBA at a lower fee than PGDM programmes. Also, the same college that offers University MBA and AICTE approved PGDM has a low fee structure for MBA and higher fee structure for PGDM. 
    • Since, mostly government approved universities offer MBA degrees, the MBA fee structure is regulated by them even for the private MBA colleges affiliated to them. These universities offer MBA at a subsidised fee as they receive financial aid and grants from the government but since private universities have to manage on their own they have a high fee structure for MBA programmes.
  • Legacy of MBA
    • Except the PGP programmes once offered by the top 3 IIMs and few other top B-schools, MBA programmes are much older. For example, FMS - Delhi University is 60 years old. These MBA colleges have created a huge alumni base as compared to newer PGDM colleges. This helps in high placements also. 

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