PGDM vs MBA: Differences, Similarities, How to Choose One

PGDM vs MBA: Differences, Similarities, How to Choose One

PGDM vs MBA? Why is it a diploma programme called the PGDM and not an MBA degree programme? You may have given this question some attention as you searched for the finest management course. You realise that some business schools you want to enrol in offer PGDM programmes rather than the MBA you want.

The terms PGDM and MBA initially relate to a post-graduate diploma in management and a master's degree in business administration, respectively. There are several noticeable parallels and differences between the two two-year programs, even though both are offered by renowned B-schools and are intended to prepare students for lucrative management professions.

What is an MBA?

The institution the college offering the course is associated with has accredited an MBA, a 2-year post-graduate degree programme with several specialisations.

Future company leaders and entrepreneurs benefit from the course's assistance in building their management and business skills. An MBA is given to students who complete a two-year management programme.

Success in this course simplifies launching a career in the candidate's desired field.

What is a PGDM?

AICTE-recognized autonomous B-schools that provide the PGDM business management programme can be separate from any universities to offer the programme.

Depending on the programme chosen, PGDM courses might last 1 or 2 years. However, it should be emphasised that a PGDM programme must last two years to be considered an MBA programme comparable.

Through the development of relevant hard and soft skills, this course meets the needs of the industry and turns management hopefuls into management professionals who are prepared for the workplace.

Even though a PGDM is a diploma programme rather than a degree program, it is regarded as having equal value to an MBA both domestically and internationally.

Why are an MBA and a PGDM regarded to be similar?

The MBA and PGDM are equivalent to admission into the industry or for graduate study.

Both programmes teach managerial skills, but what matters to employers is the business school's educational standards, unique selling points, alum success stories, and the value its graduates add to the workplace. In truth, recruiters do not even differentiate between these students and the PGDM students at business schools that provide a one-year management "certificate" program, sometimes PGPM, PGP, or other names, depending on the b-school. Students are hired solely based on how well they meet the recruiter's standards for work experience, educational background, and skill sets.

The same applies to enrolling in higher education programmes like a PhD or fellowship. The PGDM diploma is equivalent to an MBA degree in terms of validity for pursuing a PhD. A degree was considered more valuable than a diploma at the undergraduate level. However, the value of post-graduate courses, such as management programs, is determined by the quality and value of the B-school and the program rather than the terminology.

What are the distinctions between an MBA and a PGDM?

1. Degree vs Diploma:

The significant difference between the two courses is that PGDM is a diploma programme, while the MBA is a degree programme. An MBA programme may be offered by a public, private, or institution with a university affiliation. Only specific institutions regulated by the University Grants Commission can award degrees. (UGC).

PGDM programmes are offered by both B-schools that have acquired AICTE recognition and standalone/autonomous B-schools under the Ministry of HRD umbrella, independent of the UGC. Both programmes' graduates are equally qualified for the same managerial positions. It's important to note that the corporate world does not distinguish between them.

However, the IIM legislation of 2017 designated the 20 current IIMs as Institutions of National Importance and gave them the right to confer MBA degrees; before that, they only could offer diplomas, much like every other private business school. To evaluate which programme will put you in the spotlight of promising recruiters, you must instead emphasise key quality indicators, including faculty, curriculum, campus, peer group, rankings and accreditations, and placements.

2. Curriculum:

Curriculum updates have a particular rigour to keep up with the corporate environment and economic climate changes. Most MBA programmes follow a set curriculum and tend to be more theoretical. Symbiosis and NMIMS are private universities with more frequent curriculum modifications, nevertheless. Over three to five years, these modifications take place.

On the contrary, the PGDM curriculum is open to change or update at the b-school's discretion to keep up with changing industry standards and requirements. Because of their ability to maintain their competitive edge, schools are encouraged to innovate widely in pedagogy and curriculum. Such programmes also enable greater application-based, practical learning than pure theoretical learning.

The curriculum design process for any excellent PGDM programme would incorporate industry veterans. These veterans contribute wisdom that encourages the integration of cutting-edge technology into management curricula, including artificial intelligence (AI), design thinking, and business analytics.

In keeping with this, it's crucial to remember that all colleges connected to a certain university would take identical MBA exams, which the specific universities provide. The tests are given by the institutions, in the case of private b-schools and IIMs, who greatly influence their evaluation criteria.

3. Teaching Methodology:

A top-notch PGDM programme provides much more than just in-class instruction. In PGDM courses, case study pedagogy is highly valued since these cases assist students in learning how principles are applied in practice and are based on historical and modern business situations that have changed the field over time. To build various soft skills necessary for management professionals, learning also occurs outside the classroom through extracurricular activities, social initiatives, events, contests, etc.

Intense industry interaction programmes that assist students in PGDM programmes in contact with many thought leaders and CXOs blur the lines between theory and actual application and give them an industry perspective. For instance, the PGDM programme provided by Great Lakes Institute of Management includes live projects, summer internships with prestigious corporations, regular guest lectures, conclaves, and symposiums - all of which aid in developing strong leadership, managerial, and analytical skills, all of which are essential for a successful management career.

4. Fee Structure:

The cost of MBA programmes is quite low because universities and colleges offer them, most of which receive grants from the UGC and government funding. For its two-year MBA program, the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), one of India's best MBA institutes under Delhi University, charges INR 1.92 lakhs. The upshot is significantly higher course fees because institutions and independent business schools that run PGDM programs, primarily on-campus, are responsible for funding their costs. 

However, these fees are utilised to give cutting-edge curriculum, enable faculty exposure to the outside world, provide cutting-edge facilities, and prepare students for in-demand jobs. A PGDM programme is unquestionably a significant financial commitment. Many banks and financial institutions offer loans with low-interest rates for such great PGDM programmes.

5. Entrance Exam Criteria:

Many universities and institutions accept grades from state-level exams, including the MAHCET, TSICET, PGCET, and TANCET, for MBA programmes. A few elite colleges also conduct their tests, like the XAT (XLRI), SNAP (Symbiosis), and IIFT EXAM (IIFT). Both programmes accept results from various competitive exams, including the CAT, MAT, GMAT, XAT, and CMAT.

Regarding entrance exams, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all theory. For instance, the most popular exam in India, the CAT, is not approved by the Indian School of Business (ISB). Since shortlisting would also depend on other variables, including past academic and professional performance, achievements, various backgrounds, etc., PGDM institutions might not have a specific admission score cut-off but rather a safe score threshold. The admittance requirements for your chosen schools are based on these test results. You must therefore be aware of the exam results that those schools desire and their cut-off or safe-score requirements to prepare appropriately.

6. Your Goal

Your life's ultimate goal is what counts. What do you want your management degree to help you achieve? Do you intend to pursue a certain profession in the future? This should 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. Consider thinking about your budget while purchasing it.

The PGDM programme at any elite university will surely prepare students for a profession with excellent remuneration. Graduates of the PGDM curriculum may have an advantage that enables them to remain more practical and relevant in the industry for longer because of the programme's pedagogy and direct industry connection. But an MBA from a recognised school With industry experience can also help you reach specific immediate professional goals at a far lower cost.

Colleges offering MBA and PGDM courses

Before choosing, exploring and evaluating several universities is generally a good idea. It's crucial to remember that India has many PGDM vs MBA institutions that provide top-notch instruction and promising employment opportunities. These are a few of the top universities that offer these courses:

Top four MBA Schools in India:

1. IIM, Ahmedabad: The Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad is one of India's most esteemed management schools. It is famous across the world for its high standard of instruction. The institute offers a two-year full-time MBA programme with several concentrations, including finance, marketing, operations, and strategy. Students get the chance to connect with industry experts and business leaders, and the curriculum is created to provide them with a thorough grasp of business management and leadership. Graduates typically receive a pay package of roughly INR 26 LPA, with INR 60 LPA being the maximum offer.

2. ISB Hyderabad: An MBA programme at the Indian School of Management, a private business school, lasts one year full-time. The curriculum is geared toward seasoned professionals and is listed by the Financial Times as one of the top 25 worldwide business schools. Students get the chance to meet with corporate executives and industry experts, and the curriculum is set up to provide them with hands-on, comprehensive learning experiences in business management. Graduates typically receive a wage package of about INR 25 LPA, with INR 50 LPA being the largest package available.

3. XLRI Jamshedpur: One of India's most prestigious and established business schools, Xavier School of Management offers a two-year full-time MBA programme with concentrations in business management, human resource management, and other fields. Students get the chance to meet with business executive and industry experts, and the curriculum is created to provide them with a solid foundation in the management and leadership of businesses. Graduates typically receive a wage package of about INR 24 LPA, with INR 45 LPA being the largest package available.

4. IIM Calcutta: One of the top business schools in the country is the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, which provides a two-year full-time MBA programme with concentrations in finance, marketing, operations, and other fields. The programme will teach students a strategic and cutting-edge approach to company management. The average graduating compensation package is about INR 25 LPA, with the full package being over INR 50 LPA, and students can network with corporate leaders and industry experts.

Top four PGDM Schools in India:

1. MDI, Gurgaon: A two-year full-time PGDM programme with specialities in finance, marketing, operations, and other fields is offered by Management Development Institute, a renowned management institution. The curriculum aims to give students a hands-on, experiential understanding of business management. Students can participate in internships, business visits, and other events that enrich their educational prospects. Graduates typically receive a pay package of roughly INR 22 LPA, with INR 40 LPA being the maximum offer.

2. SPJIMR, Mumbai: The highly regarded business school SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, located in Mumbai, provides a two-year full-time PGDM degree with concentrations in finance, marketing, operations, and other fields. Students get the chance to connect with industry experts and business leaders, and the curriculum is created to provide them with a thorough grasp of business management and leadership. Graduates typically receive a wage package of roughly INR 22 LPA, with INR 50 LPA being the largest package available.

3. IMT, Ghaziabad: A two-year full-time PGDM programme with concentrations in finance, marketing, operations, and other fields is offered by the prestigious business school Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad. The course material is created to give students a thorough and practical introduction to business management. Students can participate in internships, real-world projects, and other activities that enrich their educational options. Graduates typically receive a wage package of roughly INR 12 LPA, with INR 25 LPA being the largest package available.

4. SIBM, Pune: A two-year full-time MBA programme with concentrations in finance, marketing, operations, and other fields is available from the top-ranked B-school Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune. The curriculum is created to provide students with a solid foundation in business management and leadership. Students can participate in internships, industrial visits, and other activities that enrich their learning experiences. Graduates often receive a wage package of roughly INR 20 LPA, with INR 35 LPA being the largest package available.

Graduates who desire to pursue a career in management need clarification on PGDM vs MBA programs. Independent institutes offer PGDM programmes, whereas MBA programmes are often offered by universities and schools linked with them. Students should select the curriculum that best matches their job objectives and aspirations out of the two options because each one has special characteristics and advantages. Employers in the sector place great value on graduates from the abovementioned institutions and institutes among the most renowned and respected in India.

Which one to choose between an MBA and a PGDM?

This article discussed the similarities and differences between the MBA and PGDM programmes. Additionally, we discussed the prerequisites for admission to the PGDM and MBA programmes and the precautions to take while deciding. For these two courses, many data points were presented and compared.

Although the PGDM vs MBA programmes differs in several ways, the primary determining factor is the institution that offers each programme. Recruiters typically assess a student's degree or certificate based on their skill set, the institution's reputation, and their educational background.

Although PGDM programmes are believed to emphasise developing students' skill sets, MBA programmes emphasise management theory.

Highest paying jobs after PGDM vs MBA

Several variables affect PGDM pay, including job position, employment location, experience level, and firm type. Among the highest-paying positions available to PGDM graduates are:

  • Investment Banker. Although the pay for investment bankers varies greatly between organisations, the average starting income may be 8 to 10 lakhs per year. After a few years of experience, it may even rise to 50 to 80 lakhs.
  • Project Manager – Depending on the city and the employer, project managers' salaries might range from 20 to 30 lakhs annually.
  • Management Consulting – Management consultants may earn between 20 and 30 lakhs a year, depending on several factors.
  • Business Development Manager – Managers of business development receive competitive pay. Their annual average salary is in the range of 15 lakhs. Working with prestigious companies, though, might push this amount far further.
  • Marketing Manager – The marketing departments have some of the highest-paid employees. When performance bonuses are not included, the typical compensation for marketing managers might be close to 12 lakhs.
  • Sales Manager – The beginning pay averages eight lakhs annually because they produce income.
  • Business Analyst – Beginning salaries for business analysts could range from Rs 5 Lacs to Rs 11 Lacs.

A great career path is PDGM for those who are determined and keen to learn. People with PGDMs strive to lead others and are at the top of their fields of expertise. After gaining some experience, they are paid large compensation slabs, typically exceeding 50 lakhs annually.


Now that you know everything about the differences between PGDM vs MBA, it's up to you to decide which is best for you! However, consider the following when selecting one of these programmes:

  • Compare the cost of an MBA and PGDM.
  • Examine the course offerings. While MBA covers management theory principles, PGDM focuses more on practical expertise.
  • India and global job context: If one graduate from a reputable university, there is no distinction between PGDM and MBA in terms of employment.
  • Educational Context: Candidates with an MBA degree are always given preference when applying for higher education, such as a PhD.

There is, therefore, no distinction between an MBA and a PGDM if a person is not interested in continuing their education.

PGDM vs MBA: Differences, similarities, how to choose one: FAQs

Q.1 What distinguishes the MBA from the PGDM?

A PGDM is a post-graduate diploma from a private college or university connected with AICTE. In contrast, an MBA is a management degree awarded by a university.

Q.2 PGDM vs MBA: Which is more valuable?

MBA and PGDM worth is calculated based on the course curriculum, institute ranking, and reputation.

Q.3 Is PGDM an MBA substitute?

Since the PGDM is a diploma programme and the MBA is a degree program, we cannot say the two programmes are interchangeable. However, the curriculum for the MBA and PGDM is generally comparable.

Q.4 Do IIMs provide a PGDM or MBA?

Yes, IIMs provide PGDM and MBA programmes.

Q.5 Which of the PGDM or MBA is better?

The curriculum, pedagogy, faculty, industry, and worldwide exposure will determine the quality of the management course regardless of whether you opt for an MBA or PGDM.

Q.6 Can we continue with an MBA after finishing PGDM?

Candidates can enrol in MBA programmes following a PGDM, yes.

Q.7 What options exist for higher study after earning an MBA and PGDM?

Students who have earned an MBA can go on to seek a PhD in Management, while PGDM candidates cannot.

Q.8 Which PGDM vs MBA programme is most reasonably priced?

In general, MBA programmes cost less than PGDM programmes.

Q.9 Is a PGDM that has received AICTE approval equivalent to an MBA?

Numerous AICTE-approved universities offer PGDM programmes. These schools have greater control over the curriculum and can modify it by current trends. As a result, the PGDM is equal to the MBA degree.

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