“Which one is better: MBA or PGDM,” asked a management aspirant in an event held by Asia-Pacific Institute of Management. We see a lot of students grappling with this question. And many times, they do not seem to find a satisfactory answer to their question. That’s precisely what made me write down this post. In this post, I will introduce you to both the courses, highlight their pros and cons, and along the way will try to help you make a good choice.

MBA and PGDM – An Introduction

See both MBAs and PGDMs are management programs. MBAs have been around for decades. While PGDMS are kind of new entrants in the field. The two courses have a lot of similarities, too.  The core subjects are more or less the same. You learn the fundamentals of accounting, human resource management, marketing, operations, finance, and other things that make up a successful business venture. So are the companies that hire the MBA and PGDM graduates. You also tend to be offered similar job profiles, whether you pursue an MBA course or a PGDM program.

MBA and PGDM – The Differences

  • Degree Vs Diploma MBA is a degree program. Whereas PGDM is a diploma course. But this should not be the reason of choosing MBA over PGDM or PGP. In fact, if you Google, you will get to know that the top management institutes in India, including all the IIMs along with S P Jain Mumbai and XLRI Jamshedpur, offer either PGDM or PGP programs, or not MBAs. So, both the courses offer you value, and you should opt for the program on the basis of the reputation of the college, its placement history, its faculty, and other relevant factors.
  • Syllabus Usually, PGDM institutes or colleges tend to be autonomous bodies, which mean they do not have to be affiliated with any university. This gives them the freedom to design their own course curriculum and keep updating it whenever. When an Institute secures autonomy they design their own curriculum to be taught instead of following outdated University syllabus. I have mentioned outdated syllabus because the syllabus change at University level happens once in either 3 or 5 years. Where as in PGDM, since the colleges have autonomy the curriculum can be updated regularly depending on the need in the Industry. Hence one can say that PGDM courses are more Industry relevant, up to date as compared to MBA courses. A student pursuing a PGDM course will be gaining knowledge regarding building soft skills. The teachers who are teaching in PGDM can combine management theories and computer software’s to enhance analytical skills of his/her students. Hence many PGDM institutes are offering courses like Financial Analytic, Marketing Analytic, Operation Analytic and Human Resource Analytic.
  • Focus You learn more about the theoretical and technical aspects of business management in an MBA course. PGDM courses, on the other hand, are built around the actual and practical needs of the world of business. And that’s what makes MNCs and other companies to prefer PGDM students over their MBA counterparts.
  • Cost and Placement In comparison to a PGDM courseMBAs are generally more affordable as the fees are almost similar to university standard. Some private universities, however, are charging huge fees. Second and the most crucial point is that MBA departments of many universities do not offer placement services. And even if they do, the placements tend to be average, in terms of companies and salary packages. The PGDM institutes in India, on the other hand, usually offer way better placement services.At the end, both the courses tend to prepare you for careers in organisations operating across sectors including FMCG, Banking, Finance, Retail, Manufacturing, and IT. Both the courses have their pros and cons. So you should take your time, and look beyond just MBA vs. PGDM.



Dr. Samiran Jana

Asia-Pacific Institute of Management