MBA vs PGDM, What to Pursue?

Khushboo Kaushik is Content Manager at CareerBuilder India. Her expertise of writing can be uncovered in areas- Employer Branding, Recruitment Trends, Employee Engagement, Tech in HR. Also, a lover of poetry & art. Reach out to her at

Are you in search of clear information about MBA and PGDM course prior to confirming the decision you would take for your career? Every aspirant falls into this dilemma of ‘which career to choose?’ once in his lifetime. Whether it is about choosing between a specialized MBA degree or opting for PGDM, the confusion remains consistent in the psyche of the graduate who has recently given a ‘farewell’ to his graduate’s life. The objective of both MBA, as well as, PGDM programs is to design students’ career in the management domain.

What are MBA and PGDM programs?

PGDM, as the name suggests refers to Post Graduate Diploma in Management. MBA, on the contrary, offers a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Both the programs provide education about managerial subjects, which eventually help students become management professionals.

What’s the common myth about PGDM and MBA?

The term, ‘Diploma’ assigned to Post Graduation in Management, which is not the case with MBA which is a degree program puzzles psyche of the aspirant and it is where the confusion begins. Graduates often ask, does PGDM after a Bachelor’s degree hold any value? Truth lies in the quality of education provided in the programs not in their names. MBA program is ideally meant for students who want to pursue a regular degree course and gain comprehensive knowledge of the management subjects. PGDM on the contrary, 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.

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This common myth has long been a popular topic of debate over MBA vs PGDM.  However, to provide you a transparent picture, understand where is the key difference between MBA and PGDM?

MBA vs PGDM, What to Pursue?
Breaking the Myths of Graduates

MBA & PGDM: Key Differentiators

Institution or University?

In India, MBA degree is offered by universities, which are regulated by University Grants Commission or UGC. For instance, 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. PGDM degree course on the contrary, is offered by several private institutions, which need not to be affiliated to a university.

Therefore, aspirants perplexed about MBA and PGDM must be aware about this distinction among the two programs in terms of their affiliations.

Current Syllabus or Outdated One?

Since, MBA is a degree program offered by an affiliated university, chances of latest syllabus are low. This is clearly because a university syllabus is changed once in every three to five years, owing to the time and cost associated with change of syllabus by latest faculty. This does not mean, that the syllabus is outdated, however certainly not in tune with the latest trends of the industry. Frequent change in syllabus requires upgradation in faculties, which is a challenge for education industry however, with better faculty introduced, the learning experience can also be enhanced for the budding MBA students.

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PGDM institutions indeed enjoy certain benefits over MBA colleges, one of which is upgraded syllabus and design. The curriculum is revamped more frequently, or regularly based on the current trends and needs of the industry, making PGDM programs more competitive despite their duration of course. Presently, pursuing PGDM programs from institutions such as ISB, IIM, and other top institutes in India, offer higher value to students and ultimately higher packages.

Number of Semesters?  

Presently, there are various PGDM courses, which follow a trimester system. Trimester system is usually the year split in either two or four terms, each term carrying two to four months. For instance, IMT in Ghaziabad which offers PGDM program has four semesters in the first year and three terms in the second. 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.

Which is More Valuable? MBA or PGDM?

According to some professors and teachers, value of a course importantly depends on the institute it is availed from more than the degree or diploma. Top institutes such as IPE, XLRI, ISB offering PGDM hold brand value and are widely acknowledged by the industry.  Colleges such as, FMS and Amity are again known for their names attached to them and widely recognized for offering world-class MBA education to global students.

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When choosing between MBA and PGDM, here are brief tips for aspirants to bear in mind:

  • Ranking of the institute
  • Accreditation of the institute
  • Brand value of the institute
  • Alumni network
  • Reviews of college/institute

Realize that even the best of colleges or institutes have a percentage of worst performers, so do not form your decision basis on those low ranked students. It is your passion, your dedication and your ambition that will pave out the gateway to your career success in the field of management.

Presently, recruiters are looking out for best talent and not talent that is only coming out of a reputable institute but has no knowledge of the subject. Pursuing a management course is a decision of choice. However, the ultimate aim for aspirants must be to attract the top recruiters of the industry who recognize their knowledge and skills at the time of hiring decision.

Hope you enjoyed reading the blog.

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