What is the difference between MBA and PGDM program?

A lot of MBA aspirants are often confused about the difference between MBA degree and PGDM course. To help you understand the difference between the two and make a more informed choice we have discussed in detail the difference between the two.

What is the difference between MBA and PGDM program?
What is the difference between MBA and PGDM program?

'MBA or PGDM?' this is a very common query raised by almost every MBA aspirant. Students are often confused about the difference between the two courses. And the fact that the top management institutions in the country that is the IIMs offer PGDM degree further adds to the candidates confusion. So, to help you and several other students like you who are confused about the difference between an MBA degree and PGDM we have talked in detail about the two courses along with their similarities and differences.

'MBA' stands for Masters in Business Administration whereas 'PGDM' stands for 'Post Graduate Diploma in Management'. So, MBA basically is a masters level degree courses and as per the Indian Universities Rule only registered and recognized universities can offer a post graduate level degree. PGDM on the other hand is a Post Graduate Level Diploma and can be awarded by institutions who do not have any affiliations to any university. Thus, the top level management institutes in the country such as the IIMs offer the PGDM degrees as they are not affiliated to any universities.

This however leads to another question which is better? An MBA degree or a Management Diploma. Many students are of the opinion that diplomas do not lead to good career opportunities when compared to a university awarded degree. However, this is a mere misconception as you all know Indian Institutes of Management are the top-ranked B-schools in the country and they offer PGDM degree. IIM students have great placement records so how can a PGDM be any less rewarding than an MBA degree? Whether you choose to pursue and MBA degree or a PGDM course the choice is yours. However, there is not much difference when it comes to the academics or the course details of both the programs. The purpose of both these courses is to help you shape your career as management professional.

Also Read: Why should you opt for BBA before joining an MBA course?

Institutions such as IIMs offer a PGDM degree because it allows then the freedom to outline their own educational modules as per the demands and requirements of the industry. The course module can be updated frequently and without much hassle. However, if you wish to pursue an MBA degree then there are many good b-schools that offers MBA degrees such as Symbiosis International University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. You can appear for management entrance exams such as CAT,XAT, SNAP, NMAT, IIFT, CMAT and others to qualify for admission in your dream b-school. Business schools that award MBA degrees are affiliated to some other university and have to follow a set pattern  and strict guidelines of university prescribed syllabus. A two year PGDM course is correspondent to an MBA degree.

For further details with regards to both the courses you can refer below:


    • PGDM course refers to Post Graduate Diploma in Management.
    • The PGDM Programs usually have four semesters, and sometime also Six trimesters, spread for over two years duration.
    • It is an IIM based diploma program approved by the AICTE [All India Council of Technology and Education]. It is inventive course, with high flexibility. Being self-governing it is self-motivated with high placements.
  • AICTE is like a UGC program which conducts both technology and management courses.
  • The solid fact of PGDM is that its syllabus alters in every 4-5 years as it is Industry based advanced course.
  • It is a dynamic program in relation to its structure and livability. Apart from this there are guest lecturers, seminars, panel discussions, workshops etc. to help in the holistic development of student.
  • Institutes that are not allied to any specific university cannot propose MBA and henceforth, they have provide a certificate i.e. Diploma certificate.


  • MBA is referred as Masters in Business Management. It is a Master’s level Degree.
  • This was originated in USA to give a scientific approach to the Management skills.
  • MBA is an internationally recognized degree awarded to students who have studied master level business or management related courses.
  •  In India the institutes which are affiliated to a university can offer an MBA degree.
  • For proceeding MBA outside our country you need to clear GMAT or GRE exams which requires:
  1. letters of references
  2. Good English skills with TOEFL or IELTS skill score.
  3. An essay on ‘Why you want to pursue MBA’?
  • MBA is a University based degree program approved by the UGC. It has low flexibility and has strict regulations.
  • It could be from a recognized foreign university or an Indian University.
  • MBA leaves scope for further studies from any University.
  • MBA degree can be given only by those colleges which are affiliated to a university.

Consequently one can say that PGDM courses are more Industry pertinent when contrasted with MBA courses. According to Mr. V. Venkataramana, former Dean, School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, “An MBA is for those who seek a university program to get a holistic view while the PGDM is for those who seek specialization in the area of their interest.”

Also Read

MBA FAQs: Getting Started for MBA

MBA FAQs: Life after MBA

How helpful is work experience before MBA?


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