MBA v/s PGDM: What should you choose?

The one question that has withstood the test of time and has formed a basis for ample confusion for management aspirants – is the choice to make between the two courses PGDM and an MBA.

Through this article let us try to clear some of the grey areas. While offering education in management, the two courses are distinctly unique.

MBA or Masters in Business administration is a degree offered by institutions that are affiliated to recognised universities. An MBA is a varsity recognised program that follows a prescribed academic curriculum. Institutes offering the course must strictly follow the syllabi as designed by the academic body.  An MBA gives a holistic view of the management program, preparing the management student for the world outside, making them reliant to take up challenging opportunities.

An MBA program offers extremely experienced faculty, with specialisations in the field of management. Typically, a lot of their time has been invested in teaching and developing management methodology. Some of the best colleges in the country offer MBA programs to aspirants, allowing them to develop their network of alumni. Strong elements of personal growth and an ever changing, evolving environment helps the student attain self-confidence and preparedness.

However, there are certain demerits to the offerings of the programme. An MBA teaches you management fundamentals as an umbrella- going into the broader aspects of subjects like history, civics, environmental sciences and so on. An MBA degree does not lay emphases on the core areas / subjects of interest.

Taking advantage of this – many autonomous colleges started to roll out PGDM – or Post Graduate Diploma in Management. These institutes are bodies which arenot affiliated to a varsity/university.  Hence offering a degree course becomes out of the question for them. These bodies offer independent management courses like a PGDM – which lay out in-depth knowledge of a specialised subject of interest.

Institutes offering PGDM courses are affiliated to the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). AICTE is abody that allows institutes to offer PGDM, under its aegis – with the broad curriculum provided to them. The institutes enjoy ample flexibility to make changes to the academics as well design the curriculum,keeping with the norms of AICTE.This makes the course more industry relevant vis- a vis an MBA.The curriculum for a PGDM courses gets updated more frequently than that of an MBA – which is updated once in ever 3-4 years.

Over the years – various new subjects have been added to the curriculum for PGDM – namely Financial technology, Social Media Management and other such areas which are relevant to the current scenario. Fundamentals of e- commerce and online business management + revenue generation are other areas which have picked up steam. Panel discussions and guest lectures by eminent people from particular industries have become quite the norm and are held regularly by colleges offering this course. An MBA does not enjoy this edge because the institutes offering the course should follow strict guidelines for recruiting its faculty. For instance, a professor teaching at an MBA college must hold a degree from a recognised university, should have taught the relevant subject for a certain number of years and so on. For the newly introduced subjects in a PGDM curriculum, such factors may not hold good.


PGDM course will offer technical knowledge making the management student sound with respect to practical application of fundamentals learned through the course. This makes for a brighter start to a career, as well as a future, as compared to an MBA.

For instance, a PGDM graduate with specialisation in Marketing and HR – is bound to secure more relevant offers in the industry space, when compared to a general MBA degree holder.

Both the MBA and PGDM courses last for a period of two years. The difference being that the PGDM course is divided into semesters with practical internships thrown in at the end of each term.

Many management aspirants get disillusioned by the fact that the PGDM course is a “diploma” while the MBA is a “degree”. However,looking at the long term carer objectives and goals, the PGDM course, even though it offers a diploma, is more relevant. As they say, everything comes with an expiry date – an MBA comes with a date sooner than before. As far as the job market is concerned, the PGDM course is more relevant, and tailor made to suit industry requirements.  It might be beneficial to know that most of the well- known B – schools of the country offer a PGDM and not an MBA! An MBA degree is usually taken up by people well after spending time in the corporate world learning the trade.

The latest statistics show that the top 10 management schools in the country offering PGDM courses – garnered an average annual salary of 37 lakhs, with leading companies from the FMCG, Finance and Retail space participating in the placement drive and closing it in record time of 6-10 days. The salaries were recorded to be at least 40 % higher than the MBA courses. (source: Jagran Josh)

To conclude, a couple of pointers a management aspirant must keep in mind while opting between an MBA and a PGDM:

  1. Higher Return on Investment. No doubt the PGDM course is more expensive than the MBA degree – but the salaries at the end of the course more than make up for the investment made on education.
  2. Better preparedness for more challenging roles through the PGDM course – as it concentrates effectively on the core areas and subjects of interest
  3. Better overall developments through various practical activities like seminars, conferences on the job trainings, short internships and projects.
  4. More specialised faculty – experiences Teachers who are actively involved in the corporate sphere.
  5. Last but not the least, wider choices with respect to institutes of study.

The SMS college in Varanasi offers both PGDM and MBA courses. Choosing between the two is subjective in nature, and we can only provide industry indicators.

At the end, it is what you love to do, which makes learning and implementing that a success.


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