More than just Acronyms: MBA or PGDM, which one is Better?

Many aspirants who want to get enrolled into Management Studies often ignore or aren’t aware of the significant differences between MBA (Master of Business Administration) and PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management)/PGPM (Post Graduate Program in Management) courses. This is probably because it is not discussed often. Although both are degrees in Business Management, there is a thin line that separates the intrinsic nature of the two, especially since both of them are career-oriented degrees.

With Management courses and Institutes exploding in the sector of higher education in India; aspiring managers ought to understand the difference between MBA and PGDM before moving ahead. Higher studies are not a worthy time for indulging in experiments and getting involved in academic commitments, which may have disadvantageous effects on a person’s career timeline. In pursuit of a management degree, this aspect is overlooked by many candidates. A fundamental understanding may be instrumental in taking a compatible decision that matches career-oriented goals of a student.


The degree of MBA is offered by ‘Universities’ or ‘Colleges that are affiliated to Universities’. There are many Colleges and Institutions that are affiliated to a university and can offer an MBA degree while PGDM is offered by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved Institutions. However, accreditation by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) gives an institute’s PGDM equivalence to MBA. But, it has to be noted that a one-year PGDM course is not equivalent to MBA.


PGDM and PGPM are two different courses. PGPM is an award program and not a degree; and is not an AICTE recognized course. It is not offered by an AICTE approved institution and a student who pursues a PGPM will not qualify for higher studies like PhD since PGPM is an award program and not a degree. A PGPM Course may be of any duration and is offered at the Institute level; whereas PGDM courses are of 2-years duration. They are designed by integrating current management theories with industry specific perspective and allow students to go for higher studies.

The Eternal Dilemma

The dilemma that roots in the minds of candidates is whether to go for a University recognized MBA-degree or a full time PGDM course to be able to become part of a promising management career! It depends on a lot of factors such as entrance exams (CAT, MAT, XAT), GD, PI, Work experience, academic performance etc.

If someone is willing to pursue an MBA degree by correspondence, then a full time PGDM is a better option. Examples of PGDM Institutes in India are- XLRI, IIFT, SP Jain, NMIMS, FIIB etc. On the other hand, if someone wants to go for a management degree from a Central University or a State University, then an MBA degree will have more advantage over a PGDM. Examples of MBA colleges in India are- FMS, SIIB, IITs etc.

Which one is REALLY better?

Both MBA and PGDM are popular courses pursued by a large number of students in India. It largely depends on the perspectives of individuals to ascertain which one to give more weightage. While the curriculum for MBA is designed by Universities, PGDM course curricula are determined by the relevant Institutes. Many private Institutes do not accept recognitions from universities so that they can develop an industry-specific working syllabus. This gives them an opportunity to keep their course up to date. On the other hand, an MBA degree must follow all the regulations set by the higher authorities and implementing changes into the syllabus depends on the University Council.

Your Take

MBA or PGDM, it’s up to you! In the ever-changing dynamics of today’s management environment, it is important for you to determine which course can provide you a sustainable career and make you industry ready! Figure out what your goals are, where you want to stand a few years ahead- choose your options carefully!

u0002Disclaimer: This Article is written by Mr. Santanu Changmai, a member of Corporate Communications Team at Fortune Institute of International Business. The views expressed in the Article are that of the author’s and doesn’t reflect the views of the Institution.

1 comment
  1. @KiranRathod29
    Before I answer this question in detail, you must know the basic difference between the two. An MBA is a degree awarded by those B-schools who are affiliated to an external university. A PGDM is awarded by those B-schools who aren’t authorized to give a degree, and instead offer a diploma certificate. Since that doubt is cleared, let’s answer your original question. It is the course that isn’t better but the college that offers it. For example, pursuing sports MBA in India from reputed institutes such as Symbiosis Sports of Sciences is much better than pursuing a PGDM or an MBA from a so and so college. Therefore, research about the college that offers a PGDM or an MBA, rather than the course per se.
    October 2019