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Difference between MBA and PGDM - Which one is better and why?

Home | Difference between MBA and PGDM - Which one is better and why?

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20, April 2022

Every year, thousands of students choose the path of MBA and PGDM for their further studies, for the large variety of career opportunities it has to offer. MBA is basically a management degree, offered by a university. PGDM refers to Post Graduate Diploma in Management, generally offered by private universities and colleges. After graduation, students who want to find a career in business and management, are often in a dilemma about which course they should pursue, which can aid them to find the best possible job in the future. To find out, one must know the important differences between the two courses and then choose as per their preference. This article will explore the differences between the two, and guide aspiring students in their journey of choosing the more suitable career path

What does MBA entail?

MBA is the acronym for Masters in Business Administration and is offered by UGC-approved universities. The degree becomes very vital and helpful when it comes to finding jobs and internships. Not only the students who have studied BBA for their undergraduate apply for MBA Course but also the ones from the other backgrounds, as MBA holds the best possibility of finding an advantageous career option. The course includes subjects of business administration, related to accounting, human resources, management, entrepreneurship, operations management, business ethics, business law and business communication, and basically any skill that is needed to function at the corporate level. The success of an MBA degree in India is proved by how fast the Business schools are fast increasing in numbers

Major differences between MBA and PGDM

Though both the courses impart knowledge based on the same topic, that is, business, both take a different approach towards it and thus a lot of differences between the two courses can be observed. The students have to choose between the two, as per their preferences and according to what suits their needs. The differences are mentioned below:

Form of the Course:-

MBA is a degree course, offered by universities and are UGC affiliated, whereas PGDM is a diploma course offered by private business institutions. While MBA has a more theoretical approach to the topic, PGDM Course (Degree) offers a more practical approach.


As the MBA syllabus is mostly determined by the university, it can be taken that the syllabus and the curriculum for the course, in two colleges under the same university, will be the same, and the syllabus remains the same for many years. The syllabus almost stays the same for 3-7 years. In PGDM however, the syllabus and curriculum are decided by the individual institutions/colleges, and thus no 2 colleges have the exact same PGDM syllabus. Moreover, the syllabus is subject to change every industrial year, as per the decision of the college.

Chances of Fraud:-

Many a time it happens, that various autonomous small institutions declare that they offer PGDM courses, without making proper accommodation for the same. Thus the students have the chance to suffer from fraudulence. On the other hand, MBA courses are mostly offered by renowned universities, and thus the chances of fraudulence are comparatively less. One thing to avoid this is to check for accreditation from authorised signatories and bodies governing the educational regulation.


Although the core subjects are almost the same, the approach is different. PGDM from a good institution teaches the students a lot of other things from outside the book. The syllabus contains case studies, videos from the field, latest developments, to explain the concepts more clearly to the students. Various workshops and extra-curricular activities organised by the students help them to vitalise their analytical skills, managerial skills and leadership qualities, which are needed for the important positions in the field. Whereas, MBA focus more on books.

Cost of Pursuing (Fees and Return on Investment):-

MBA courses have comparatively lower fees than PGDM. The universities receive aid from the government, and thus the students have to bear fewer fees. However, the private colleges offering MBA courses, charge much higher. While considering the fees criteria, students should take into consideration the overall return on investment on both these courses, which means getting a better understanding of which course will quickly cover the fees paid through average salary and the time involved, which would work better in long term.

Duration of the Course:-

Both the courses have a duration of 2 years, but MBA follows a semester pattern, while PGDM follows a trimester pattern.

Average salary after the course (starting):-

It has been observed that students with a PGDM degree have a higher paying salary than students with MBA. The starting salary for MBA graduates is Rs 7-10 lakhs per year, whereas the average starting salary for PGDM graduates is Rupees 12 -15 lakhs per annum.

Career opportunities:-

After completing an MBA one can work as an HR Manager, Business Analyst, Marketing Manager, Finance Advisor, Investment Banker, etc. and after completing a PGDM course, one can work as a Project Manager, Data Scientist, Auditor, Tax Specialist, Consultant, etc.

Admission through Entrance Exams:-

Both the programs accept scores on tests like CAT, MAT, ZAT, etc. Universities offering MBAs also accept scores from state-level examinations. PGDM institutions, unlike MBA, do not have any specific cut-off, but the selection depends on factors such as past academic performance and achievements, apart from the test score.

Modernised Curriculum:-

During the selection of curriculum/syllabus for PGDM courses, the authority seeks advice from industry experts to design a course best suited for the industry, which is not the case in MBA.

Which should one go for— MBA or PGDM?

According to the current condition, it will be more advantageous for the students to opt for PGDM courses, as the course is focused on practical lessons and is more industry-relevant, as per the current job market. As the syllabus is customized every year, there is a possibility that the student will learn and gain experience with a wider variety of business concepts than an MBA. Also, PGDM prepares you for facing real-life field challenges through its out-of-the-book teaching methodology, unlike MBA. However, if there are concerns regarding the generally high fees of management programs, one should choose MBA.


This article can be used as a guide for the students who want to pursue one of the mentioned programs, but are having difficulty in choosing which one will suit them the most. The article contains the major differences between the two programs, according to what the courses have in the bucket for the students pursuing them. We have mentioned all points of difference that separate one course from the other. As mentioned, the prospect of pursuing PGDM as per the business trends in 2022 is better. Nonetheless, students can better understand the requisites and future advantages of both these courses through this article and pick a career more rightfully suited for them.