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PGDM or MBA Diploma vs Degree

A great multitude of students aspiring for a career in management, keen on enrolling themselves into a post graduate level management program wonder what they should aim for – PGDM or MBA? Visit any popular MBA forum on the Internet and you are most likely to come across threads discussing the same.

Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM), Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) can all be termed as Masters level management courses. Talking about PGDM or MBA comparison in specific, it’s pretty hard to find differences between the two as both these courses are commercially oriented. Both PGDM and MBA are aimed at equipping students with the required education and skill sets to move up in the corporate world, laying a good foundation for them in the discipline of management. While both these courses are said to deliver similar outcomes in terms of employment prospects, you can find subtle differences between the two. We have listed out and briefly explained these differences below.

PGDM or MBA – The subtle differences

The Diploma vs Degree question

Post the completion of the PGDM or PGPM course you will be handed a diploma by the Institute/college. However, in case of an MBA program, you receive a Master’s degree. A great multitude of students are of the opinion that diploma courses aren’t given the same value and recognition by the business world as a Master’s degree. But that’s far from the truth. It’s important to note here that all the top-rated business schools of the country including Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR, Mumbai), XLRI Jamshedpur and more offer PGDM or PGPM programs, rather than a Master’s degree. Several of these institutes are actually autonomous bodies (implying that they don’t have any university affiliations) which run their own management programs. In fact, the Government of India had passed the IIM Act couple of years ago enabling IIMs to offer degree to their students.

Course Syllabus

In majority of the cases, the curriculum or syllabus of an MBA program is designed primarily by the University offering the degree. The course syllabus as well as the elective subjects are usually the same in all the MBA colleges affiliated to that University. But if you look at a PGDM or PGPM program, the institutes normally design their own curriculum. It gives them a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to update the syllabus based on the changing needs of the industry each year. Resultantly, their students always stay relevant to the changing trends and have a better chance of getting hired by the corporates. Universities on the other hand lag behind in this department and update their syllabus only after a gap of few years.

Chances of fraud

As PGDM or PGPM courses are normally offered by autonomous bodies, the students need to exercise a lot of caution while accepting admission into any such institutes. There are several institutes and colleges that make tall claims in their marketing material, but lack proper accreditation. As MBA degrees are offered by universities, there is a comparatively lower chance of getting cheated.

The cost aspect

Majority of colleges that offer MBA programs charge a lower tuition fee compared to the institutes offering PGDM or PGPM courses. This can also be attributed to the fact that MBA degrees are normally offered by government approved universities and as they receive plenty of grants and financial aid from the government, their programs work out to be cheaper for the students. On the other hand, it’s the students that need to foot the bill of their PGDM or PGPM course, and for all the facilities they avail. However, please remember, this isn’t a strict rule as there are some MBA colleges whose MBA degrees cost almost the same as the expensive PGDM/PGPM institutes.

Focus of the program

Whether it is PGDM or MBA, both the courses have the same core subjects. But if you ask some experts, the MBA programs focus extensively on the technical and theoretical aspects of management instead of taking a practical, hands-on approach. PGDM or PGPM courses on the other hand are industry oriented and help students develop skills that are well aligned with the market requirements.

Below is a comparison between PGDM and MBA program in tabular format to give you a quick overview of the differences between them.





A valid PG level degree

Equivalent to a PG level degree

Approving Authority

Ministry of HRD, Government of India, AICTE and UGC approval required at university level

Ministry of HRD, Government of India, AICTE


Prepared by University and less frequently updated

Approved by AICTE syllabus that is updated on a regular basis depending upon the changing industry needs

Entrance Exam

Conducted by the University

Conducted by the respective institutes who are authorized by AICTE to conduct their exams

Entrance process

Via state level entrance exams like MAH-CET, TISSNET etc.

Via state level entrance exams like MAH-CET, TISSNET etc. as well as national level exams such as ATMA, CAT, XAT, MAT etc.


10 out of Top 100 are institutes that offer an MBA degree, for ex. SCMHRD, FMS etc.

90 out of Top 100 are institutes that offer a PGDM or PGPM course, for ex. IIMs, GIM, MDI, XLRI etc.


The quality of placements vary from college to college. Normally, schools like JBIMS, FMS etc. have an excellent placement record

Varies from institute to institute, however, are comparatively better than colleges offering MBA degrees

Eligibility for Lecturer-ship of PhD

Students with min. 55% marks in MBA are eligible for Lecturer-ship and PhD in Indian Universities

Students with min. 55% in their PGDM or PGPM are eligible for Lecturer-ship and PhD in Indian Universities

Innovative teaching methodologies

There’s not much use of innovative teaching methodologies as syllabus is mostly theoretical and is prepared by a Central Body, for ex. A University

Multi-dimensional and innovative teaching methodologies. More practical approach using simulations, case studies, short-term trainings, presentations and more


A post graduate degree

Equivalent to any MBA degree from any University in India

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