Difference between MBA & PGDM: Which is better?

MBA Vs. PGDM Article

More often than not, these days we come across the term MBA and PGDM that together are misunderstood. Combine that with taboo around the word Diploma and we have confusion as a result. And the confusion is not because of the particular word but around what that word entails when offered by some of the best B schools of the country. In this article we aim to clear the confusion about the difference between MBA & PGDM – two of the major management courses offered in India.


MBA, short for Master of Business Administration, is a Post Graduate Degree in Management. PGDM stands for  Post Graduate Diploma in Management. One often wonders why some colleges and universities offer MBA while others offer PGDM. The answer is simple:

  • MBA is a Master’s degree and only recognized universities or colleges affiliated with such universities are allowed to offer the degree in Business Administration. Such universities follow one single curriculum designed for the course and offer other major degrees like Bachelor’s and Doctorate.

  • PGDM is a course offered by colleges which are not affiliated with recognised universities or are not authorised to offer degrees. And therefore they offer Diploma courses which in a broader view come at the same level as MBA.

We then come to the inference that maybe we should always go for an MBA because it will have more value.

This conclusion arises because of the taboo around the word “Diploma” which in Indian context is not considered equivalent to a degree. But one surprising fact missed out by almost everyone is that there are major renowned colleges that are autonomous, not affiliated to any college and provide PGDM or PGP. These include top notch colleges like the IIMs and XLRI. These institutions never offer MBA instead they offer Diplomas in Management but they are the most sought after colleges in India for management courses. These autonomous colleges have advantages of their own. Because they are not affiliated with any university they are not bound to follow any particular curriculum and therefore they remain updated with the current scenario of industries and management thus increasing the quality level of their education. Not that the universities are outdated but their curriculum is updated once every 3-5 years and with the ever growing industries, keeping abreast with month to month changes in surrounding has become essential to keep up. Which is why autonomous colleges having a good brand name are preferred even if they offer PGDM over other MBA offering colleges.

So the question arises, which is better in the longer run, MBA or PGDM?

There are two answers to this question.

India and Global Job context:

In terms of job prospects, there is absolutely no difference between MBA and PGDM if one comes from a reputed B School. In India, 9 out of 10 best B colleges offer PGDM. Placements are depends on the brand name of the college, alumni network and what is the impression of your institute in the industry. That is why we see top management colleges offer PGDM very limited colleges offer MBA. The performance and appraisals are not based on a person’s credentials but solely is based on performance.

Educational Context:

In case one wishes to continue with their higher studies by going for a PhD or double MBA, preference is always given to a candidate with an MBA degree. Even though difference between both is very less, MBA degree is given an edge for the simple reason that it is a Master’s Degree and not a Master’s Diploma.

Therefore if someone is not looking for further studies in the field then there is absolutely no difference between an MBA and a PGDM. What should be kept in mind though is that PGDM should be pursued from an institute having a standard and name in the industry.


There are some brands of educational institutes that offer both MBA & PGDM programs to cater to both kind of crowds – those who are happy with tag PGDM & those who insist on getting an MBA degree itself.

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