With the rise of corporate industries and entrepreneurship in India, more and more students wish to pursue higher management studies to build a successful career for themselves in this domain. Choosing between an MBA and a PGDM is one of the most challenging phases that a student goes through while chalking out their career plan and joining the bandwagon of future managers. Most students fail to understand the difference between an MBA and a PGDM when it comes to their curriculum, fees, scope, and many more. While many think the two courses are different, few also recognize both as the same, with just a distinction in the name.
"The foremost variance between both the courses is that PGDM is offered by autonomous bodies, whereas MBA is a degree course offered by colleges affiliated to universities"
Master of Business Administration (MBA) is among the most popular post-graduate programmes chosen by students who want to pursue higher education. The two-year programme is considered to be a doorway to numerous job opportunities in the corporate world. On the other hand, Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) is a management course offered by autonomous institutes. Also, a two-year programme, PGDM, offers various rewarding opportunities to students in the management industry. Both courses provide management education but vary from each other in several ways. A prospective student needs to understand the particular relevance of each programme in the industry to make an informed decision.
Here are some of the distinct factors that make an MBA different from a PGDM-
Affiliation and Accreditation
The foremost variance between both the courses is that PGDM is offered by autonomous bodies, whereas MBA is a degree course offered by colleges affiliated to universities. According to Indian law, only universities can provide an MBA degree while autonomous bodies that run independently cannot. However, this does not mean that independent colleges are not reliable or recognized. Institutes that are recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) make a college's PGDM course equivalent to that of an MBA provided by university affiliated programmes.
While both courses aim to create management professionals, the syllabus of both differs significantly. MBA courses are designed by universities and are therefore rigid as compared to the PGDM syllabus. The PGDM curriculum is formulated by the institutes and is thereby updated regularly according to industry standards. The curriculum of an MBA course is considered to be more theoretical while a PGDM concentrates on the technical features, providing exposure to real-life industry circumstances. PGDM course is thus more beneficial for candidates as it nurtures practical management skills with the consideration of industrial viewpoints.
Since MBA colleges follow university rules, they accept scores of state-level entrance examinations such as TAN-CET, MAH-CET, MET-MP. Top private universities also conduct their own entrance exams such as SNAP, TISS, NMAT, IRMA, IBSAT. On the other hand, numerous autonomous colleges can select from one or many of the six approved entrance exams like MAT, GMAT, CAT, XAT, CMAT, ATMA. Common Admission Test (CAT) is the mandatory entrance exam for India residents to get admission in the IIMs.
Since universities offer MBA courses and are approved by the government, these colleges get some financial support from the government, thereby making the degree more economical for students. In the case of a PGDM, the student has to bear all the expenses of the programme as there is no financial support from the government. This results in the tuition fees for an MBA being considerably lower than the costs of a PGDM. However, the fees structure may fluctuate from college to college, and some private universities can charge the same amount for an MBA as a B-school charges for PGDM.
Scope and Career
Since both programmes offer the same education in the management context, there is little to no difference in how the Indian and the global industry treats a PGDM or an MBA. Both courses are considered to have equal value in terms of career prospects. However, since the MBA curriculum is usually rigid and theoretical, students with a PGDM gain an edge over others. PGDM graduates are equipped with knowledge and skills that are industry-centric. Therefore, PGDM is considered to be a better option among students and experts since it focuses on equipping individuals with both professional and managerial abilities. The placements and packages usually depend on the college's reputation and the skills that an individual possesses.
Besides considering these factors, a student should also check for the following while deciding about their career objectives like The placement record of the B-school, Ranking of the B-school, Legacy & Reputation of the B-school, Fees of the B-school, Student-faculty ratio, Quality of peers/students joining the MBA/PGDM Program and Location of the B-school.
While both the courses are very similar in terms of imparting quality education to future management professionals, these differences can play a significant role when deciding universities and setting career goals. It is essential for students to keep these key distinctions between an MBA and a PGDM in mind while sketching their career objectives and plan.