Choosing between MBA and PGDM

Choosing between MBA and PGDM

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When deciding to pursue a specialised master’s programme, most often, individuals across the world steer towards a management programme that gives them the opportunity to accentuate their technical abilities while honing their managerial skills. But recently, aspiring professionals across the country have wondered about the core difference between two of the most premium management courses - the MBA and the PGDM.

This confusion gets trickier when individuals find out that the country’s most premier B-Schools offer the same diploma, instead of the MBA.  From the name of the programme to the curriculum designed, students are still unsure about the differences.

Here are a few key differences:

Title:  It is a known fact that management education in the country is predominantly offered through two courses - the MBA and the PGDM. The PGDM degree translates to a post-graduate diploma in management that certifies individuals with a diploma while the MBA programme translates into Masters of Business Administration, that confers its students with a degree. 

The institution: Only universities or institutions affiliated with universities are allowed to offer degree certifications. This makes an MBA, a programme that can be offered only by universities or their affiliated institutions.

PGDM programmes offer a diploma certification making it a programme that can be offered by autonomous institutions that are registered with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Course orientation: The MBA degrees are conferred by universities that are managed by the UGC, making their syllabus and course curricula be a part of the UGC norms. Note that the course syllabus cannot be easily upgraded since it takes multiple rounds of clearances. Hence, MBA programmes are also more theoretical in nature. 

PGDM programmes that are offered by independent B-Schools have the liberty and freedom to set their own syllabus. Hence, PGDM programmes are also more practical in nature.
Simply put, an MBA will aid in developing business expertise and technical skills while a PGDM is aimed at preparing students for senior-level positions in various industries while paving the way for a strong corporate career. 

Educational and professional context: If one wishes to pursue higher studies through a PhD or double MBA, the MBA, thanks to its brand name could make it easier. While the contextual differences are minimal, the MBA programmes have an edge for the simple reason that it is not a master’s diploma, but a master’s degree programme.
What matters is the institute they are pursuing it from. 

In the professional context, there is absolutely no difference one would see between an MBA and a PGDM if one is from a reputed B-School. Placements across all the premier B-Schools comes down to the alumni network, work rate, and the insights one holds in the industry. 

Costs: The MBA degrees are offered by affiliated universities and universities themselves, which for the most part are state-run. Thanks to this, MBA programmes are relatively cheaper than their popular counterpart. Universities are also obligated to regulate their fee structures making it a cheaper alternative in this case. 

On the other hand, the PGDM diplomas are conferred by autonomous institutions that include the likes of IIMs, NMIMS among others. These institutions offer better exposure, both through its programmes and surroundings making them more expensive comparatively. 

(The writer is Assistant Director, Dr D Y Patil B-School, Pune)

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