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MBA vs PGDM Degree: Which One is a Better Choice In 2024?

Dec 11, 2023 1.3K Reads

Two of the most widely pursued managerial courses in India are an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and a PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). However, management aspirants are often faced with a dilemma about whether an MBA or a PGDM is the right course to choose for their managerial journey. After all, a number of the nation’s best institutions offer an MBA or a PGDM, and the courses have similar timelines of completion. However, there are still a few key differences between an MBA and a PGDM that can impact the decision to choose one of the degrees. 

As a management aspirant, if you are confused about the difference between a PGDM and an MBA program or apprehensive about choosing one from the two for your future managerial journey, then this blog brings to you the major characteristics of an MBA versus a PGDM for you to note the key differences between the two courses and compare for finding the best choice for yourself. 

What is an MBA Degree?

An MBA, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a two-years degree course in the domain of managerial and business studies. It is a postgraduate degree course that is divided into four semesters, of which the first two semesters involve an exploration of the core arenas of management, followed by specialisation-specific courses over the third and fourth semesters. 

This course also includes additional capstone projects and assignments, in some cases, a complete dissertation, course-mandated field-training and additional industry exposure throughout the period of two years. It is a comprehensive degree course offered in various modes like part-time mode, online learning (OL) mode, the distance learning mode and the full-time regular mode. 

What is a PGDM Course? 

A Post Graduate Diploma in Management, or a PGDM course, is a 2-year professional diploma course that has been granted an equivalent status to an MBA by the Association of Indian Universities or AIU. A PGDM program, an equivalent of an MBA, is a course also divided into four semesters and covering a number of fundamental and specific areas of management. A PGDM course is more specifically designed to enable the students to learn about the applied aspects of management.  

What is the Difference between MBA and PGDM?

Many students often find themselves at a crossroads when having to choose between an MBA program or a PGDM course. While the course structure, curriculum and criteria for admissions are nearly similar between these two postgraduate courses, there are some key distinctions which must be considered before selecting either of them–as they represent an essential and irreversible career choice. 

Herein, we have dealt with the key differences between an MBA and a PGDM course along some of the prime characteristic factors. 

MBA vs PGDM Degree: Which One is a Better Choice?

While unanimously pointing to either an MBA or a PGDM is a tough and unrealistic decision, the choice about which course is a better option for an aspirant depends on their unique career needs and aspirations. Here is a comparison of the major aspects along which an MBA and PGDM course can be compared to make a choice about which suits your educational and career goals better. 

  • Issuing Bodies for the Courses:- A major distinguishing factor about the two courses, an MBA program and a PGDM, is the higher educational bodies that can offer the course to students. Here are a few of the key distinctions about the issuing bodies for these two programs. 



  • This course can only be offered by universities and colleges under the affiliation of the University Grants Commission or the UGC.
  • Thus, an MBA can only be pursued from an accredited and duly approved college or university.
  • This course can only be offered by institutes and business schools (autonomous, public or private) that are approved by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHR) India. 
  • A PGDM can hence be completed from a management institute or a business school. 
  • Requisite Accreditations for Course:- Further, every degree or educational program requires certain due accreditations and approvals in order to be considered credible and valid for recognition across the nation and beyond. There are certain key differences between the accrediting bodies for an MBA and a PGDM course. 



  • An MBA must be accredited by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to be considered valid and credible. 
  • Other preferable and prestigious accreditations for an MBA include those like AACSB, AMBA, AICTE etc. 
  • A PGDM must be accredited by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) to be considered credible. 
  • Other preferable accreditations include those from the UGC.
  • Duration of Course:- Both an MBA and a PGDM are two-year postgraduate courses in management. The course is further divided into four semesters covering various fundamental and specific domains of management education. 

However, it must be noted that an MBA can also be pursued as a one-year MBA course, a part-time MBA course or an executive MBA (EMBA), which can have varying durations from 12 months to 4 years.  

  • Eligibility for Course:-Both an MBA and a PGDM program are courses at the postgraduate levels, and hence require the candidate to at least have attained Bachelor’s level of education. However, there are some differences in the specific criteria of admissions and eligibility as has been highlighted below.  



  • The candidate should at least be a Bachelor’s Graduate from a Recognised Institution 
  • The candidate can belong to Any Educational Stream 
  • The candidate should have scored At Least 45% to 50% Aggregate Marks at Graduation
  • Work Experience of at least 2-5 Years is Mandatory for Executive MBA
  • Commonly accepted entrance examinations for admission to an MBA include CAT, MAT, XAT, GMAT, CMAT etc. 
  • Entrance Examinations and GD-PI are mandatory for MBA admissions in regular mode. 
  • The candidate should be a Bachelor’s Graduate from a Recognised Institution 
  • The candidate can belong to Any Stream.
  • The candidate should have secured At Least 45% to 50% Aggregate Marks in Graduation 
  • Professional Experience is Preferable but not Mandatory 
  • Commonly accepted entrance examinations for admission to a PGDM course include CAT, MAT, SNAP etc. 
  • Entrance Examinations and GD-PI Rounds are Conducted by Most Institutions but there may be Direct Admissions in a few institutes
  • Fee Range for the Course:- One of the prime factors that students often compare an MBA and a PGDM course with is on the basis of their fee structures and overall fee range. For the ease of comparison, here is a list of the general fee range for an MBA and a PGDM program. Please note that low-cost pocket-friendly EMI options are provided by most management institutions so that students can pay the course fee as the degree/diploma progresses. 



  • The average fee range for an MBA from a public institution ranges between INR 1,00,000 to INR 10,00,000 for the full course. 
  • The general fee range for an MBA from a private institution is in a slightly higher band, ranging from INR to INR. 
  • The general fee range for an online MBA program ranges from INR 80,000 to INR 5,50,000 for the full course. 
  • The full fee for a PGDM course from a public institution in India ranges between INR 15,00,000 to INR 25,00,000 for the full course. 
  • The general range of course fee for a PGDM course from a private institution is from INR 10,00,000 to INR 24,00,000 for 2 years. 
  • The average fee range for an online PGDM course is around INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,00,000. 
  • Admission Procedure for Course:- While the admission procedure for an MBA course and a PGDM course are nearly similar, i.e. starting with a basic screening of the documents of the client for their academic qualifications, followed by a screening based on the performance on the entrance exam, lastly followed by the institutional screening through a Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD-PI).

However, the key difference in the admission procedure between an MBA and a PGDM course is that certain institutions offering a PGDM can also conduct direct admissions without the screening based on entrance performance and GD-PI rounds. 

  • Mode of Delivery:- When it comes to the learning modes available to pursue the courses in, both MBA and PGDM programs are available to be pursued in the following learning modes: 
  • Regular Mode: This is the offline, full-time physical mode wherein students must regularly attend classroom lectures and complete the degree by appearing for offline examinations. 
  • Open Distance Learning Mode: This mode is more commonly known as the distance mode of learning wherein students attend lectures on weekends or holidays in the physical mode or the online mode in certain hybrid degrees, and examinations are conducted in the offline physical mode. 
  • Online Learning (OL) Mode: This is the mode of education wherein the student completes the course through the virtual mode, wherein lectures and peer discussions, doubt clarification sessions etc. are conducted over the online mode. The examinations of the course are also conducted through online proctored mode. 
  • Curriculum & Specialisations of Course:- The curriculum and specialisations of an MBA or a PGDM have some variations which make them distinct from each other. There are certain similarities in the curricula of the two courses vis. a vis. the coverage of the topics related to basic foundations of management. However, there are certain key differences in the way in which the syllabus is designed by the institutions offering these courses, as enlisted below. 



  • The course curriculum for an MBA program is designed at the level of the university and there is often a parity in curricular structure as well as topical coverage across UGC-approved universities and colleges. 
  • The course is more closely related to the coverage of the theoretical concepts and foundations of management. 
  • The scope for close revision of the syllabus is limited since it is prepared for the entire university at large. 
  • The course curriculum for a PGDM is designed by independent institutes or B-schools as per their own standards and then approved by the AICTE as being competent with the industry demands. 
  • The course is more focused on applied and relevant concepts and areas of management that are practised in the industry. 
  • The scope that institutes have of renovating the curriculum and incorporating the changing demands of the industry are wider in an PGDM course since the syllabus is designed at the institutional level.
  • Structure of Course:- The course structure for a conventional MBA program and a conventional PGDM program are similar. As both the courses have a duration of 2 years, they are divided into 4 semesters of the duration of 6 months each. 

The key differences between an MBA course and a PGDM course have been listed below. 





2 Years (1 Year for EMBA)

2 Years

Course Structure 

  • 4 Semesters for a Conventional MBA
  • 2 Semesters for Executive MBA
  • 4 Semesters of nearly 6 Months Each 
  • Top Institutions Offering the Course:- There are eminent institutions for higher education that provide an MBA and a PGDM, and the student. Enlisted below are a few of those top public and private institutions, universities, colleges and business schools across India that provide a full-time MBA or a PGDM course. 



  • IITs of India 
  • Jain University 
  • Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
  • SVKM's Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies
  • Amity University
  • National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli
  • Chandigarh University 
  • Lovely Professional University
  • Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune
  • IIMs across India (PGP courses) 
  • XLRI-Xavier School of Management
  • Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
  • S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad
  • Jaipuria Institute of Management, Mumbai
  • Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Greater Noida

  • Career Scope:- Another major concern that impacts the decision of students about whether to pursue an MBA or a PGDM is dependent on the career scope of the two courses as well as on whether one has an enhanced scope than another.  Here is a comparison of the professional scope of an MBA and a PGDM course. 



  • For a fresher, an MBA confers entry-level management job options, and the graduate can earn anywhere between INR 5 LPA to INR 10 LPA as a beginner. 
  • Since students get more focused education related to theoretical concepts related to management, the initial job scope starts with moderately paid job roles which escalate further with professional experience gained by the candidate. 
  • The career scope for a PGDM with respect to the RoI of the course is comparatively higher since students can earn anywhere between INR 10 LPA to INR 20 LPA.
  • Since students get highly focused education on industry-relevant skills and concepts, they have a wider scope for getting placed to beginner-middle managerial positions. 

Summarised Comparison of MBA vs PGDM

After highlighting all the key characteristics of an MBA program versus a PGDM program, here is a summarised concise comparison of the features of these two courses which can provide a detailed comparison, enabling the smoother decision of students about whether to go for an MBA program or a PGDM course. 





UGC, AICTE (Preferable), AACSB (Preferable), AMBA (Preferable)


Duration of Course 

2 Years/1 Year (Executive MBA)

2 Years

Course Type 

Degree Course

Diploma Course 

Course Fee Range

INR 80,,000-INR 10,00,000 or 2 years 

INR 2,00,000-INR 25,00,000

Eligibility for Admission

  • Graduation in Any Stream from Recognised Institution
  • Minimum 55% Aggregate Marks at Graduation 
  • Graduation in Any Stream from Recognised Institution
  • Minimum 55% Aggregate Marks at Graduation 

Needed Entrance


GMAT Entrance Score


SNAP Entrance Score

Admission Procedure 

  • Meeting Minimum Eligibility Criteria 
  • Qualifying Management Entrance Exam 
  • Personal Interview + Group Discussion (PI+GD)
    • Meeting Minimum Eligibility Criteria 
    • Qualifying Management Entrance Exam 
    • Personal Interview + Group Discussion (PI+GD)
  • Admissions can be WITHOUT entrances in some institutions 

Mode of Delivery 

  • Regular
  • Online Learning (OL), 
  • Open Distance Learning (ODL)
  • Regular
  • Online Learning (OL), 
  • Open Distance Learning (ODL)

Curriculum & Specialisations 

  • Core courses in Sem I and Sem II 
  • Specialisations in Sem III & IV
  • Core Courses in Sem I and II
  • Specialisations in Sem II, III & IV

Course Structure 

  • 4 Semesters Spanned Across 2 Years
  • 2 Semesters Spanned Across 1 Year (For EMBA)

4 Semesters Spanned Across 2 Years 

Top Institutions 

  • IIMs
  • IITs
  • Jain University 
  • Amrita University 
  • Jain University 
  • Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune 
  • International Management Institute (IMI) New Delhi 
  • XLRI Xavier School of Management
  • Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad
  • S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR)
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai 

Career Scope 

  • Prosperous and Varied, with Salaries Ranging from INR 5 LPA to INR 10 LPA.
  • Entry-level Managerial Jobs for Freshers
  • Prosperous and Varied, with Salaries Ranging from INR 10 LPA to INR 20 LPA
  • Entry-level to Middle-level Managerial Jobs for Beginners

Which One Should You Choose? Our Verdict 

Having delved into the in-depth comparison of the various features of an MBA program and a PGDM course, it can be concluded that the ultimate choice of the right course for yourself should be based on how well each program (and a particular course from an institution if you aspire to graduate from a specific college/B-school) aligns with the academic and professional goals you have. 

Along with a few other considerations, here is a list of concerns you should address to choose the right course for yourself:

  • If you are a fresh graduate with no experience in managerial studies at the school or undergraduate levels, then an MBA might be a more appropriate choice for your career needs since it includes a thorough coverage of the foundational concepts of management. 
  • If you are a Bachelor’s graduate having some prior managerial education or professional experience, a PGDM might be a more appropriate choice for you. 
  • The exact eligibility criteria and the course fee are also a few of the essential considerations to be made while selecting the course for further education. 
  • Moreover, the student should carefully evaluate the syllabus and the specialisation options available in the course (MBA or PGDM) from the particular university/institute they aspire to get enrolled into to match it with their career needs for the future. 
  • Lastly, a comparison of the student support features and the placement services that the institute/university offers is also essential to understand if they align well with your career aspirations and provide you with opportunities to get placed at eminent companies and MNCs. 

Top Online MBA and PGDM Institutes 

As the landscape of higher education is transforming by leaps and bounds by integrating AI and other technological advances, the domain of online education is experiencing a massive growth. Having mainstreamed more during the coronavirus pandemic, the online mode of learning is now being offered by more and more eminent institutions of India and abroad. A large number of prestigious public and private management institutions are also offering an MBA or a PGDM in the full-time online mode. 

Among many benefits, some of the key advantages of taking up such a course include:

  • A degree/PG diploma equivalent in value and credibility to the corresponding degree in the offline regular mode, as mandated by the UGC-DEB. 
  • The flexibility of learning and completing the course from any location of one’s convenience. 
  • The opportunity to pursue an MBA/PGDM from the most eminent institutions of India in the online learning mode without the hassles of appearing for entrance examinations or relocating. 
  • An affordable fee range with the option for easy low-cost EMIs on a monthly basis. 
  • A full assortment of student services before, during and after student admission for quick grievance redressal. 
  • Placement services integrated with the degree/PG diploma.
  • The benefit and flexibility of being able to continue  working while pursuing a degree. 

Listed below are some of India’s most eminent management institutes and universities that have been duly accredited by the UGC-DEB to provide an online MBA/PGDM program.  

Jain University 

Amrita Ahead Online

Online Manipal University

LPU Online

Amity Online 

Dr. D. Y. Patil Online

SASTRA University Online 

UPES Online 


Chandigarh University Online 

GLA University Online 

Vignan University Online 

MMU Online

Uttaranchal University (UU) Online 

MIT School of Distance Education 

IIM Raipur 

Chitkara University 

Shoolini University 

Manav Rachna University Online

IIM Ranchi 

OP Jindal Global University Online

SRM University Online


Thus, while the popularity of both MBA and PGDM courses continues to surge, many students still experience considerable confusion when thinking about which of these courses serves their academic and career pursuits the best. To arrive at the right choice, it is advisable to consider the various factors like the admission procedure, curriculum and syllabus of the specific course, the fee details and eligibility criteria, the student services like placement etc. and match them with your long-term career goals. Whether a PGDM is best or an MBA is, depends on the coure’s alignment with your unique academic and professional needs. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you are someone seeking detailed foundational knowledge in management, then an MBA is better but if you are looking for more applied knowledge of management principles in the industrial domain, then a PGDM is a better educational choice for you. 

The fee range of an MBA (approximately between INR 80,000 to INR 10,00,000) is more affordable than the fee range of a PGDM program (approximately ranging between INR 2,00,000 to INR 25,00,000). 

While both MBA and PGDM courses have vast and appealing career scope, the initial job scope with respect to packages that can be earned start are at a higher range for a PGDM (INR 10 LPA to INR 20 LPA) than an MBA (INR 5 LPA to INR 10 LPA). However, with a few years of professional experience, MBA graduates can easily earn as well as PGDM graduates. 

Yes, as per the guidelines of the AIU, a PGDM is a course of equivalent stature and value as an MBA program. 

While there are other management aptitude examinations like MAT, SNAP etc. for selection to the PGDM program, CAT is one of the most popularly considered entrance exam scores by PGDM institutes. 

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