PGDM or MBA: Difference between, how to choose, and other MBA vs PGDM questions answered
While deciding their business and management qualification, students are sometimes confused between choosing MBA or PGDM. This article, written by experts at, will clear your doubts.


So, what is the difference between MBA and PGDM? Simply put, Masters in Business Administration or MBA is a degree course offered by the Universities (both Government and Private) and Colleges affiliated to these Universities. Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) is a Diploma programme offered by B-schools/Colleges that are recognised by Government of India’s nodal body for technical education - All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).


It’s important to note that even the prestigious IIMs and ISB Hyderabad offer Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) and not MBA as they are neither a University nor are affiliated colleges to any other university. However, with passing of IIM Bill 2017, IIMs are expected to offer MBA in coming years.


We want to stress that while deciding between MBA or PGDM, what is most important for you as a student is to understand your personal goals. If you are interested in a corporate job and career, you should choose a B-school/ MBA Colleges based on their Ranking, Curriculum and Placements, and NOT by the degree or diploma they offer. Corporates don’t treat MBAs or PGDMs differently. They only want candidates that can perform well on the job. So curriculum and faculty, and not degree or diploma, is most important.


While IIMs are a well-known brand, PGDM B-schools are at par with IIMs and MBA colleges as according to Business Today, and other reputed B-school Rankings more than 75 out of 100 Top B-schools in India are PGDM B-schools.Many top PGDM B-schools have received MBA Equivalence from Government body AIU, and their PGDM is treated at par with MBA when it comes for higher studies like M.Phil or Ph.D.


However, if you are looking for just another academic qualification, that too at a low fee, then an MBA from a Government university will work well.


Key Differences between MBA and PGDM

MBA from Govt. University
MBA from Private University
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
Private PGDM Colleges
Programme offered
Masters of Business Administration
Masters of Business Administration
Post Graduate Programme in Management(PGP)
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)
Number of programme offering institutes
Top Institutes/colleges
FMS - Delhi University; IIFT Delhi-Deemed University; JBIMS - Mumbai University; PUMBA-Pune University
Affiliated colleges of Govt Universities like Anna University, Bangalore University etc.
Top Private Universities are NMIMS-Mumbai; Symbiosis –Pune; XIM-XUB Bhubaneswar.
More than 100 Private Universities offer MBA
IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode and other 14 new and newest IIMs
Degree/Diploma recognized/approved by
University Grants Commission (UGC)
University Grants Commission (UGC)
Recognized by Ministry of HRD
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
Rigid, because approvals required from University
Curriculum at most Government Universities and Colleges is theoretical, and not frequently updated.
Curriculum at good Private Universities like NMIMS and Symbiosis is at Par with IIMs, top PGDM B-schools.
Flexible and Frequently Updated.
Focus on Industry needs and job requirements as Placement is key student expectation.
Flexible and Frequently Updated.
Focus on Industry needs and job requirements as Placement is key student expectation.
Programme suitable for
MBA offered by Government Universities is more suitable for candidates interested in earning a Degree for higher studies, academic career.
MBA offered by top Private Universities is good for both corporate career and academics.
Students focussed on enhancing their employability skills for a better corporate career, job or starting their own enterprise.
Students focussed on enhancing their employability skills for a better corporate career, job or starting their own enterprise.
Fee at Government University/Colleges is low. FMS Delhi fee is just Rs 25,000 for the full MBA course.
Bangalore University prescribes 2 year fee of less than 200,000 lakhs.
Private University MBA fee is at par with IIMs, PGDM B-schools based on their market acceptance.
NMIMS Mumbai fee is Rs. 17.44 lakhs; SIBM Pune fee is Rs. 18.25 lakhs
IIMs have a comparatively higher fee structure.
IIM Ahmedabad fee is Rs.21 lakhs, IIM Bangalore fee is Rs.19.5 lakhs, IIM Calcutta fee is Rs.19 lakhs. 
Top PGDM B-schools charge between Rs 10 lakhs to Rs20 lakhs for 2 year MBA.
SPJIMR fee is Rs. 16 lakhs, MDI Gurgaon fee is Rs.18.89 lakhs, IMI New Delhi fee is Rs. 15.41 lakhs
Fee for many good PGDM B-schools is between Rs. 5-10 lakhs also.
Programme duration
Two years
Two years
Two years
Two years
Exam conducted by
By the Individual IIM
By individual College/
Admission Process & Entrance Test
Some Govt. Central Universities and their colleges accept National level entrance tests like CAT/XAT and/or also conduct their own entrance tests.
Most Government colleges governed by State Governments, admit thru state level examination like MAHCET, PGCET, TANCET, although these colleges.
Top Private Universities conduct their own exams like NMAT, SNAP, X-GMT
Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by IIMs, is the mandatory entrance exam for Indian residents
B-schools can choose from one or many of 6 approved exams: CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT, GMAT, ATMA


MBA or PGDM: How should you decide
Here is how you can decide between the two:

  • Decide your MBA Goals: If your goal is to join the corporate world, then PGDM or MBA makes no difference. What matters is your learning at a B-school. So faculty, curriculum, industry-integration of a B-school is most important. However, if your goal is to get another academic qualification at low cost, MBA fits the requirement well.
  • Decide your MBA Budget: This is an important consideration since the MBA fee ranges from Rs.25,000 at FMS Delhi to Rs. 21 lakhs at IIM Ahmedabad. No doubt the financial assistance in the form of study loan is available to pursue the MBA programme from all the banks and financial institutions in India, you need to weigh all the pros and cons based on fee structure and your financial ability.

Since it is not possible for everyone to get 99+ in CAT and be a lucky one among 200 candidates to get admission in MBA programme at FMS, Delhi, there are good MBA colleges with low fee structure in the range of 2 to 10 lakhs in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad where you can pursue your MBA/PGDM. However, before moving ahead, you should also see the Return on Investment that you would get after completing your MBA.

  • Check your Academic Credentials and MBA Entrance Exam Scores: PGDM B-schools can choose from one or many of 6 approved exams: CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT, GMAT, ATMA. These exams are held in December, January, February every year. State-level MBA Exams like PGCET and TANCET happen later in the year in May, June. If you score well in CAT, XAT etc, you have a good chance to get into good PGDM B-schools. If you have not taken national management tests by February, you can either take May MAT or take State MBA exams. So plan accordingly.
  • Make the right selection:Doing MBA can be your need for future growth, your quest to learn leadership skills or to simply enhance your business and entrepreneurship skills. However, you need to make the right choice and choose the best fit MBA programme.

Top Reasons to choose PGDM

1. Industry oriented course structure
The course structure of PGDM is such that it is more industry-oriented as compared to MBA. Since autonomous institutes offer this course, therefore the curriculum is kept in accordance to the latest developments. Also, PGDM has a more practical approach, whereas, MBA just gives you bookish knowledge.


2. Specialization in Any Field
PGDM lets you specialize in your areas of interest. For example, if you choose to go for a specialization in Human Resource Management, then you can choose minor subjects like Marketing/ Finance/IT/Project management which gives you an edge over other candidates.


3. Preference for Higher Studies
Many reputed Business schools in India, as well as Abroad, give preference to PGDM students over MBA students. This is due to the practical insight which PGDM offers and MBA which is more theoretical lacks. Hence it gives you an advantage over other students provided it is done from a reputed institute.


4. Real-time Business World Experience
In PGDM, students are given immense exposure to the real-time business world through rigorous classroom studies, meetings with top business leaders, management internships and various other similar ways. These techniques help the students to get comfortable with the business environment and makes them job ready.


5. Better Placement Offers
Institutes with PGDM courses provide attractive placement offers since they are autonomous in nature. Whereas MBA doesn’t guarantee you a job and you have to struggle on your own for placement.


6. Experienced Faculty
In institutes offering PGDM, the teachers are more qualified as they are offered lucrative salary packages whereas in MBA colleges due to the outdated rules of universities, college makes extra efforts to bring the latest corporate learnings.


7. Job Oriented Programme
PGDM is more job oriented than MBA which helps one in getting a suitable job right after completing the course. The job opportunities are widened with a PGDM due to the added skills you learn during the course.


8. Learning Opportunities
PGDM gives more learning opportunities, Seminars and workshops are arranged. Top industry managers are called as guests for giving speeches and to motivate students. Industries also prefer autonomous institutions for campus recruitments.


9. Better Financial Aid
It is easier to get education loans if you study in an AICTE approved business school Like Best B-School in UP they are widely recognised. In private or national banks, students can easily avail loans and complete their studies without any burden.


10. Job-Related Skills
Just getting a degree won’t get you a job. What you require are the right skills. PGDM teaches you those skills. It makes your job ready for the leadership and managerial skills you learn. These skills help you in surviving the competitive corporate world with ease.


Top Reasons to choose MBA
It appears B-schools have created more confusion for students claiming tall achievements. Good MBA programmes offered by top Government or Private Universities are compatible to the best management courses offered by any B-school in India. For example MBA from FMS Delhi, IIFT, JBIMS, XIMB, NMIMS, SIBM are the most sought after management courses that have commercial orientation and the PGDM offered by other top B-schools and IIMs goes hand in hand with them.

Although both MBA and PGDM are similar in outcomes in terms of employment prospective, there are still some differences as shared below:

  1. MBA a Degree programme

At the end of an MBA programme, students are conferred with MBA degree instead of a Post Graduate Diploma. You do not need any AIU equivalence certificate to accompany your MBA degree while to prove that you have done MBA an equivalence certificate is needed with PGDM.

  1. MBA has Global acceptability for employment

At the international level, MBA degree is well recognized for global employment opportunities and is acceptable by all the recruiters. Top B-schools in the world offer MBA degree and not PGDM diploma. 

  1. MBA degree - requirement for higher studies abroad

If you wish to pursue higher studies like doctoral programme abroad, it is the MBA degree that makes impact and is acceptable. Foreign universities need your MBA degree instead of diploma to offer you admission in Ph.D/Doctoral programme.

  1. MBA backed by University

MBA degrees are awarded by Universities. There is uniformity in education, learning among all the University affiliated colleges. Besides, students do not have to exercise so much caution while opting for MBA course offered by the University or University colleges as they carry all the university related credentials as again the private PGDM colleges who sometimes may not follow the AICTE norms meticulously.


This happens at the time of fee refund as candidates find it difficult to get their paid PGDM fee back. Since the MBA colleges are affiliated to an University and Universities are controlled by University Grants Commission (UGC), the colleges have to abide by the university norms. In addition to UGC approval, these university affiliated colleges can also get AICTE approval for their different courses.

  1. MBA Fee structure is low

University or university affiliated MBA colleges offer MBA at a lower fee than PGDM programmes. This is true as FMS – University of Delhi offers MBA at Rs.25,000/-; JBIMS-University of Mumbai offers MBA at Rs.6 lakhs (Recently revised upwards); PUMBA-Pune University offers MBA at Rs.1.50 lakhs; Bangalore University MBA fee is Rs.54000/-.


Not only this, the same college that offers University MBA and AICTE approved PGDM has a low fee structure for MBA and higher fee structure for PGDM.


Since, mostly government approved universities offer MBA degrees, the MBA fee structure is regulated by them even for the private MBA colleges affiliated to them. These universities offer MBA at a subsidised fee as they receive financial aid and grants from the government but since private universities have to manage on their own they have high fee structure for MBA programme like NMIMS, Symbiosis, Xavier University Bhubaneswar among others.

  1. Legacy of MBA

Except the PGP programmes offered by IIMs and few other top B-schools, MBA programmes are much older. For example, FMS - Delhi University is 60 years old; JBIMS Mumbai is also more than 50 years old.


These MBA colleges have created a huge alumni base as compared to newer PGDM colleges. This helps in high placements also.


The Parliament has recently passed the IIM Bill which seeks to empower all the IIMs to confer MBA degree instead of PGDM.


How to choose a B-school

While this article is about MBA or PGDM, following are the key parameters to choose the right B-school or College:

  1. Placement record
  2. Ranking of the B-school
  3. Legacy & Reputation of the B-school
  4. Fee of the B-school
  5. Student-faculty ratio
  6. Quality of peers/students joining the MBA/PGDM Program
  7. Location of the B-school