PGDM vs MBA: Key Differences You Should Know

For students looking to pursue a postgraduate management course, the choice between MBA and PGDM is an active dilemma. Due to the lack of knowledge about the similarities and differences between these two courses, students are often quite confused.

A PGDM degree was conferred from IIMs, before the IIM Act 2017 while diplomas continue to remain quite a stigma in India. Although in terms of a management degree program, these lines are blurred, it is essential to be aware of the parameters before enrolling in any particular course.

PGDM vs MBA: What do they mean?

MBA stands for Masters in Business Administration, and it is only offered by institutions that are affiliated with universities. Whereas, the PGDM program or Post Graduate Diploma in Management is provided by autonomous institutes.

For example, the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi, is affiliated with Delhi University and hence offers an MBA degree. Whereas colleges that are autonomous such as the SP Jain Institute of Management Studies and Research (SPJIMR) or the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, provide a PGDM program.

IIM Bangalore was the first IIM to offer an MBA degree in 2018. Soon, IIM Indore, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad followed the same path as IIMs were not known to provide MBA degrees. Due to the brand equity of IIM, some of them stood by awarding diplomas even today.

What is the difference between MBA and PGDM?

Evaluating the similarities and differences between MBA and PGDM programs is necessary to find which course is closer to your preference. In this regard, six key factors mentioned in the table below can help the candidate select the right path in line with their career aspirations:

MBA vs. PGDM Differences MBA PGDM
Eligibility ●       A three-year graduate degree or a full-time graduation degree is required.

●       Different colleges set different cut-offs for the percentage secured in graduation. However, on a broad basis, 50% is the accepted percentage level.

●       Candidates appearing in the final year of bachelor’s degree/ equivalent qualification are eligible for admission, provided he/she can produce a letter from their college’s head confirming their present status as claimed.

Qualification Degree course Diploma course
Course Structure and Approach ●       The curriculum is approved by the University.

●       Theory-based studies and the course is uniform among institutes affiliated with a university.

●       Mostly semester-based systems.

●       The course is industry-centred. It focuses on developing professional and soft skills more than theoretical learning.

●       Previously a trimester-based system, now it is a semester-based system as well.

Accreditation Accredited by University Grants Commission (UGC) Accredited by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
Perception During the time of recruitment, both MBA and PGDM graduates is considered equivalent. The primary factor is mostly the brand equity of the institute providing it and the abilities of the candidate. PGDM courses are focused more on industry and therefore may be preferred more by some corporates.

Despite the differences between these two courses, MBA and PGDM, the main objective of both of these courses is to prepare the students capable enough to secure managerial or leadership positions in the industry.

Enrolling in a PGDM program can be cumbersome at times, especially if the candidate is aiming for a place in top-tier colleges across India. Most of the institutes offering this course are autonomous, therefore checking for accreditation of the course becomes a necessity to avoid instances of fraud.

Types of Entrance Exams

For both the MBA and PGDM programs, a plethora of entrance exams are held each year in India to enrol in management colleges. Some of those exams which make the candidate eligible for such institutes include CAT, XAT, MAT, and GMAT, among others. There are a few other exams that are necessary for taking admission into institutes such as the IIFT, SNAP, and NMAT, to name a few.

Top Colleges Offering MBA and PGDM

The following table some of the top colleges in India that provide the MBA and PGDM degree programs:





Colleges Location Accepted Exam Average/Mean/Median Salary Tuition fees
IIM Bangalore Bangalore CAT/GMAT INR 24,54,000 INR 23,00,000
IIFT Delhi New Delhi IIFT/ GMAT INR 18,00,000 INR 17,25,000
NMIMS School of Business Mumbai NMAT/GRE/GMAT INR 17,79,000 INR 19,76,000





IMI Delhi – International Management Institute New Delhi CAT/GMAT INR 13,07,000 INR 13,16,000
TAPMI Manipal – T A Pai Management Institute Manipal CAT/XAT/GMAT INR 11,06,000 INR 14,60,000
Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai CAT/GMAT/XAT/CMAT INR 13,10,000 INR 10,10,000

 PGDM vs MBA Salary

The PGDM vs MBA salary in India is quite similar as well. It usually depends on the institution the candidate has pursued the degree from, their work experience, domain expertise and other factors such as the job role and location. On average, this pay scale ranges anywhere between 12 LPA to 24 LPA with a possible raise for high-performing candidates.

MBA vs PGDM: Which should you choose?

If you came up with the question, MBA vs PGDM which is better, then it depends on the student’s preference at the end of the day. We went over the differences and similarities between the MBA and PGDM programs and among the several factors discussed in these two courses, they are more similar than different. Albeit the differences between these two courses, the key factor lies in the institute offering them.

The recruiters mostly assess the skills of the student to evaluate the degree or diploma achieved by them irrespective of the course. The brand of the institute also plays a crucial role during recruitment and so does the faulty and the work experience of the candidate. However, PGDM programs are known to polish the skill sets of the student while MBA focuses on management practices.

Key Takeaways

While both the PGDM degree and the MBA program offer similar curricula, one is more theoretical than the other. Their scope and placement opportunities are also quite similar in this respect. To know more about the MBA or a PGDM program connect with an expert mentor on the official Sunstone website today.

About Sunstone

Sunstone is a leading higher education services provider that works with academic institutions in upskilling students for employability. Sunstone offers career-oriented training interventions for undergraduate and postgraduate students at 50+ institutions across 35+ cities.

Sunstone’s training programs are industry endorsed to enhance employability. These programs are designed for hybrid delivery with an unparalleled focus on soft skills and personality development. Sunstone’s focus is to provide students with a holistic educational experience.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Is PGDM better than MBA?

There is no evidence that a PGDM is better than an MBA degree program. They are both quite similar and offer similar curricula and placement opportunities.

Which has more salary MBA or PGDM?

The salary scale of PGDM and MBA graduates are comparable to each other. It usually depends on the brand equity of the institute, the work experience and the domain knowledge of the candidate and the job role, location and the recruiting organisation.

Is PGDM difficult than MBA?

Both the PGDM degree and the MBA degree programs require similar preparation processes and the applicants must undergo similar examinations as well. So, while both courses are difficult there is no evidence that one is tougher than the other.

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