What Is The Difference Between An MBA And A PGDM Programme?

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A postgraduate or master's degree is a key qualification for students and professionals keen on pursuing higher studies and research, or for professionals with clear career goals for the future. After a bachelor's degree, a postgraduate degree in management helps students prepare for managerial roles in their field of choice. Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) are two popular postgraduate management courses. In this article, we examine the difference between MBA and PGDM, the duration of the courses, their eligibility requirements and syllabus.

What Is The Fundamental Difference Between MBA And PGDM?

If you are interested in a career in management, you can pursue a two-year MBA or a two-year PGDM after completing a bachelor's course and it may be beneficial to understand the difference between MBA and PGDM programmes. The major difference between the two courses is while MBA is a degree, PGDM is a diploma. The difference lies in the type of certificate that students receive after completing a course. The University Grants Commission (UGC) recognises universities who have authority to provide degrees to candidates. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) recognises autonomous institutions and colleges who offer PGDM.

Other Important Differences Between MBA And PGDM

Apart from the difference in the institutes offering MBA and PGDM, a few additional factors differentiate the two. It is important to note that when it comes to employment, the industry does not differentiate, and considers candidates who have completed an MBA or a PGDM on par. What could carry importance is the reputation of the institution you pursue these courses in. Some factors that distinguish an MBA and PGDM are:

Syllabus of MBA and PGDM

The syllabus of an MBA program offered by colleges and universities is more theoretical and may not evolve with changes in the business world. Universities make changes or update their curriculum when they do so for other courses, once every three to five years. Colleges under one university may have the same syllabus, curriculum and electives. So there is uniformity in what students get to learn. There are exceptions, as some leading universities do upgrade and adapt their curriculum to match industry requirements.

Autonomous business colleges and other institutions have direct involvement in designing their curriculum and syllabus. They constantly upgrade and improve their curriculum to give students an opportunity to learn industry specific subjects. They can decide on removing subjects that are irrelevant or obsolete. The governing bodies of such institutions include industry leaders who take informed decisions regarding what to retain and remove from a curriculum. A PGDM programme also focuses on application-based learning. For example, design thinking is a new concept that may find a place in a PGDM syllabus earlier than in an MBA syllabus.


Pedagogy refers to teaching methodologies and practices. For an MBA programme, the university decides the guidelines for teaching methods and practices. The colleges may have very little freedom to change from a prescribed teaching methodology. The focus could be more on classroom training and there may be less use of application-oriented teaching methodologies. Projects, presentations, assignments, group discussions, seminars and symposiums are typical components of an MBA curriculum. An MBA curriculum may focus more on improving your fundamental understanding of management concepts and may not focus on developing soft skills that make you more employable.

Autonomous institutes usually keep track of the latest teaching methodologies and incorporate them into their course. They also train and encourage faculty to use the latest techniques that help students learn management concepts faster. Some innovative teaching methodologies that may be part of PGDM pedagogy include business simulations, case studies, field projects, blended learning, brainstorming sessions, and quiz and debate sessions. PGDM courses encourage students to learn outside the classroom, give them access to internships and allow them to be part of various academic and social activities that help develop soft skills.

Eligibility and admission procedure

Universities admit students to their MBA programmes by conducting their own entrance exams or on the basis of a student's performance in common national or state-level entrance exams. The Department of Technical Education (DTE) usually conducts state-level entrance exams for MBA programmes. Apart from entrance exams, a university can further filter and shortlist candidates through a group discussion and a personal interview round. Once this process is over, they declare the final merit list. Some common national and state-level entrance exams for MBA are:

  • Common Admission Test (CAT)

  • Management Aptitude Test (MAT)

  • Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)

  • Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT)

  • Maharashtra MBA Common Entrance Test (MAH CET)

  • Telangana State Integrated Common Entrance Test (TSI CET)

  • Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET)

  • Post Graduate Common Entrance Test (PG CET)

There are no specific or uniform eligibility criteria that applies to the institutions offering PGDM. Many consider the scores of national level entrance exams, while some require students to clear the institute's own entrance exams. Apart from performance in competitive exams, autonomous institutes also filter candidates based on previous academic records. They may ask students to submit essays or conduct personal interviews to gauge their interest and aptitude for a challenging programme like PGDM.

Course fee

UGC grants several subsidies to universities that operate under its purview. The universities are then able to pass on the benefit to students by keeping the fee structure affordable. PGDM programmes can be significantly more expensive than an MBA. Autonomous institutes bear the cost of an updated curriculum, good infrastructure, libraries, experienced faculty and innovative teaching methodologies. Some highly rated institutes also hire international faculty as guest lecturers, facilitate international student exchange programmes and also arrange for internship opportunities with multinational companies. These facilities add to the fee structure of a PGDM course.

More Points Of Comparison Between MBA And PGDM

Both MBA and PGDM are advance courses that add value to a student's resume as they start looking for suitable jobs in the domain of management. Apart from their differences, there are other aspects where you can compare and measure the impact of an MBA and PGDM on your career. These are some points of comparison between an MBA and a PGDM course:


An MBA programme is very similar to any other master's degree and you can complete it in two years. A PGDM is also a two-year programme. There are some institutes that offer a one-year programme suitable for candidates who want to specialise in one facet of management or who want to pursue an additional course after completing their MBA.


Both MBA and PGDM offer a wide range of specialisations, and majors with a good choice of elective subjects. PGDM may offer very niche and highly specific subjects as electives. Since industry leaders guide many of the institutions that offer PGDM, they can update the specialisations and elective subjects to develop a talent pool for new management disciplines.

Related: 12 Best MBA Specialisations To Help You Advance Your Career

Scope for higher studies and jobs

Many foreign countries offer MBA degrees and may prefer an MBA degree for Indian students applying for PhD or doctoral programmes in their countries. This is because a registered and recognised university can give more credibility for an MBA degree. If you aim to pursue a doctorate programme abroad, always do some research on which course would be ideal for universities abroad. A PGDM in a relevant discipline can also improve your employability on an international level.

Related: 20 Highest-Paying Jobs With An MBA (With Salaries)

Certificate of equivalence

After completing an MBA, you need not submit a certificate from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) for advanced studies within the country or outside it. However, after completing a PGDM course, you may produce an AIU certificate of equivalence stating that your diploma is equal to an MBA from a recognised university. If you are keen on pursuing higher studies abroad, you can verify this requirement in advance.

Related: Average MBA Salary In India (With Minimum And Starting Pay)

Choosing Between An MBA And PGDM

You can choose between an MBA and a PGDM programme based on your specific requirements, career goals, ability to clear eligibility criteria and your budget. Both private and public sector banks offer education loans to students who have secured admissions to an MBA or a PGDM programme. Before joining an institute for a PGDM programme, ensure that it has AICTE accreditation. If your diploma is from an unrecognised institution, employers and institutes of higher learning may not be liable to consider your application.

When you apply for a job, companies may not differentiate between an MBA and a PGDM programme. If they are looking for candidates with a management background, they are likely to mention Looking for candidates with an MBA/PGDM from a recognised university in their job postings. What potential employers may take into consideration is the ranking and reputation of your institute.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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