MBA vs PGDM: What are the differences and which one is right for you?
Today, there is an extremely high competition in every field you choose to make a career in. People try to distinguish themselves from the crowd as much as they can in order to increase their chances of making it to the top. It has become a common practice where people will work for a couple of years after their graduation and then pursue postgraduation after gaining some work experience. This makes the postgraduation more fruitful and you can draw from your work experience to understand management education better. We will try to settle the “PGDM vs MBA” debate once and for all in this article.
There is no wonder that a postgraduation in business management can skyrocket your career. Many choose to go for a PGDM or an MBA after their graduation or after gaining some work experience. The primary reason to go for such postgraduate programs is to give a boost to your career and take it to the next level in a shorter time span.
Both these courses have the potential to take your career to new heights and help you climb the corporate ladder quicker. In this article, we will explore how PGDM and MBA courses differ from each other and which one should you choose depending on your specific circumstances.
What is an MBA?
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an internationally-recognized degree program initiated to develop the skills that are needed to build a career in business and management. However, the value of the MBA is not limited strictly to the business sector. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a managerial career in the public sector, government, private industry, and numerous other areas.
So, an MBA is a master’s degree that can be conferred only by universities recognized by the central government or by colleges affiliated with such universities. Most MBA programs include some core subjects in their curriculum, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and operations, as well as elective courses and specializations that provide students with the opportunity to follow their personal or professional interests and aspirations.
What is PGDM?
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) is a diploma course offered by autonomous institutes that are recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). PGDM course is offered by colleges that are not affiliated to recognized universities or are not authorized to offer degrees. It is a course designed to impart essential practical skills and improve the capabilities of students so that they are ready to hold corporate positions right after the course. Students gain managerial, executive and leadership skills through this program which can be used by them to boost their careers.
Even the prestigious IIMs offer PGDM and not an MBA as they are not part of any university. Although there is a difference in the terminology of a degree and a diploma, in practice, they seem to hold the same value and importance.
MBA vs PGDM: Points of Difference
PGDM and MBA are Business Management postgraduation programs that aim to promote corporate excellence by educating future leaders about integral principles of Busines Administration and Management. Although they have similar things to offer, there are some points of difference between a PGDM and an MBA course that need to be clarified. In this section, we will discuss some key points of difference between the two and how the differences affect the applicability and importance of the programs.
In India, there are two primary management courses available at the postgraduate level: a PGDM and an MBA. So, the primary difference that we can observe is that one is a degree program whereas the other confers only a diploma. Now, in this regard, we will have to understand whether a degree differs from a diploma in management and if yes, then by how much.
The top B-schools in India like IIMs are not a part of recognized universities and hence do not offer MBA degrees but PGDM programs. And these are some of the most reputed Business Management postgraduation programs that you can pursue in India. One must not think that if the program offers a diploma then it is not as valuable as another program offering a degree. In Business education, you must understand what the institute is offering and what it can do for you. The judgment should be made on the quality of the curriculum and the institute’s reputation and not on the basis of whether you will get a diploma or a degree since both hold the same value today.
Types of the Institute
In our current education system, the type of institute is extremely relevant in Management education since it determines the type of certification you will receive upon completion. A degree, in India, can only be awarded by centrally recognized universities or their affiliated institutions. Whereas, such institutions that are not a part of recognized universities, can get affiliated to the AICTE which gives them the power to award diploma certifications to students.
This change in the affiliation means that the governing body of the institutes is different but does not necessarily imply that the two programs are entirely different and are not related to each other.
The academic orientation is another important point of difference between PGDM and MBA programs. An MBA is awarded by a university that is managed by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Therefore, it can be understood that the entire curriculum and academic orientation of the degree program are managed by the university. This implies that the curriculum is not easily upgraded and that the academic orientation is more theoretical in nature. This is true because, in order for it to be more practical, it will have to reflect the current corporate and business trends for which it will have to be regularly updated and revised.
On the contrary, PGDM programs are run by independent institutes and B-schools who set their own syllabus. This permits them to align their course curriculum to reflect the current industry trends and requirements. So, we can notice that PGDM programs are more practical, suited to current economic scenario, and contemporary in nature whereas MBA degrees are more theoretical in nature and concentrate on traditional business management practices and principles.
MBA degrees are offered by recognized universities and for that reason, their fee is usually nominal and low since education is subsidized by the government, although this might not be true for private and deemed universities.
In contrast, PGDM is offered by completely autonomous institutions that are affiliated to AICTE and therefore, the course fee is comparatively higher. Since the government does not hold any administrative rights or powers over such institutes, the fee is not regulated and is determined by the market forces and the offerings of the course.
Since MBA programs are generally offered by recognized universities, admission is mostly given on the basis of the state or university level entrance tests. The reach and scope of these university-level tests are limited and MBA aspirants can only seek admission to one university or colleges affiliated to that university through the entrance test. Although, nowadays some MBA programs also consider CAT and MAT scores as a criterion for admission.
In the case of PGDM, aspirants have to undertake national-level entrance examinations CAT, MAT, CMAT, etc. which are highly competitive in nature. The admission is secured on the basis of your performance in these entrance tests along with Group Discussion and Personal Interview sessions conducted by the institute itself.
MBA vs. PGDM – Career Impact Assessment
When assessing the career impact of any education qualification, you must analyze it from all perspectives and correlate it to your final aim or purpose of pursuing the said qualification. The primary two reasons for which people choose to pursue postgraduation is either to pursue higher education after that or to improve their credentials in order to land a better job.
An MBA affords you with a postgraduate degree which holds a stronger position when going for further education like a Doctorate. Whereas, after completing a PGDM program you will receive a diploma. Here, a point to be noted is that neither of these programs predicts or ensures industrial success in any way.
In the end, how well you do after these programs is mostly dependent on your hard work and intellectual abilities. The fact that you have a postgraduate degree or diploma will hardly be relevant when the true test will be of your knowledge and capabilities. It must also be noted that more than the kind of certification, factors like institute’s reputation, campus infrastructure, course structure, faculty, and teaching methodology will determine how beneficial it will be for your career.
These are just a few basic differences between an MBA Degree and a PDGM diploma programs offered in India today. While each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, the decision to pick the right one generally depends upon the priorities, preferences, aims, and ambitions of the candidates. So, if you are planning to pursue management education, you must take into account these factors and differences between MBA and PDGM before reaching the final decision. Your decision should not be based upon the biases of nomenclature but on the basis of the actual value that an education program adds to your life and career. We wish you all the best for all your future endeavors!