Which course is better, MBA or PGDM?

Nandini Sharma

November 28, 2019

With CAT just finished, and preparations for WAT-PI in swing, one natural question which would arise is, “Which course is better MBA or PGDM?”

The answer is as diplomatic as it sounds, “You have to decide for yourself”. It would depend on your requirements and where you see yourself heading.

Here’s a list of pointers that will help compare and contrast an MBA graduate program and a PGDM and further evaluate which course is better MBA or PGDM.

The source: Institute type

MBA refers to a Master’s in Business Administration and is a post-graduate degree that is generally offered by institutions affiliated to universities. In contrast, PGDM refers to Post Graduate Diploma in Management which is a diploma and is being provided by autonomous institutions. However, after the enactment of the Indian Institute of Management Act 2017, Indian Institutes of Management (which earlier weren’t eligible to provide an MBA degree) can now offer an MBA degree to its students.


MBA is a two-year-long program, whereas a PGDM can range from one to two years. A two year PGDM is generally considered equivalent to an MBA.


MBA is generally cheaper as is offered by universities and PGDM costs relatively on a higher side. However, there is no clear rule of thumb defining the cost of two programs.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

The curriculum for an MBA is generally academic-focused, PGDM, on the other hand, is more industry-oriented and is revised frequently depending on the requirements and new trends. But, since IIMs have started providing an MBA degree, the industry standards and curriculum evolvement are duly taken care of.

Relevance and Recognition

You can go forward and do a PhD after your MBA, irrespective of the institution you pursued it from. But, you’d need PGDM from a supremely reputed institute to pursue PhD further.

Career Prospects

Both have equal career prospects. However, it again depends on your personal goals. If a corporate career is a goal, then it is better to select an institution based on its rankings, reputation, culture, and placements because that’s what matters for a corporate career and not whether the institute provides MBA or PGDM. This is considered as the most important feature to decide which course is better MBA or PGDM.

Prospects Abroad

Since the MBA is a degree, it is better recognized overall and would provide you with a better standing when it comes to pursuing higher education abroad.


These are the pointers that can be considered while deciding “Which course is better MBA or PGDM?” Analyze your aspirations and goals adequately and make a wise decision, because nobody but you can choose the best for you.

MBA Graduate Program

The MBA graduate program is the flagship program of IIMs designed to prepare highly skilled managers to take leadership roles in their professional careers. The MBA graduate program of IIMs typically lasts two years over six terms with a compulsory Internship at the end of the first year. IIMs provide a range of electives in all the major functional areas.

About the Author:

A student at Indian Institute of Management Udaipur’s MBA batch of 2021, Nandini has formerly had trysts with engineering, corporate, and development sector. Often found ruminating during the day and stargazing at nights, she is on an incessant pursuit to unsheathe the ‘extra’ from her ‘ordinary’. You can connect with her on LinkedIn