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The UGC Act and Autonomous B-schools of India

The UGC Act enacted in 1956. The act states clearly that autonomous bodies cannot issue degrees to students. It means that only institutes affiliated to a university can grant a degree programme. This applies to all degree programmes covering all fields such as B.Tech, BBA, MBA and so on.

Institutions like IIMs and XLRI are not affiliated with any university and remain autonomous institutions. Due to this, they do not offer MBA programmes and instead, they offer PGDM courses.

As PGDM courses are diplomas, that’s why they do not require affiliation to any particular set of universities. However, colleges offering PGDM courses should be approved by AICTE.

MBA vs PGDM: the Basic difference

MBA – Masters in Business Administration

PGDM- Post Graduate Diploma in Management

As we can that see their name itself explaining everything, that PGDM isn’t a degree course. Due to this basic difference, many students are often get confused between PGDM over MBA due to the ‘diploma’ tag.

As said before, only institutions affiliated to a university can offer MBA programmes. Due to the usual tendencies of students to prefer degree programmes over diplomas, a lot of confusion arises during MBA admission.

MBA vs PGDM: Difference in curriculum

There is no such big difference between MBA and PGDM course curriculum-wise. This is because universities generally take a tough stance on the change or updating the curriculum.

Management is a very vibrant sector with a large number of changes happening every day. As we know that today technology changes very rapidly so to stuck with the same curriculum for even a year can set the students back a long way. However, due to the tough stance of most universities on matters of MBA syllabus change, the students suffer.

PGDM courses have no such problem. Because they are an autonomous body, institutes such as IIM and XLRI are very sensitive to the demands of the industry. They cut and change their curriculum to make sure the students are up to date with the all demands of the industry.PGDM courses have more depth compare to an MBA.

MBA vs PGDM: Course Orientation

Course orientation refers to the primary aim of a course. The term is often confused with the course curriculum and methodology of the course. MBA and PGDM are a completely different course from each other.

PGDM is a highly specialized course imparting very specific and to the point of knowledge. The orientation of PGDM is basically driven by the demands of the industry. This specialty of the PGDM course makes it one of the most sought-after programmes in the country.

MBA, on the other hand, suffer due to the rigidness in curriculum revitalization. This makes MBA students focus more on the old curriculum for exam purposes.

MBA vs PGDM: Focus


The focus of the MBA is more on imparting the theoretical aspects of business management and administration. All MBA students are well aware of the fundamental rules of management and are well equipped to understand theoretical aspects. Faculties teaching MBA students are experienced lecturers and professors well proficient with every aspect of management under the sun.

These courses aim at developing soft skills to succeed in a business environment. Due to its industry-oriented nature, PGDM focuses primarily on building necessary skills in students rather than concentrating on the theoretical aspects of management. Faculties teaching PGDM students are usually management gurus and ex-industry veterans who know exactly how things work in an actual business.

PGDM: Things to remember before considering PGDM

From the points mentioned above, it is fairly clear that PGDM seems a much better option compared to the MBA. In the present jobs market, it is much more advisable doing industry driven courses rather than getting stuck in theoretical courses such as MBA. Students more inclined to pursue a Ph.D. after post-graduation should be inclined towards an MBA, but the same cannot be said for PGDM graduates.

However, if you are planning to pursue PGDM courses then consider the following points before taking admissions

1. AICTE approval

Any course without AICTE approval in India is deemed worthless in the market. While top colleges like IITs and XLRI need no introduction, the same can’t be said about other colleges offering PGDM courses.

It is very important that a college offering PGDM has AICTE approval.

2. Teaching methodology

One of the best characteristics of a PGDM course is learning the inner-workings of business administration. These things can only be learned if the college has the right teaching methodology.

  3. Faculty

If the faculty members have optimum industry level experience, taking up a PGDM course is worth it. This is because learning from industry veterans is an integral part of a PGDM course. Instead of focusing on theoretical management systems, PGDM graduates are taught the critical requirements of working in a high octane business environment.

4. College Perception

 This is the case with every profession, the perception of the college a student chooses plays a very important role. An MBA from a known college is always considered better than a PGDM from a lesser-known college, irrespective of factors such as teaching methodology or faculty.

In the current jobs market, there is an undeniable confusion for students graduating from top colleges, especially amongst management graduates. Companies expect employees coming with post-graduate degrees to be ready to face the heat of the industry. For this very reason, companies prefer candidates from top companies rather than picking fresh talents from colleges.

Why should candidates prefer PGDM over MBA courses?

This question is discussed and debated on online forums and admission counseling seminars. With so many universities in the country, some with a great reputation, offering MBA programmes, what are the factors that make PGDM so?

The first-hand perception of any management aspirant of PGDM is mire by the fact that the course is essentially a diploma. The prospect of MBA preparation day and night for six months only to get admission to a diploma course is bound to put any student demoralized. On the other hand, the global appeal of an MBA degree is often too tempting for aspirants compared to a PGDM course.

we need to make a clear distinction between hype and facts. Though PGDM may not be a degree programme there is no doubt in the jobs market over their quality and industry readiness of PGDM students.

As compared to MBA, PGDM is a much more industry oriented course. The reasons for this discrepancy are many. Because PGDM needs no university affiliation or control, its curriculum can be changed dynamically every semester according to industry requirements and due there is no interference from a higher authority. instead of learning theoretical aspects of management, A PGDM student learns the practical working culture of the business world and what the real expectations from a management professional in the industry.

MBA students, on the other hand, lack the practical details of how things work in the industry. Though they are highly experienced with a number of management techniques, they often lack the know-how to apply this knowledge to difficult situations. This is where most PGDM students get an advantage over an MBA.

In conclusion, PGDM is a diploma course but provides a top-draw understanding of the business world nonetheless. On the other side, an MBA is a course which covers everything on management, but still missing the essence of management.

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Written by Sachin Tomar

sachin is a content marketer during the day and a reader by night. he writes content sprinkled with a twisted imagination.

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What Is PGDM Course And Its Benefits?