MBA Vs. PGDM: How Are They Different, And What Should You Choose?

Dr.Amol Gawande, Assistant Director, Dr. D. Y. Patil B-SchoolHolding a MBA ­ Finance from the University of Mumbai, Dr.Amol has been at the forefront of Dr. D. Y. Patil B-School's journey so far, and currently takes care of Placements and Admissions for the entity.

Since its inception, management studies have remained to be one of the most pursued programs across the globe. The rising corporate culture along with the impetus given to entrepreneur-ship has replicated this trend in India as well. Owing to this surging need, premier Indian institutions have introduced a multitude of management courses. These management courses are offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. But, more than often, individuals look at attaining technical mastery over concepts before taking the plunge into a management program, making management courses pull large numbers of students for their postgraduate programs. With the postgraduate programs in management, individuals can look to climb the corporate ladder faster, execute their work functions better, widen their scope of work to bring effective change, and take-up challenging social responsibility.

But, in this quest to pursue a management program, students encounter the one crucial question that has been a subject of debate for a long time. How similar or different are the two premium management courses ­ the MBA and the PGDM? This confusion goes a step further when one looks at the ambiguous offerings by numerous B-Schools across the country. A huge number of the candidates are unsure about the change in title as well as the curricula. To clear this confusion, here's a guide differentiating the two coveted courses and why you must pursue them. Both MBA and PGDM programs train individuals for leadership and managerial roles, but with a few technical differences.

Why Two Separate Offerings?
According to the Indian law, only
universities are entitled to offer degree programs such as B.Tech, BE, BBA or an MBA. Educational institutions that are not affiliated to any university cannot offer a degree, thereby making autonomously run institutions like XLRI, MDI, and IIMs to offer PGDM or PGP courses instead of the traditional MBAs. On the other hand, an MBA is a degree that can be offered only by universities or institutions that are affiliated to universities. The curriculum of these universities is accredited by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

MBA programs are known to be more theoretical, while a PGDM provides more exposure through real life business situations, all while focusing on the technical intricacies of the management principles

The Academic Differences
While both courses train individuals in administration and management, their pathways to the aforementioned subjects are different. MBA programs are known to be more theoretical, while a PGDM provides more exposure through real life business situations, all while focusing on the technical intricacies of the management principles. A main advantage of the PGDM is the fact that it is being offered by autonomous institutes who have the authority to modify and upgrade the curriculum more frequently to push the latest trends, changes and concepts of the business world. The fact that autonomous institutions may chart-out their own curriculum to be taught, that is being regularly upgraded proves to be an advantageous aspect for students in comparison with the conventional MBA that changes its curricula once in three or five years in an industry where technology and foundation principles are rapidly changing.

The Career Prospects
Individuals pursuing a management program can divide their career prospects into two broad streams ­ Higher Education and Job Prospects. In the Indian context, individuals will have no lapse in expertise or knowledge by pursuing either of the two courses, be it in their job prospects or their higher education ambitions. More institutes in India are offering the PGDM programs, with more and more individuals earning lucrative pay packages without being differentiated. The same can be said about the global context, where the impetus is laid on one's educational foundation and the pillars that surround it.

The onus of choosing between the two management programs falls on the students and the institution they wish to pursue their management objectives. While the PGDM offers a few practical advantages in the form of real-time business world experience and industry-oriented course structure, the MBA brings with it the age-old management principles that have stood the test of time. All in all, the decision between the two programs can be decided on aspects such as placement record and ranking of the B-School, reputation & history of the B-School, student-faculty ratio, quality of alumni, location of the B-School, and the fee structure.