PGDM Vs MBA: Know the difference between PGDM and MBA

PGDM Vs MBA: Know the difference between PGDM and MBA

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Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 13, 2024 13:17 IST

PGDM vs MBA is a comparison every management aspirant has is mind before signing up for a course. So, what is the difference between PGDM and MBA? While MBA is a degree courses, PGDM is a diploma. Read this article to know more.


"What is the difference between MBA and PGDM?” is a very important question that every Management aspirant must ask before choosing a course. 

PGDM and MBA both are management courses at Master’s level. PGDM full form is Post Graduate Diploma in Management which means it is a diploma course. MBA on the other hand is a degree course. While, there is not much difference between the two in the job market, a degree is always preferred over a diploma. 

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MBA and PGDM are both business-orientated courses. The main aim of both these courses is train and equip an individual with the latest techniques and skills in business administration and management.

Q:   Is CMAT easier than CAT?


Yes, CMAT is much easier that CAT exam. Despite the fact that CMAT and CAT syllabus are same and that CMAT has two more sections than CAT the former is much easier than the latter. The CAT exam is usually of moderate to high difficulty level, whereas the CMAT exam is of easy to moderate difficulty level.

There are key differences between CMAT and CAT which make the former easier. There is no sectional time limit in CMAT so candidates do not face the pressure of completing a given section within certain time limit. In CAT there are 4-5 Reading Comprehension passages which are 500-600 words, and 12-14 question.

In CMAT there is usually, only one Reading Comprehension passage, having 4 questions. The Quantitative Aptitude questions of CMAT are also easier than CAT and so are Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation questions. It is easier to score high percentile in CMAT as the number of applicants is more than one Lacs less in CAT.

Q:   Which exam is easier amongst CAT, NMAT, XAT and CMAT?


The difficulty level of exams may vary depending on numerous factors, including an individual's preparation, conceptual knowledge and aptitude. However, based on the past student reactions, the difficulty level of these exams is often perceived as mentioned below:

  1. CMAT is considered relatively easier in comparison with other MBA exams mentioned. Typically, the CMAT question paper is designed to test candidate's knowledge in quantitative techniques, logical reasoning, language comprehension, along with general awareness.
  2. NMAT is considered to be moderately difficult if compared with CMAT. NMAT question papers are designed with a focus on skills like language proficiency, logical reasoning, and quantitative aptitude. Candidates are allowed to choose the order of sections and provides some flexibility.
  3. CAT is the most challenging MBA exam from the list. Different IIM conduct CAT exam every year for admission to PGP courses. Almost all the MBA aspirants in India appear for CAT exam. Therefore, it becomes challenging to score well in the exam. CAT assesses candidate's aptitude in similar sections, such as quantitative ability, verbal ability and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning.
  4. XAT is also considered a challenging exam However, it is easier than CAT. XLRI Jamshedpur conducts XAT exam for admission to its MBA programme. Besides XLRI, several other b-schools accept XAT scores for admission. XAT assesses candidates on similar sections as CAT, with the addition of a general awareness section.

Proper preparation, practice, and understanding of the exam pattern and syllabus are crucial for success in any of these exams. therefore, candidates must plan a well structured preparation startegy for NMAT and other MBA exams.

Q:   What makes CAT tougher than other MBA entrance exams?

CAT exam is a national level MBA entrance exam conducted by the IIM. Every year, over 2.3 Lacs candidates apply for it. The CAT score is accepted by the Iims and all top MBA colleges in India. To select the best candidates from over 2.3 Lacs test takers there is a need for tough criteria. That's why, the CAT exam is tougher than other MBA entrance exams. Even though the syllabus of CAT is same as that of other MBA entrance exams, the question paper set by the IIM faculty always has tough questions. Moreover, CAT has sectional time limit for each section which is not there in any other exam expect XAT. Having a time limit for each section adds pressure on candidates to complete solving adequate number of questions in a section within the time limit. If a student is weak in a particular subject, they can't use the time as per their need. CAT's Reading Comprehension passages are long and dense unlike other MBA exams. This is one more reason why most candidates feel CAT is tougher than any other MBA entrance exam.

5 key differences between PGP(M)/PGDM and MBA

While both the courses have the same outcomes in terms of employment perspective, there are some subtle differences such as recognition, fees, etc. Since tbe MBA admissions have started foir 2024 batch, aspirants must know the difference between MBA and PGDM to make a better choice of course and colleges. Below, we have listed five differences between PGP(M)/PGDM and MBA:

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1. PGDM vs MBA (Degree vs Diploma)

At the end of a PGP and PGDM course, the candidate is offered a Diploma whereas at the end of an MBA programme, the candidate receives a Degree.

Many students think that a Diploma course does not hold the same value as a Degree course but that is not true. Many Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top B-Schools such as XLRI, Jamshedpur and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai offer PGP or PGDM courses. Most of these institutes are autonomous bodies (not affiliated to any University). Between a PGDM and an MBA, the difference is of nomenclature but not of professional value.

Both MBA and PGDM are highly valued in the job market as they are same in terms of course accreditation, curriculum and pedagogy. Another key factor is the institute. For example, a PGDM course from XLRI Jamshedpur will have more professional value than a degee course from a state university.

Q:   Is XAT tougher than CAT?


XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) and CAT (Common Admission Test) are both popular management entrance exams in India. Both exams are known for their high level of difficulty and are considered challenging to crack. In terms of difficulty, it is difficult to compare XAT and CAT as both exams have their own unique characteristics.

However, XAT is considered to be more challenging than CAT in certain aspects such as:

1) Exam Pattern: XAT has a more varied exam pattern as compared to CAT. XAT has an additional section of General Knowledge, Essay Writing, and decision-making which requires a different skill set as compared to CAT.

2)Time Management: XAT has a higher number of questions as compared to CAT. And the time allotted for the exam is also relatively less. This makes time management a critical aspect for XAT aspirants.

3) Verbal Ability: XAT has a stronger focus on Verbal Ability as compared to CAT. The Reading Comprehension passages in XAT are usually longer and more complex than CAT. Which makes it more challenging. However, it is important to note that the level of difficulty of these exams varies from year to year, and it ultimately depends on the individuals preparation and skill set.

Q:   Is MAT exam easier than other MBA entrance exams?


Yes, the difficulty level of MAT exam is lower than other MBA entrance exams. The question paper is usually of easy to moderate difficulty level. The exam is now held for 120 minutes. There are now 150 questions in the exam paper. There is no sectional time limit in MAT which allows the candidate to plan a strategy according to their strengths and weaknesses. The score of Indian and Global Environment section is not considered for percentile calculation thus candidates don't have the stress of fifth section. Also, solving 150 questions is not mandatory so candidates can choose to solve only those questions which they know they can solve accurately. Sectional difficulty level of MAT is also lower than other MBA exams. Candidates can attempt the exam multiple times in the same academic year to improve their score. They also have the option to choose the mode of test - CBT, IBT, PBT - which makes it the most student friendly exam. Also, the MAT cut offs for admission are much lower as compared to other entrance exams.

Q:   Which is better MAT or CMAT?

MAT and CMAT have similar syllabus but the difficulty level is different. Both exams have Quantitative Aptitude Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, English and General Knowledge. CMAT has an additional section - Innovation and Entrepreneurship which was introduced in 2021. While MAT is an easy exam, CMAT is moderately tough but to say which is better totally depends upon the college a candidate is targeting for MBA Admission. The participating colleges for both exams are different. If a candidate's dream college accepts MAT score, then they appear for MAT but if their dream college accepts CMAT then they should appear for CMAT. The CMAT exam is conducted by the NTA only once in a year but MAT is conducted multiple times in a year. AIMA conducts MAT in February, May, September and December. So, unlike CMAT MAT gives a candidate the choice to appear for the exam when they are well prepared and improve test score in the same academic session. The benefit of CMAT or MAT is that former is accepted by all government and state universities/institutes whereas latter is accepted by mostly private institutes.

Q:   Which are the most preferable colleges under CMAT and MAT? What is their requirement?

Hi, It is important to find the right B-School among the most aspired and reputed. One that offers an excellent track record, high quality education, and a pick at one of the best corporate. Below are list of top MBA colleges accepting MAT and CMAT score: 1- IILM University, Gurugram 2- Birla Institute of Technology, Mersa 3- Jagan Institute of Management Studies 4- ITM group of Institution 5- JK Business School Gurugram 6- Jaypee Business School Noida 7- Amity University Eligibility for an MBA degree: As per the eligibility, student should have 50% in academics and applied in any of the entrance exam like CAT CMAT MAT NMAT SNAP etc. Hope this help!

Q:   Which is a better college amongst BULMIM or Bimtech? Which college should I prefer as I scored 86 percentile in XAT?

Both BULMIM and BIMTECH are reputed management colleges in India. BULMIM (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Usha & Lakshmi Mittal Institute of Management) is located in New Delhi, and BIMTECH (Birla Institute of Management Technology) is located in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Since you have scored 86 percentile in XAT you have a decent chance of getting admission in both colleges. However, the final selection will depend on various factors such as your preference of location, course curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, and placement opportunities. Here is a brief comparison of BULMIM and BIMTECH based on various parameters: Ranking: Both colleges are well-ranked and reputed. BIMTECH is consistently ranked among the top 50 management colleges in India, while BULMIM is ranked among the top 100. Course Curriculum: Both colleges offer a two-year full-time PGDM programme with a similar course curriculum. However, BIMTECH offers a wide range of specializations such as Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations, and International Business, whereas BULMIM offers only two specializations - Marketing and Finance. Faculty: Both colleges have a team of experienced faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. Infrastructure: BIMTECH has a sprawling campus spread over 7.5 acres with state-of-the-art infrastructure, including a well-stocked library, computer labs, auditorium, and sports facilities. BULMIM also has a decent infrastructure with a library, computer labs, and a seminar hall. Placements: Both colleges have a good placement record with reputed companies visiting the campus for recruitment. However, BIMTECH has a better placement record and a higher average package as compared to BULMIM. Based on the above comparison, BIMTECH seems to be a better option than BULMIM. However, it is always advisable to visit the campus, interact with the faculty and students, and conduct thorough research before making a final decision.

Also Read: Top PGDM Colleges in India: NIRF Ranks, Placements, Fees

Check CAT cutoffs and predict calls from IIMs and other Top MBA Colleges, whether your CAT score is 70 percentile, 80 percentile or 90 percentile. Check Fees, Placement Reviews, Admission, Shortlist Criteria and eligibility of all MBA Colleges by clicking the link below:

Predict IIM & Non IIM Calls

2.MBA vs PGDM: Syllabus

In most cases, the MBA course curriculum is designed by the university. The core MBA syllabus (and sometimes even elective subjects) will be pretty much the same in two MBA colleges under the same university. Even though the PGDM syllabus is no different from the MBA syllabus, since PGPM or PGDM courses are determined by the individual institute, it gives them certain flexibility to design the course curriculum. The MBA syllabus undergoes change according to industrial requirements periodically. Universities tend to lag behind and change their syllabus after a few years.

3.MBA vs PGDM: Susceptible to Fraudulence

Since PGP or PGDM courses are offered by autonomous bodies, students need to be careful while taking admission. Many smaller colleges and institutes make claims but do not have proper accreditation status. MBA degrees are conferred by varsities, and hence there’s a lower chance of fraudulent claims. Management aspirants should look for genuine accreditations. Apart from UGC recognition, management institutes are accredited by NAAC, AACSB, AMBA and Equis. 

Also Read: Understanding MBA Accreditation

4. MBA vs PGDM: Focus Subjects

Both MBA and PGDM courses have common core subjects. However, some experts claim most MBA courses focus more on theoretical and technical aspects of management rather than adopting a practical approach. PGP or PGDM courses on the other hand, have an industrial orientation and focus on skills-based on market requirements.            

5. MBA vs PGDM: Cost

It has been observed that most MBA courses have lower tuition fees as compared to PGP or PGDM courses. This is so because MBA degree is offered mostly by government institutions. These universities receive financial aid and grants from the government, making the degree cheaper for the student. In case of a PGP or PGDM degree, students have to bear the cost of the entire programme as private universities that offer these degrees have no government backing. However, this is not an ironclad rule. There are insitutes which charge high tuition fees like the IIMs. The IIMs have high MBA fees despite not-being a private institution. This is because, it is an autonomous institution not funded by the government. However, the MHRD has some role to play in running the IIMs. 

Difference between MBA and PGDM

There are several other factors which make MBA and PGDM different entities. The below table indicates the basic differences between MBA and PGDM:


What is PGDM?

What is MBA?

Approving Authority

AICTE, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India.

AICTE, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, UGC Approval is needed at the university level.


Valid and equivalent to Post Graduate Degree.

Valid Post Graduate Degree.


Graduation in any stream or equivalent degree from a recognised university. Minimum 50 % in graduation (45 % for Reserved category students) or equivalent score.

Graduation in any stream or equivalent degree from a recognised university. Minimum 50 % in graduation (45 % for Reserved category students) or equivalent score.


Depends upon the institution. Most of the PGDM institutions have better placement records than MBA institutions.

Depends upon the institution. Comparatively, Some of the MBA institutions like FMS, JBIMS have better placement records.

Course Syllabus

Dynamic, Gets updated as per needs of the industry. The syllabus is approved by AICTE.

The syllabus is prepared by universities and gets updated less frequently.

Innovative Practices

Teaching and training are multidimensional. Cases, simulations, presentations, short term training are part of pedagogy.

Limited scope for innovation as practices are defined by syllabus prepared by central body i.e. University.

Ranking in general (by business magazines and student-centric websites)

90% of top 100 are PGDM institutions owing to better teaching, training, exposure and placements. Eg: IIMs, XLRI, MDI, IMT, GIM, and many more.

Approximately 10 out of the top 100 are MBA institutions such as FMS, NMIMS, KJSIMS, SCMHRD, etc.


Equivalent to MBA from any Indian University. For PhD, Teaching (UGC NET) and all other purposes.

MBA a post-graduate degree.

Entrance Process

Thorough CATMAT/XAT/ATMA and some state-level examinations like TSICETMAH-CET etc.

Thorough national and state tate level entrance examinations like CAT, MAT, CMAT, TSICET, MAH-CET etc.


PGDM institutions are authorised by approving body, AICTE, to conduct the  Examinations 

Examinations are conducted by University

Colleges Offering MBA or PGDM

Here is the list of IIMs and other Top Management Colleges Offering MBA and PGDM/PGP courses:

College Name


IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Bangalore


IIM Calcutta


IIM Lucknow


IIM Kozhikode


IIM Indore


IIM Shillong


IIM Ranchi


IIM Rohtak


IIM Bodh Gaya


IIM Visakhapatnam


IIM Trichy


IIM Jammu


IIM Kashipur


IIM Sambalpur


IIM Udaipur


IIM Amritsar


IIM Nagpur


IIM Raipur


IIM Sirmaur


XLRI Jamshedpur


MDI Gurgaon






IMT Ghaziabad


IIFT Delhi


FMS Delhi University


JBIMS Mumbai


Symbiosis International Deemed to be University






IIT Kharagpur - VGSOM


IIT Roorkee- DOMS






IIT-ISM Dhanbad


IIT Jodhpur


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FAQs on Difference Between MBA and PGDM

Q: What is the difference between PGDM and MBA?

A: MBA refers to a management degree issued by a University and PGDM refers to Post Graduate Diploma in Management offered by a private college, institute or university, affiliated to AICTE. The course curriculum, pedagogy, teaching methods, etc. are same for both courses. Even the market value is alomst same for both. 

Q: Which is more valuable between MBA and PGDM?

A: The value of MBA and PGDM is determined on the basis of certain factors such as the quality of the course curriculum, pedagogy and the institute’s ranking, repute and placement records. However, since MBA is a degree course, it is more valuable that PGDM which is a diploma course. 

Q: Is PGDM and MBA same?

A: PGDM is Diploma course whereas MBA is a degree course, hence it cannot be claimed that a PGDM is completely equivalent to an MBA degree. There are a lot of similarities between the two such as core subjects, specialisations, curriculum, training and market value. Despite all the similarities, they are not the same as the recognition is different.

Q: Do IIMs offer MBA or PGDM?

A: Some IIMs offer MBA and some IIMs offer Post Graduate Programme (PGP) or Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM). Until 2017, the IIMs offered PGDM and PGP, but the IIM Bill passed that year allows them to offer MBA degree as well. Also Read: President gives nod to IIM Bill, institutes can award degrees.

Q: Which is better among MBA and PGDM?

A: There is no hard and fast fact which can furnish an MBA or PGDM to be better than the other. The quality of management course, be it MBA or PGDM, depends on factors like quality of curriculum, pedagogy, faculty, placements, industry and international exposure, to name a few.

Q: Is it possible to pursue an MBA after completing PGDM?

A: As per the eligibility criteria of the MBA, candidates should have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised institute or university. Postgraduate candidates are also eligible to apply for MBA. Hence, if a candidate wants to pursue MBA after completing PGDM are eligible to do so.

Q: What are the scopes of higher education after completing MBA and PGDM?

A: After completing an MBA, students can pursue PhD in Management. Students who want to pursue academics can opt for Fellow Programme in Management. Since PhD is a doctorate degree which can be opted after completing a master’s degree, PGDM students will not be eligible for PhD. However, FPM is equivalent to PhD.

Q: Is it necessary to do an MBA to get a Government job?

A: No, it is not necessary to have an MBA degree to get a managerial job in a Government organisation. A PGDM in a relevant specialisation can also be equally eligible or suitable for a managerial role in a Government organisation. However, having an MBA or a PGDM degree is not enough for getting a job in any organisation. The candidate has to fulfil other eligibility criteria or other skills required for the role.

Q: Which course is more affordable among MBA and PGDM?

A: Generally MBA programmes are more affordable than PGDM. Especially those MBA programmes which are offered by Government or public universities. The fee range of MBA programmes in government colleges and universities is under Rs 2 lakh while in private institutes and universities it can go up to Rs 25 lakh.

Q: Which are some of the top MBA colleges in India?

A: Some of the top MBA colleges in India include Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi; Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), University of Mumbai; KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (KJSIMSR), Mumbai, to name a few.

Q: Which are some of the top colleges offering PGDM?

A: Some of the top management institutes in India that offer PGDM/PGP include the IIMs, Management Development Institute Gurgaon, XLRI Jamshedpur, SPJIMR Mumbai, among others. Chcck full list of top 20 PGDM colleges in India

About the Author
Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content

Vipra is a massive Breaking Bad fan. When not watching crime drama series, she spends time in updating the list of places she wants to visit and people she wants to meet, but she is happiest in the company of dogs. ... Read Full Bio




saurabh borse

3 years ago

ISMS pune mba global program is good or worth doing??

Reply to saurabh borse


Ashok Yadav

3 years ago

in this article initially it is written PGDM can apply for Ph.d..ln later part it states PGDM are not eligible for Ph.d as it is Diploma

Reply to Ashok Yadav


nandhini s

5 years ago

whether PGDM is better than MBA?

Reply to nandhini s


Manisha Kashyap

4 years ago

Tell me about IBA college or ISBR BANGLORE college is good for PDGM



4 years ago

MBA Vs PGDM PGDM expands as Post Graduate Diploma in Management and it is NOT a degree. PGDM is offered by any autonomous body which is NOT affiliated to any University. As a result, such institutes are not allowed to provide MBA degree. However, these programs are approved by AICTE. The main reas