Executive MBA or MBA: Which is The Best Option for a Fulfilling Career?

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The single largest confusion that resides in the minds of prospective students of management after having completed graduation is regarding the sort of post-graduation management course they should enroll in. The confusion becomes compounded as the terminology of the courses is quite similar. The choice usually is between Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The Master of Business Administration is a degree course offered by universities that are affiliated to the University Grant Commission, the apex body that recognizes universities based on specific criteria on course structure, faculty and other considerations. The course is typically conducted over a two year period and requires students to attend it full time, though some universities make allowances for working students to finish the course through evening classes spread over three years. The course includes the theoretical aspects of many different business areas such as marketing, finance and accounting, human resources, business strategy, operations, production, materials and allied areas.

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) courses are offered by many institutes and business schools that are usually autonomous bodies affiliated to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). AICTE is the nodal body for certifying that the courses meet with certain specified standards that are uniform across the country. PGDM courses usually have an industry focus and are relatively more flexible to changes in the curricula as per market and industry trends. As a result, it is possible for students to study the finer aspects of many areas that are typically not covered by MBA curricula, such as retail, forest, international business, supply chain and logistics, public policy, environment, to name just a few.

The PGDM courses have an emphasis on the development of entrepreneurial and leadership skills along with the standard general management toolkit. The specializations possible are usually even more than the best of MBA courses offered by universities. The course is also covered in two years and requires full time study. Special curricula structuring is done by many institutes for part-time students who are keen to undertake an Executive MBA to put their careers into the fast track.

Another type of course that prospective management students may encounter is the Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM). These are short term courses on specific areas offered by private institutions that lead to the award of a certificate. These are generally skill up gradation courses and are usually attended by those sponsored by their employers for value-addition and human resource development.


The MBA course is usually structured to impart a more theoretical knowledge about various aspects of business management, development of managerial skills and strategies, whereas the diploma is usually focused on real-life business management issues and development of skills required to tackle them. PGDM courses are normally geared to develop entrepreneurial and leadership qualities in students and focus on innovation in business strategies. There is a greater degree of industry focus in PGDM courses while MBA courses are more focused on the theory of management. The prime reason why PGDM courses enjoy greater flexibility is that they are designed and administered by private institutions that are more nimble when compared to the bureaucratic processes of the government or private universities that need approval of multiple layers of administration. Bubblews.com tips on studying part time MBAare a great resource that is a must-read by prospective students of management.

The other advantage associated with PGDM courses is that being industry-need sensitive, students get more value additions like personality development and grooming classes, communication skill development classes, etc., that give them tangible benefits when it comes to applying for jobs. While careers can receive a substantial boost through PGDM courses, usually students will not be able to pursue any higher studies in management as they do not have a master’s degree.

Author bio: Sujain Thomas is an admissions counselor working for a leading private B-School in Mumbai. An avid blogger, she has compiled a number of resources for students keen on pursuing business management courses.

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