Degree or Diploma – Should you go for distance MBA or PGDM?

Distance and online programs in management are very popular these days due to the flexibility and affordability they offer. But some universities claim to offer MBA while others offer PGDM. Students get confused since they are not sure if these two programs are equivalent and if they will be treated at par by future employers.

The MBA degree programs offered through distance mode are as valid and accepted as those offered through regular courses as long as they are approved by the Distance Education Bureau (DEB) of the University Grants Commission (UGC). A degree can be offered only by a university or an institute affiliated to a university. The university designs the syllabus for the program and institutes need to follow the syllabus.

On the other hand, post graduate diplomas are not awarded by universities and therefore their approval is granted by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). These courses are offered by autonomous educational institutions not affiliated to any universities. Thus, they are at liberty to regularly change and upgrade their course content keeping pace with latest developments in the field. Diploma programs were created to fast track the process of curriculum revision and teach students latest skills and make them industry ready.

Whether a student should choose a distance MBA or a distance PGDM depends on their specific goals. A student who wishes to focus on real business skills can choose the PGDM course as these courses have a very practical approach to teaching and focus mainly on tackling real problems related to business management.

On the other hand, those who wish to study further in this field, whether in India or abroad can select the distance MBA. MBA degree programs are more theoretical in approach and are more accepted in the case a student wants to pursue doctorate.

There are a large number of UGC approved distance MBA and AICTE approved PGDM courses in India some of which are offered by IGNOU, Sikkim Manipal University and Amity University, Symbiosis Institute of Management among others.

The following is an outline of some of the top distance mode MBA courses available in India

University Name Course Name Course Eligibility Course Fees Course Duration
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) MBA Graduate 3 year degree in any discipline from any recognized university with minimum 50% (general category) or 45% (SC/ST).Candidates must qualify in IGNOU’S OPENMAT Entrance test. INR 37,800 2 – 5 years
ICFAI University Tripura MBA Graduates in any discipline INR 65000 2 years
Amity University MBA Completion of 12 years of formal schoolingGraduates in any discipline from a recognized university with minimum 40% INR 2,14,800 2 years
Sikkim Manipal University MBA Graduates in any discipline or an equivalent degree.   Students need to clear the  SMU-DDE Management Aptitude Test or SMAT.D DDE Management Aptitude Test – (SMAT DE Management Aptitude Test – (SMAT INR 85,000 2 years
Annamalai University MBA Graduates in any discipline from a recognized university having studied in the (10+2+3) format. The course fee depends upon the MBA specialization selected. 2 years

The following is an outline of some of the top distance mode PGDM courses available in India

Institute Name Course Name Course Eligibility Course Fees Course Duration
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning PGDBA Graduate in any discipline from a recognised university.   Final year degree students may also apply provided they ultimately pass the degree.   International / SAARC students with degrees from recognized and accredited institutes can apply. INR 46,000 2 years
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Science – NMIMS PGDBM Graduates in any discipline (10+2+3) or equivalent degree recognized by AIU with minimum 50% at the graduate level.   OR Graduates in any discipline (10+2+3) or equivalent degree recognized by AIU with less than 50% at the graduate level and minimum 2 years’ work experience. INR 86,000 2 years
Institute of Management Technology – IMT Ghaziabad PGDM Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline from any recognized University or equivalent degree recognized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). INR 1,11,000 2 years
MIT School of Distance Education PGDM-Project Management Any graduate INR 50,000 18 months

In conclusion it can be said that ultimately both offer the same quality of education and future work prospects. A student can opt for either, provided that the courses are recognized by the concerned authorities. As stated above, the choice finally is contingent upon the individual goals of each student.


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