Is a PGDM good enough? Or, should you go for an MBA?


In December 2010 The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) issued a notification whereby autonomy of PGDM institutions relating to admission, curriculum, evaluation, fee fixing and governance was proposed to be withdrawn.

Recently, the Supreme Court allowed the PGDM institutions to go ahead with their admission process for the year 2015-16 with pre-AICTE notification (2010) status. The apex court granted extension to its interim stay (March 17, 2011) against AICTE’s Notification on the autonomy of PGDM Institutions. 



Opinion is always divided as all sides cite various reasons supporting their preference. What does MBA and PGDM stand for? MBA is a degree course, while PGDBM is a diploma course. Institutes affiliated to a university have the authority to grant MBA degree.

On the other hand PGDBM courses are offered by private B-Schools that are not affiliated to any University. These institutes prepare their own syllabus, and they are no way dependent on the universities and enjoy full autonomy of their courses.


Directors’ take

Dr. Pratima Sheorey, Director at Symbiosis Centre for Management and HRD says, “PGDM is a term which is unique to India, probably nowhere in the world one can get an MBA which has some other name, so the MHRD is looking to disband the term ‘PGDM’. Now the government is thinking that instead of PGDM why not give MBA. So, to do that they asked PGDM institutions to get affiliated to a university, and the moment you get affiliated you will get the MBA degree and the AICTE circular was an experiment to check how people react to it.”

Dr Shourie added that the government is interested in getting rid of PGDM and in such a scenario UGC affiliation is the only way out.  Let us take the example in which institutions are charging Rs. 16-17 Lakh for PGDM courses for two years and we also have MBA which is being offered for just Rs. 30-40,000 and they are running short of students while in case of PGDM we have line of students seeking admission, it gives an idea of the demand and the value give by different types of education to the students. On one thing most of the stakeholders agree that as far as the reputation of MBA or PGDM courses are concerned, it all depends on the name of the B-School.


Prof Shekhar Chaudhuri, Director, School of Management & Entrepreneurship, Shiv Nadar University and former Director IIM Calcutta opined, “IIMs have been offering PDGM for over 50 years now and many of the alumni have been saying that we do everything in this programme but we do not get a degree. When they go out for fellow programme, which is equivalent to PhD, they ask us to give certificate equivalent to degree and we give AIU, which states that it is equivalent to PhD degree. Foreign universities go clueless on this concept of equivalent to fellow programme that we give. Degree gives the recognition, is equivalent to a degree in foreign countries and many students because of the quality and the price of programme lots of students would come here to do their management degree. ”

Dr Jitendra K. DasDr Jitendra K. Das,

Director, Fore School
of ManagementIf the government permits a PGDM institutions to grant degrees nothing like it. But for granting degree, if I have to go to a University then I am not ready for it because I will have to lose my autonomy


Dr Pratima SheoreyDr Pratima Sheorey,

Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management and HRD

PGDM is a term which is unique to India, probably nowhere in the world one can get an MBA which has some other name, so the Ministry of Human Resource Development is looking to disband the term ‘PGDM’


Prof. Shekhar ChaudhuriProf. Shekhar Chaudhuri,

Director, School of Management & Entrepreneurship, Shiv Nadar University

Autonomy is the most important characteristic of a good institution. Such institutions can decide everything quickly. So, getting under a university will not be good for a PGDM institution

Who should regulate PGDM?

The SC last year had said colleges affiliated to any university do not come under AICTE purview; thereby shrinking AICTE’s role in regulating technical institutions. The ruling also left the AICTE as an advisor. After the April 25 SC order, the UGC decided to take over control of technical education and framed guidelines for universities.

Talking about the measures to adopt for regulating admission into PGDM institutions Dr. Gopal Iyengar, Director, Kirloskar Institute of Advance Management Studies said, “Being under AICTE when our students wanted to do some additional course overseas that fact that it was recognized by a government body facilitated it. I do not have any problem which regulatory body is regulating the PGDM education as long as it is to keep out the black sheep. I think AICTE is a far better regulator that the UGC and we can deal with it while we don’t know what’s going to come with the UGC, it is going to be completely new and different and we don’t know what will happen.” He went on to say that there should be Management Council like the Medical Council, Bar Council, etc., that should regulate the profession of management, rather than the institutions.   


New mechanism

The MHRD is working on a mechanism under which UGC is set to regulate B-Schools that offer a master’s in management and are affiliated to universities, while AICTE will regulate independent B-schools, which offer PGDM.

Prof S S Mantha, then Chairman, AICTE, speaking about the current state of regulation  said, “As far as AICTE is concerned, its role is still of an advisor and a regulator. There is a need to reinvent the management schools once again and to find out what will count with the industry today. Most of the industries that we see are going under tremendous change and it all comes back to the education system and there is need to re-frame the curriculum.” “The government is looking at technical education very seriously and necessary course correction will take place by 2015,” he added.        


Autonomous-institutionsAutonomy of PGDM institutions

Following the AICTE 2010 notification, in February 2011 the Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) and couple of others filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the notification.

The notification stipulated not only doing away with important MBA entrance exams, such as the CAT, XAT, ATMA or MAT, but ascertained that only CAT, MAT or any state government-conducted exams can serve as entry points to B-Schools.

Prof H Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH and Alternate President of the EPSI, while speaking at the Management Conclave organized by Careers 360 said, “Last four years have been very challenging for management education in the country. PGDM institutions represent whatever is healthy and vibrant in management education. In any ranking one can find that 90% of the top positions are occupied by PGDM institutions because PGDM means autonomous programmes without the hassles of going to a university and asking everything from the clerical staff sitting in the affiliation department.”


Prof Chaudhuri said that autonomy is the most important characteristic of a good institution. If you get associated with some university, you will not be able to review your programme, syllabus, to do this it will have to pass through the senate of a university, which would take ten years. The autonomous institutions can decide upon all the things quickly. So, getting under a university will not be good for a PGDM institution.     


Fear of regulation

When it comes to PGDM institutions they are concerned that the government may bring a regulation under which they will have to cede their autonomy to a university, which will be granting degrees to PGDM institutions. The major concern related to autonomy of these institutions is that if they get under a university they will not be able to decide on their curriculum, fee structure and admission process.

However many of the experts are of the view that the best PGDM institutions even if they get under a university will have the freedom to decide upon all these issues without losing their autonomy. The problem is because of large numbers of PGDM institutions which are not up to the mark. The government is also mulling at the options to replace PGDM with MBA totally.


Dr Jitendra K. Das, Director, Fore School of Management said, “Ideally I do not think there should be any PGDM because I have been facing problem in explaining international clients what a PGDM means, we should have a MBA programme. If government by change of some Act permits a PGDM institution to grant degrees nothing like it but for grating degree if I have to go to a University then I am not ready for it because there I will have to lose my autonomy.” 



India has now more than 300 autonomous B-Schools or PGDM institutions operating without university affiliation, but with AICTE approval. After the 2013 SC order there was widespread fear among B-Schools that with UGC taking over AICTE’s role of regulating them, there would be a question mark over PGDM. For the betterment of management education the govt. needs to clearly define the role of AICTE, the UGC, and their jurisdiction. 


Related Articles