The Degree Dilemma Between PGDM or MBA


Business administration is a popular choice for many graduates. Most students opt for MBA and prepare for the GMAT exam. However, there are some who forego those two years of rigor and opt for a PGDM certification instead.

Now you might wonder why anyone would settle for certification in management instead of a full-blown Master’s degree. What is the difference between the two? Which one is better for you? If you’re interested in finding out, read on.

Certification versus Degree

Let’s get the cat out of the bag. The MBA or Master’s degree in Business Administration is a coveted degree offered only by Universities, or colleges and institutes affiliated to a University. A PGDM or PGCM is a certification course. Any educational institute can offer such a course without accreditation or affiliation.


MBA is a comprehensive course which focuses on issues in business. Usually, it is an important milestone in the career of a student who is serious about gaining advanced knowledge in management. Core modules start from a concrete understanding of essentials in management and advance further into topics such as economics, human resource management, marketing, sales, leadership, business strategy and decision making to name a few.

A typical MBA degree stretches as far as 20 months to 36 months depending on the level of complexity and comprehensiveness. Many top Universities also offer a placement or an internship as a part of the course. As such, an MBA degree enhances the employment prospects and credentials as the candidate completes a specialization and gains valuable work experience while learning.

The Certification

Certification programs run for lesser periods than MBA degrees. The typical duration of a certification program lies anywhere between 3-4 months for a fast track course to 6-8 months for a more complicated course. There are a few exceptions to this rule, where you might find a longer PGDM course.

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Topics covered include marketing, public relations, digital media, logistics, retail and advertising among others. Ideally, certification programs are more suited for working professionals who need to upgrade their skills and be more competitive on the executive ladder. Even though fresh graduates can apply to some of these courses, most certifications require one to two years’ work experience in the chosen field. Many such courses are available from private institutions as well as affiliated colleges and universities.

What do I Choose?

There are many factors to be considered before you settle on an option. The most important thing is to check whether an MBA or a certification is applicable to you in your long term goals. You may have a preset career path in mind, but it never hurts to investigate and conduct background checks.

MBA degree prepares you for the big, bad world of business. Additionally, it is a requirement if you are willing to undertake post-graduate research and get a doctoral degree. Certification is necessary when you need a leg-up in your current employment scenario. Being stuck in a dead- end job is akin to solitary confinement in many ways, and the only way to break through is to change careers or reskill yourself. Certification in business administration might be what you need in this situation.

However, there are certain specifications which trump an MBA outright, for example, a job where skills in cybersecurity are necessary. In such cases, the candidate with a certification or a diploma is preferred over someone with an MBA, even with higher scores. But these situations should be considered an exception rather than the norm.

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The next important thing is to consider your budget. MBA programs are a costly affair, and they require strict entry requirements on top of your GMAT score. Comparatively, certification programs cost about a fraction and have flexible entry requirements. So, it may not be a bad idea to check for online MBA in Canada, as more institutes offer distance learning in the wake of globalization and Web 2.0. Click this link to study online MBA in Canada from JCU.

It is not rocket science to gauge the pros and cons of an MBA versus Diploma. With the right knowledge, you can make the correct choice and steer your education towards your life goals with relative ease.