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Almost every good student in the country desires to acquire a post-graduate degree in management irrespective of what he or she has studied, because the trend favors adding a management qualification in giving them a competitive edge in the fiercely tough job market. Consequently, there is a lot of agonizing about the merits of the B-schools where the management education can be acquired. However, there are many who omit to look into the basics of where they really want their careers to go to and what they should be focusing on. One of the lesser-acknowledged debates is the choice between a management degree (MBA) and a diploma in management (PGDM). It is important that all students of management know exactly what the differences are so that they end up making a choice that is more rational and founded on
knowledge than assumptions.

Cutting through the Confusion

Possibly the only thing the students aspiring for a management education really know is that they want to get ahead of the others in the job rat race and earn the superlative salaries that are talked about with so much awe in print and television. All they understand is that to achieve this goal, they need to get admitted to the best B-schools in the country or even abroad, and emerge with knives sharpened two years later. Towards this end, they are prepared to expend as much money and effort that is required by enrolling into the best coaching classes. Many students are prepared to sacrifice their real interests in the race to get ahead and could not even care less what the course contents are as long as the qualification is recognized and attractive to industry. One of the main conundrums is choosing between an MBA and a PGDM. One is a degree but often the other, a diploma, is more recognized.

The Difference: University Affiliation

The award of a management degree i.e. MBA can only be done by a management institute affiliated to a recognized university, whereas standalone institutes, however established or reputed they might be, can only award post-graduate diplomas in management or PGDM, as it is usually referred as. It is for this simple reason that the famous Indian Institutes of Management offer PGDMs whereas Faculty of Management Studies or Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies award degrees because they are affiliated to the Delhi and Mumbai Universities respectively. While universities are not required to be recognized by AICTE, autonomous institutes awarding PGDMs require AICTE-approval to protect the rights of the students. For the top-ranked institutes, it does not really matter whether they award degrees or diplomas as there is widespread recognition and industry acceptance, however it may be wiser to stick only to university-affiliated institutes to prevent getting ripped off by unscrupulous private colleges.

The Difference: Curriculum Focus

To a great extent, there is no difference in the course content of an MBA or a PGDM, however in general it has been observed that there is a greater focus on theory and principles of management in the degree courses while PGDMs are more industry-oriented and focused on development of essential soft skills rather than scoring high in the examinations. One can say that PGDMs prepare you better for the job market however MBAs give you more in-depth knowledge about a particular aspect of management and its evolution.

The Difference: Curriculum Flexibility

Private autonomous B-schools generally tend to be more nimble than their university-affiliated counterparts as they can frame their own rules and implement them without any hindrance, while university-affiliated colleges need to follow many rules and regulations before they can make any change in the syllabus. This makes structuring of PGDM course content more dynamic and adaptable to the changing industrial environment and demands of the industry. Experts observe that MBAs are helpful in developing business knowledge and technical skills, whereas diplomas being more industry-focused help in building more robust corporate careers. Aspiring managers can also acquire management qualifications by enrolling in part-time courses that will usually end with an award of a diploma. www.bubblews.com tips on studying part time MBA is a good resource for more information on this opportunity.

Jack Dawson is the admissions counselor of a leading autonomous management institute.

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