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The Ultimate Guide to MBA and PGDM



Probably, most people pursuing their Under Graduate Studies would have wondered at some point, whether or not they should get a Post Graduate Degree or Diploma in Management. MMS (MBA from the University of Mumbai) or MBA is a degree, which can be pursued on completion of a basic graduate programme. However, it is not as simple as wanting to do your MBA and doing it from any institute. The degree or diploma will have meaning and will add to your resume, only if the course is done from one of the best Management Schools. Most students will probably have to keep their options open, as they may not get into the first college of their choice. Depending upon the university, students will have to start preparing for the entrance exam way ahead of time. All MBA colleges will have their own parameters for deciding whether or not to accept the student. There may be multiple levels of entrance exams – a written exam, a group discussion, a personal interview, etc. It is imperative for students to not just get a good score, but to also make a lasting impression, throughout the admission process.

A lot of students get very confused about the difference between a MBA programme and a PGDM course. Somehow there is a misconception doing the rounds, since a long time, that a PGDM is not as valuable as a MBA. However, as people are becoming more and more aware of the syllabus and more and more quality conscious about the infrastructure and faculty of the B School, they are realising that it is more important to get into the right B School, pursue the right course and have the right hands on learning experience, instead of merely debating over a master’s degree or diploma. There is also the option of a Part Time MBA course for working professionals.


What is Management Education?

Undergraduate Level:

An Under Graduate Management Course can be pursued after finishing HSC or 12th standard, in any discipline. Getting admission in a good college, for an Undergraduate Management Programme may involve appearing for an entrance exam, a group discussion and a personal interview.

Postgraduate Level:

A Postgraduate Diploma or Degree in Management Studies can be done full-time or part time. A Post Graduate Course can have a duration of anywhere between one year and three years, depending on the specialisation and nature of the course. The two main programmes in Postgraduate Management Studies are MBA/MMS and PGDM(Post Graduate Diploma in Management).

Let's look at some of the main differences between an MBA and a PGDM:
  1. The biggest difference between MBA and PGDM is that MBA is a degree programme, but PGDM is a diploma programme.
  2. An institute that is affiliated to a university can offer a MBA programme, while institutes that are not affiliated with any university offer the PGDM course to students.
  3. The value of the degree or diploma will greatly vary, depending on your performance and the specialisation that you have opted for. It is a myth that the MBA is more valuable than PGDM.
  4. A lot of students are of the opinion that doing a PGDM course will not enable them to study further, especially in international universities that do not recognise diplomas. You will need to check for the credits that you may be eligible for, in case you want to go overseas for further education.
  5. As far as the courses that are affiliated with the universities are concerned, the syllabus is provided by the universities. For non-affiliated courses, the syllabus is created to suit industry requirements.

To sum up, there are not many major differences between a MBA/MMS degree and a PGDBA diploma. It all boils down to what you want to specialise in and which college is best suited for the course, you want to pursue.


Selecting the Right B School

Selecting the right B School The ROI on the programme totally depends on the B School you choose. Here are some guidelines for selecting the right B School:
  1. Make a list of at least three B Schools, in the order or preference, so that you have your options open. You need to investigate, if the B School is AICTE approved or UGC approved. Checking out the rankings of the B School, by going through surveys and student forums should also assist you, in taking a call.
  2. Find out which entrance exams CAT/CMAT/MHCET you need to study and appear for, to be eligible for admission in your choice of B Schools.Checking the faculty of the B School, the methods and approaches of teaching, the processes adopted by the B Schools, the pedagogy, etc. will ensure that you are making the right choice.
  3. When it comes to highly specialised courses, it is crucial to check how up-to-date and industry specific the syllabus content is. This will ensure that you are armed with the correct knowledge and global exposure, at the end of the programme.
  4. The infrastructure of the B School must be taken into consideration before making an informed decision. Facilities, such as a wi fi campus, state-of-the-art AC classrooms, e-enabled libraries with all relevant books, periodicals, international online magazines and databases, information and technology centres with wi-fi connectivity, conference rooms equipped with the latest audio-visual facilities and learning aids to create a quasi-corporate ambience, a hi-tech convention centre for seminars and management workshops, should all be included as part of a reputed B School's infrastructure. In addition, students should also have access to recreation areas to unwind and must be given personal laptops on enrolment.
  5. The B School must have a highly qualified placement team /cell in place. It must help students and companies find the right fit. Students should get the right opportunities and get placed in companies, where there is scope for growth and learning. It is imperative to check the recruitment percentage of the B School, before taking a final call.
  6. The B School must have a highly qualified placement team /cell in place. It must help students and companies find the right fit. Students should get the right opportunities and get placed in companies, where there is scope for growth and learning. It is imperative to check the recruitment percentage of the B School, before taking a final call.
  7. If it has always been your dream to start a new venture, then a good Business School can serve as a launch pad for you. Everything from the idea germination stage to incubation and funding and growth is possible, with the right assistance from the B School's Entrepreneurship Development Cell.
  8. As a future student, you must find out what the alumni are doing after graduating from the B School. The alumni are the best brand ambassadors and proof of how good the B School is. Also, if the B School has an Alumni Relations Cell, it can help current and future students in getting access to the right opportunities and interactions.
  9. The right B School should also give you ample industry interaction and exposure in the form of guest lectures, seminars, mentorship programs and workshops.

Since a lot of students may have to take an educational loan to fund their MBA/PGDM/MMS, it is imperative that the investment is made in the right B School, in a specialised course, to ensure maximum ROI.

For a lot of students, the main question at hand is whether or not it is important to do an MBA.


Key Advantages of Pursuing an MBA

Let's look at some of the key advantages of pursuing an MBA, from a good institute:

A good MBA programme will prepare you for the real world:

While there is no denying that no classroom can teach you what hands on experience can add to your credentials, going to a reputed institute will definitely pave the path for a smooth ride ahead. After getting specialized knowledge in your desired field of expertise, the MBA/MMS programme will train you in leadership and management skills. A practical guide to dealing with different kinds of work situations and stressful circumstances in a professional environment can be learned, with the help of a good MBA programme.

A lot of students may be extremely talented at what they do, but they may severely lack the skills and tact needed to deal with other team members. Whether you are working in a small company, a big corporate house or planning on starting your own business, there is no denying that dealing with people from all walks of life is always going to be a huge part of your professional life. With the help of group assignments, case studies and extracurricular activities, students pursuing their MBA can get a chance to mingle and get connected to other people, who have similar goals and plans. It is said that the friends made in Management Schools are usually friends for life.

Since a lot of Under Graduate Programmes are highly broad based, it may be difficult for students to meet like minded friends and peers, while pursuing their graduation. Since a management degree or diploma is a highly specialised course, it is a great choice for anyone who needs the right exposure, in a nurturing environment, surrounded by people with a similar wavelength.

A management degree or diploma can be a boon for a highly skilled introvert. Introverts have a tough time dealing with people and getting along with teams. They would probably want to run to the hills, if they have to work in an office structure that has implemented the no walls concept. These are individuals, who usually prefer to work on their own and are too mild mannered to lead a project or get things done from people. It goes without saying that while these people will always be assets because of their independent work ethic, they will probably have trouble fitting in, in an extrovert work environment.

For such individuals, diving into the work world, straight after graduation can be a nightmare. With the help of a management course, they can gradually ease themselves into expressing their viewpoints and working in a team towards the same goal.

Apart from being a practical playground for learning management and leadership skills, a MBA / PGDM can definitely add a lot of weight to your resume.

From an early age, there is a reason why there is always a fight to get into a good educational institute. The right education and foundation definitely form the backbone of one's professional life. Earlier, the cut-throat competition of getting into the right institute only came into the picture with college studies and higher education. Today, however, the pressure starts at a fairly young age. Everything from where you did your schooling to your participation in extracurricular activities can make a world of difference in your job application.

When you do a management course from a reputed management institution, you are definitely sending out a strong message to your future employers. It will speak volumes about the kind of person you are, even before you walk through the door. Your resume reaches most places, before you get the opportunity to show up. With the help of the right education, internship, extracurricular activities and articulation, you can easily get an interview with a good organisation.

MBA gives you the right launch pad:

When you graduate from a highly reputed MBA institute, you can get the opportunity of being placed in a big corporate house through campus recruitment. World renowned companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon have sourced great talent from Business Schools.

A lot of top rated Business Schools have in-house Entrepreneurship Development Cells, to fund the ideas of budding entrepreneurs, pursuing their degree. Business School Graduates also get tons of networking opportunities, where they can get in touch with Angel Investors, who can invest in bootstrapped start-ups.

A management course can act as a professional finishing school:

The decision to do one's MBA/MMS/PGDM is usually the first education decision, which is taken by the student alone. The earlier choices made by any student, definitely have a lot of conditioning and pressure from friends and family. But the decision to pursue a Post Graduate Degree or Diploma is taken at an age, where it is easier to prioritise your own goals, over what others are expecting you to do. This automatically gives you the sense of ownership and enthusiasm, to look ahead and make your dreams come true.

Things like discipline, dedication, time management, respect for others, working for or with you, the right values, the appropriate work ethic, can all be taught to students, in their management course. Beyond a point, succeeding in the real world goes way beyond just being good at what you do. It has a lot to do with your attitude, when things go your way and your coping mechanism, when they don't.

We are all living in a world of instant gratification and most of us approach most situations with only one question in mind what's in it for me? While it is good to prioritise your own needs and goals, it is also imperative to be a part of something big, something purposeful and something meaningful. When you are working in a huge organisation, your small role has to make a difference to the big picture.

This theory goes far ahead of getting a pay raise, getting that promotion or being nominated for the Employee of the Month Award. While everyone should strive for these things, the driving force has to have something more. Creating the right value for your customers, being part of a well-oiled machine, as a team member and moving towards excellence, are all important, to feel happy about getting up and going to work, each day.

A management institute can definitely instil this drive in any individual, who is willing to go the extra mile and create something more than just a career. Later on, whether you choose to work in a bank, a real estate company, media house or a FMCG group is up to you.


How to Get into a Good Business School

Getting into a top rated business school definitely requires you to prepare ahead of time. The first thing you need to prepare for is the entrance exam. Different schools give admissions, based on different entrance tests. CAT, CMAT and MHCET are the most commonly accepted entrance exams, in Indian Business Schools. It is very crucial to find out the accepted entrance exam score for all the schools you are planning to apply to. Depending on your choice of schools, you may have to appear for more than one entrance exam.

Preparation for the tests can be done independently or by joining specific classes. It is vital to check the current and updated syllabus of the entrance exams, before commencing preparations. Aside from the entrance test scores, the other things, which form a big part of the Business School admission, are group discussions, personal interview, psychometric tests and some presentations. Staying up-to-date as far as the financial markets, politics, economies and other current affairs are concerned, will definitely help you feel confident in group discussions and personal interviews. Also, being well-spoken and well-dressed for the GD and PI are very crucial, in order to make a good impression.


Funding for your MBA

For a lot of students, the main concern is getting an education loan for their Post Graduate Programme. The fee structure will depend on the MBA or MMS institute chosen, the course in question and the duration of the MBA programme. Here are some quick notes for funding your MBA:

  • A lot of banks and Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) have a systematic facility for students to get accepted for an education loan for an MBA programme.
  • Banks and financial institutions may accept students, who have already secured their admission. In addition, things like a good academic record, no other outstanding education loans, the nationality of the student, a parent as a co-borrower, etc. may be some other criteria for eligibility.
  • The base rate of interest may be anywhere between 7% -10%, depending on the bank chosen and the amount of loan taken.
  • The repayment would usually commence within one year of finishing the course or within a stipulated period of time after getting a job.
It is very crucial to have all your paperwork in place, so that your funding goes through smoothly, without any hassles.


Myths about pursuing an MBA/PGDM

An MBA will give you magical wings:

A lot of students are under the impression that just because they get a degree or diploma in management, their career will just spiral upwards in no time. Just like with everything else in life, an MBA/MMS/PGDM is also an experience; it totally depends on you, what you take from it and how you make the most of it. Simply doing the course in a half-baked manner, from any random institute is obviously not going to cut it.

In fact, even doing the course from the best institute is not good enough, if you are not going to apply yourself during and after the course. While it can help open a few rigid doors, how you make your way through them and climb the corporate ladder, is totally up to your talent, hard work and work ethic. If you think that MBA is some sort of a shortcut, which will make things very easy for you in your professional life, then think again!

An MBA will make you a successful first generation entrepreneur:

A lot of people want to plunge into self-employment once they are through with their studies. They have a vision and purpose, and they don't wish to apply themselves for other people. They wish to be their own boss. MBA or MMS can be a wonderful experience for these people, as it can teach them about the various stages, challenges and techniques that they will either face or use, while launching their own venture. With the help of Entrepreneurship Development Cells, Angel funding at Business Schools and also the simulation technique/models, students can get a good launch pad, for starting their own venture.

Having said that, start-ups are highly challenging and founders have to always be prepared to deal with some crisis. Doing your MBA will certainly prepare you to run your own business, but don't expect it to create miracles for you, in a short span. You will still face cash crunches, client issues, space constraints, etc. and you will have to figure out the solution in real-time, depending on what you are dealing with.

An MBA will put you at the centre of attention:

This is probably what people detest most about MBA grads. Some of them take their classroom learning too seriously and turn every interaction into a networking opportunity. Being a smooth, audience sensitive individual means gauging the situation you are in and altering your behaviour accordingly. Some places may need you to participate in a hardcore debate and express your opinions especially at work.

Big bucks for less effort:

This is yet another misconception. Just doing your management course, will not help you glide through everything, without hard work. Regardless of your degree or aptitude, when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder, it all boils down to the value, you are creating for the organisation. Don't expect to be considered for that big promotion for pay raise, just because you have the tact of taking the credit.

The 99% perspiration quote is right on the money; and you will realise that as soon as you start your course. Your course will be demanding, time consuming, stressful and extremely deadline oriented. Remember, it has to prepare you for the real world. And the real world is all about commitment, hard work, work ethic, time management and value creation. If you have any doubts about this, try to talk to a current MBA student, so that you are not looking at things, through rose tinted glasses.

An MBA will take you straight to the CEO's chair:

Some students may think that doing a management course from a good Business School will assist them in skipping several management levels and give them the most senior position in an organisation. There is no denying that the right education will open many doors for you, but you as far as your promotion and seniority in an organisation are concerned, they will greatly depend on your experience and you skills on joining a company.

An MBA is useless; it's all about practical experience:

Some students may completely dismiss the idea of any course teaching them what practical experience can teach. They may choose to take on internships or full-time jobs as soon as they graduate, instead of studying for two more years. This myth definitely falls in the grey area.

Today, it is not uncommon to hear about a software engineer who gave up his career to become an actor, or a banker who decided to quit it all, to become a baker. If you are unsure of exactly which career you want to choose, after graduation, an MBA will give you enough time, to assess the various industries and if you have the personality and skills needed, to succeed in these industries. It will probably give you a peek into what to expect, instead of just wondering.

Good thing about an MBA, moving into any other profession, is that since s/he knows the power of a brand and other management principles, s/he can apply them to any job/business, to succeed.


Different types of MBA/PGDM programmes

The type of curriculum and specialisation will totally vary from college to college. Marketing, Finance, Human Resource, Digital Business Management, Telecom Management, Hospital Management, Corporate & Business Law, Travel & Tourism Management, BFSI, Insurance, Mass Media, Pharmaceutical Business Management are some of the main programmes:


If you have always been good with numbers, calculations and accounts and wish to enhance your career in a financial institutions or the finance department of an organisation, a management diploma or degree is something you should definitely consider. People, who usually opt for these careers, will love the idea of a desk job that involves number crunching. They will work best in an organised team.


MBA/MMS in Marketing is a specialised course, which focuses on marketing and communications, with existing and potential clients. Public relations, corporate branding, market research, strategic planning, consumer behaviour, demand and supply analysis, form the backbone of this course.


An MBA in Insurance focuses on different branches of insurance, such as life insurance, marine insurance, health insurance, business insurance, car insurance, etc. It is a highly specialised, industry specific course, with multiple career opportunities.


Management and Business Administration in Finance is a course with specialisation in multiple disciplines Banking, Financial Services and Insurance. The syllabus of this course would be quite exhaustive, covering the role of RBI, Investments, Commercial and Cooperative Banking, International Finance, Credit and Debit cards, Risk Management and Reinsurance, with specialised training in related software programmes, as IT has become the backbone of all services.

Mass Media:

If you have a highly creative personality, love dealing with people and can think of creative solutions, as and when needed, then a career in mass media may be the best bet for you. Everything from advertising to social media to print ad campaigns to making concepts go viral falls under this umbrella. This industry is all about agenda pushing and reaching out and it is best suited for extroverts, who have no problems in connecting with others.

There can be numerous job opportunities after this course. Understanding the business side of advertising, managing and using an ad agency to create brand recall, brand identity, creating and understanding different types of advertising campaigns after comprehending client brief can all be learnt via this course.

Journalism and entertainment are other aspects of the course, which can help students, start a career in newspapers, dot coms, magazines, etc.

Human Resources:

A Master's Programme in Human Resources is aimed at people, who want a career in HR. Human Resource Management covers subjects, such as identifying and hiring the right talent, being instrumental in the growth, promotions and salary hike of the team, assessing the responsibilities of current and new team members, coming up with strategies to keep the work environment efficient and positive and, most importantly, ensuring that the company code of conduct is being followed at all levels. An HR executive can be extremely instrumental at the time of Mergers and Acquisitions as well.

Corporate and Business Law:

This programme is aimed at students, who want to use combined knowledge of law, economics and finance, to get a position in an organisation, where overlapping knowledge of these three fields can come in handy. Students interested in a career in investment banking or keen on working in the area of Mergers and Acquisitions in a company or those, who are interested in being part of a risk assessment and management team, can opt for this course.

Apart from the above mentioned courses, an MBA/MMS or PGDM can be done in the following specific industry verticals:

  • Digital Business Management
  • Hospital Management
  • Telecom Management
  • Travel and Tourism Management
  • Pharmaceutical Business Management

The Way Forward after MBA

Gone are the days, when people would choose one career, one company and work there for 35 years. Today, people are highly ambitious and it is not uncommon for people to pursue multiple careers and jobs in varied industries. Also, there is no rule that once you have studied something specific and worked in a specific industry, you cannot do something totally different and out of the box. People today are a lot more comfortable, when it comes to stepping outside their comfort zones and making things happen.

In today's competitive world, "knowledge is (definitely) power" and getting the right knowledge via a good MBA/MMS/PGDM course can only mean positive things for you and your career. Doing your MBA will help you capitalise on various career opportunities, along the way; graduating from one of the top business schools in India, definitely means looking forward to a bright career.

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