Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management vs MBA

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Are you a postgraduate business student at a crossroads regarding your next step in further education? It can be tricky to decide between a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management or a Master’s Degree. Both offer considerable advantages in your personal and career development, so which is right for you?

Reading this article will help you understand the differences between the two qualifications and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Once you have the answers you need, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision about the next step in your education.

As always, MANCOSA is committed to providing access to study programmes for all. We want to help you advance towards your goals and we’re here to guide you every step of the way!

Differences between a Diploma and a Master’s Degree

Let’s start by zooming out and looking at the high-level differences between each type of qualification.

Postgraduate Diplomas often focus on the essential practical skills required in a particular field, compared with Master’s Degrees which go deeper with theoretical knowledge and can be more academically challenging.

A Postgraduate Diploma takes significantly less time to complete than a Master’s Degree. That means that the costs are often lower, and class schedules tend to be more flexible. With that said, a Master’s Degree is one of the most popular postgraduate qualifications, and they tend to be more highly valued by employers.

How to choose: Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management or MBA?

If you have a degree and are feeling ready to further your business management studies, then it’s likely you’re considering either a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDM) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). The question is, how can you choose between them? Both are available at the graduate level, and each offers significant specialised knowledge and practical skills that can boost your career advancement. But, before you decide between the two programmes, there are some key differences that you should consider.

Is a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management equivalent to MBA?
A Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and an MBA have many similarities but should not be considered equivalent. They are both postgraduate programmes with parallels between their core subjects and curriculums. But there are notable differences between the two, such as entry requirements, cost, core content, assessment, duration of study and more.

What is a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management?
The MANCOSA Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management is a one-year, distance-learning programme for postgraduate students looking to advance their knowledge in key management areas. This qualification is suitable for freshers with no work experience. The PGDM in Business Management enables students to step into the ever-changing business landscape with the confidence and skills needed to navigate inevitable leadership challenges.

What is an MBA?
The MBA degree is one of the most sought after postgraduate qualifications worldwide. It is ideal for career-oriented postgraduate individuals with work experience and ambitions of senior management or significant entrepreneurial advancement. The MANCOSA MBA is a two-year distance-learning programme for individuals who want to gain a significant competitive edge.

5 differences between a Postgraduate Diploma and an MBA?
Let’s look at five differences between the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and the MBA.

  1. The Curriculum – Both qualifications include valuable business modules and electives, including information, financial, and knowledge management, entrepreneurship and human resource development. The MBA looks at some aspects such as marketing and operations management from a more strategic angle than the PGDM. The PGDM offers hands-on practical training, whereas the MBA takes a more theoretical approach. Finally, the PGDM curriculum is flexible and can revise its syllabus frequently in response to changing market conditions. The MBA syllabus is less responsive and changes only rarely.
  2. Assessment – A combination of exams, assignments, and coursework are used to assess each programme. But, the MBA assessment requires a compulsory dissertation, not required for the postgraduate diploma.
  3. Entry Requirements – The prerequisites differ significantly between the two programmes. The minimum entry requirement for the Postgraduate Diploma is a relevant Bachelors Degree or Advanced Diploma. The minimum entry requirements for the MBA are more stringent. Either an Honours Degree, Postgraduate Diploma, or Bachelors NQF level 8 degree, plus five years professional work experience – of which two must be in a managerial role.
  4. Duration of Course – The MBA programme is longer than the PGDM, two years rather than one. The shorter duration makes the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management a popular choice. It is more cost-effective and also allows students to advance swiftly in their careers. The shorter course is easier to complete around existing employment or during a sabbatical.
  5. Cost – The total cost of the MBA programme is between R73,000 and R83,780, depending on the payment plan. The fees for the diploma are far less, at R43 950.

What is better: MBA or PGDM?
Only you can decide whether the MBA or PGDM is better for you. Once you have compared the particulars such as cost, curriculum and course duration, you need to check in with your unique career and future goals. What do you hope to achieve with this postgraduate qualification?

Once you have assessed your objectives, you can decide which option suits you best. It can also be helpful to remember that the PGDM is a perfect stepping stone, offering direct entry into the MBA programme. Many students follow that path and transition seamlessly into the MBA once they have completed the Post Graduate Diploma, so there’s no reason that you can’t study both programmes.

Postgraduate DiplomaPostgraduate Diploma
1 year2 years
R43 950R73,000 to R83,780
Syllabus responds to changing industrySyllabus is set and slow to change
No dissertationCompulsory dissertation
Requires Bachelors Degree or Advanced DiplomaRequires an Honours Degree, Postgraduate Diploma, or Bachelors NQF level 8 degree
No work experience is necessary.Five years of professional work experience needed – of which two must be in a managerial role

Study a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management with MANCOSA

Now that you’re armed with this information, you can make an informed decision on the programme that is right for you. Your next step is to choose an institution that aligns with your individual goals. MANCOSA has been the college of choice for many discerning business students who are serious about their future. We specialise in business-related programmes that provide world-class training which leads to exceptional career opportunities. The results of our alumni speak for themselves.

So, are you ready to take the fast track and significantly advance your career in just one year? Then look no further than the PGD in Business Management with MANCOSA.