Image That Depicting Union Public Service Commission Text In Green Background.

Every year, UPSC conducts the civil services examination in 3 stages, Prelims, Mains and Interview and lakhs of IAS aspirants appear for these exams. The exam pattern is the same for all candidates. However, in the UPSC mains, the candidates have to choose one optional subject. In this article, we discuss Management as an optional in UPSC mains.

How does Management as an Optional subject fare?

Management is generally not popular among optional subjects but is considered a safe option. As an optional subject, it has provided consistent results for IAS aspirants over the years. Management and leadership skills are much needed for an IAS officer to perform his/her duties. The qualities and traits between a manager in a corporate set-up and an IAS officer handling administration are more or less similar. Let us discuss further how management as optional suits IAS aspirants.

The number of people who opt for management is generally less than 200, which is much less than other subjects like geography or public administration. But the success rate has been consistent between 12 – 15% over the years. There are success stories from the likes of Ritesh Bhatt, Manuj Jindal, Asim Anwar and Nagendra Singh, who became UPSC toppers with management as an optional.

Management As Optional – Pros and Cons

Let us now run through the advantages and drawbacks of choosing management optional:


  1. The difficulty level of the paper is easy-medium level, and the questions are pretty straightforward. The questions are more logical requiring practical answers.
  2. Questions are mostly repeated over the years. Hence, preparing diligently with the previous years’ papers can help you sail through. This is the strategy that any IAS Coaching Center in Chennai will adopt.
  3. There is less competition in this optional, and so, it can get you closer to cracking the mains.
  4. It is a rational subject and does not require too much interpretation like humanities subjects.
  5. The syllabus has remained static over the years and does not require much expertise in current affairs.
  6. Most of the preparation material is from general management books. The resources are plenty.
  7. Best suited for candidates with commerce or management background.

Image That Representing The Text Management UPSC Optional Syllabus.


  1. Management has a lengthy syllabus, and the papers are lengthy too. There is so much to write, and candidates often find it challenging to complete.
  2. There is not much overlap with any of the papers from the prelims, making it difficult to prepare.

It is important to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and compare them with these advantages and drawbacks before making a decision. The best strategy would be to capitalize on your strengths and avoid the pitfalls.

Tried and Tested Strategies for Management Optionals

Now that we know what to expect out of management optional, let us look at a few critical strategies to steer through the optionals.

The following is the breakup of topics in the two papers.

1.Paper 1 – Includes only theory on the following topics.

  • Managerial Functions and Process
  • Marketing Management
  • Accounting for Managers
  • Organizational behavior and design (OB)
  • Financial management
  • Human Resource Management (HRM)

2.Paper 2 – deals with application-oriented topics

  • Quantitative Techniques and Decision Making – Revise mean, median, mode, graphical methods in linear programming, Bayes theorem, etc.
  • Production and Operations Management – this is the lengthiest section in the syllabus.
  • International Business
  • Government Business Interface
  • Strategic Cost Management
  • Management Information systems.

Union Public Service Commission - Management Subject Syllabus.

Some proven strategies to crack these topics:

  1. Focus more on OB, HR, finance and marketing in paper 1. OB and HR make up about 80% of the questions.
  2. Paper 1 is theory-based. Instead of writing descriptive answers, present the answers in points with appropriate subheadings
  3. The questions receive similar answers from almost everyone. Hence presentation can make a difference. Highlight salient points wherever required
  4. Present neat diagrams and tables wherever necessary
  5. When responding to case studies, use simple formulas, and basic framework and models, do not complicate.
  6. Revise previous years question papers. At least 50% questions are repeated

Management optional subjects require a targeted approach to succeed, but it can be a rewarding option. The syllabus is vast but organized, and there are plenty of resources available for preparation. With diligent preparation, neat presentation and time management, qualifying from this subject can be a breeze.

Check Out Here – For Getting more information about the optional subjects in UPSC.

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