All About Management Optional for UPSC

management optional for upsc

Management optional for UPSC is a great option if you are familiar with the subject. It is important to prepare for the Management optional for UPSC thoroughly as it accounts for 500 marks out of 1750 in UPSC Mains. The syllabus is straightforward and there is less competition for this subject than in other optional subjects.

Taking Management as optional for UPSC Exam is not a wise decision for students from non-management backgrounds. The syllabus is lengthy and may put off non-management students. However, surveys suggest that candidates with a commerce background have also taken this optional paper and have had fruitful results.

The candidate has to make sure that he/she is on par with the level of the IIM graduates, who usually appear for the exam and are the ones who are most likely to be the competitors.

Be it commerce or non-commerce background, with or without specialized degrees in Management, the interest and attention of candidates towards that subject is deemed the most important criteria for acing Mains with Management.

How Many UPSC Candidates Choose the Management Option?

There are not as many students taking Management optional for UPSC as some other subjects. The number is usually around 200, and it is not as high as in political science, geography, or public administration.

Nonetheless, it still has a decent and consistent success rate which is around 12 – 15 percent.

UPSC Management Optional Success Rate

Management is known as a minority optional in UPSC as very few people appear for it in UPSC mains (less than 100 people have appeared in each of the last 3 UPSC mains).

YearHow Many Candidates Appeared?How Many Candidates Cleared UPSC?Success Rate (%)

To know more about the Success Rate Of Optionals In UPSC, explore the linked article.

Toppers With Management Optional

The table below shows the names of a few successful IAS toppers who took Management as Optional in UPSC and their all-India ranks.

Nagendra Singh2013120
Asim Anwar2015149
Manuj Jindal201653
Ritesh Bhatt2016361

To figure out the Toppers Optional Subject in UPSC, visit the linked article.

Management Optional Paper Pros and Cons

Management Optional Paper Pros

There are many pros & cons of Management as an optional paper for UPSC.

  1. There is less competition as compared to other subjects and more chances of selection.
  2. The subject is straightforward and easy to understand. It does not require much interpretation like the humanities. Furthermore, it is easy to medium in difficulty.
  3. The syllabus is fairly static. Thus it does not require extensive knowledge of current affairs. The entire syllabus for Paper 1 deals with the theory part.
  4. There is no overlap with the prelims paper. This means there is less competition posed by similar disciplines.
  5. Moreover, since management is a very logical and relatively rational subject, you will be having a much easier time preparing for the exam.
  6. Additionally, the questions have been asked repeatedly over time. So, if you carefully read through the UPSC question papers from prior years and make the necessary preparations, you should be likely to do well on the exam.

Management Optional Paper Cons

  1. The syllabus of this paper is quite lengthy. However, if you have a piece of background knowledge in this field, you can opt for this subject. There are many resources available for preparation.
  2. The syllabus for Management as an optional paper is very extensive. It may meddle with your Mains Strategy and preparation time.
  3. Preparation of Management for the UPSC is time-consuming.
  4. Management has no overlap with the other papers of the Civil Services exam: GS papers and Essay papers. 
  5. The answers may appear as a general inquiry into the subject. But they cannot be substituted with purely imaginative ideas as in humanities subjects.

Management Optional Syllabus

There are two subject papers in the management syllabus for the UPSC mains examination – paper one is theoretical, and paper two is mainly practical.

Paper 1: Important topics include concepts and foundations of management, organizational behavior, and design, Human Resource Management, Accounting for Managers, Financial Management, and Marketing Management.

Now, under these broad headings, the subheadings span as: Business strategy, Decision Theory, Entrepreneurship, leadership skills, conflict resolution, development of management thought, Job Design, Decision making: business decision and financial decisions, Management accounting concept, Costing for Decision making, Marketing strategy formulation, Marginal Costing, Cost Management, product management, Customer relationship management, Compensation management, Flexible systems Management, Customer orientation should obtain your maximum focus in this paper.

Paper 2: Operation Management in International Companies, Export Management, External debt Management, Multicultural Management, Foreign Exchange Risk Exposure Management, Management of Organizational climate and Industrial knowledge, etc. form core chapters under the all-encompassing chapter of International Business.

In the Production and Operations Management Chapter, the candidate should be well versed with the Fundamentals of Operations Management, Inventory Management, Management of cash, Management of facilities, Chain management-vendor evaluation, role and importance of materials management, Management of Service operations, so on. Under the topic of Quantitative techniques in decision making, one must cover numerical methods relating to inferential statistics-sampling distributions, central limit theorem, introduction to probability, discrete and continuous probability distributions, inference about population variances, simple correlation, and regression, time series and forecasting, Linear Programming along with Graphical method and Sensitivity analysis. The other extensive chapters in Paper 2 are Management Information Systems and Government Business Interface.

To know the entire Management Optional Syllabus For UPSC, visit the linked article.

Management Optional Preparation Strategy

To stitch any study plan, study the syllabus first to figure out what is covered and what is not.

A candidate scores maximum in Management optional in Civil Services Exam when he/she follows the well-defined preparation strategy. One such preparation strategy tip is mentioned below. 

  1. Practice numericals for paper 2, since numericals are objective and technical, and can help you achieve more marks.
  2. Read the classic management books for clarification of conceptual models at the ground level.
  3. You should avoid using management jargon and heavy language to prepare for this paper and write only what is relevant to the question.
  4. Don’t worry about filling up the answer sheet as many of these types of questions are quite simple and straightforward.
  5. Bring cross-disciplinary references in your answers in form of case studies to get your point across.
  6. Cultivate an innovative approach in answer writing. Prepare visually stimulating answers in order to be crisp and precise. Include graphical solutions and flowcharts for better understanding.
  7. Don’t get worked upon the fact that there is very little to no overlap with the essay and GS papers. Rather, think of this as an opportunity and apply your managerial skills in the preparation and later on in the interview.
  8. Bring out your pleasant personality which is already groomed to the best level.
  9. You can prepare a worthy concoction of your knowledge in government business Interface and International Business to solve hypothetical problems that earmark a brainstorming part of the interview.
  10. Go through the previous year’s exam question papers. Make a database of the relevant and recurrent questions in accordance with the Management syllabus for UPSC. Solve those and build your own exam interpretation. Differentiate your strong and weak points and focus on them accordingly.
  11. A lot of material, both free and paid, is already existing on the internet. Use them for your own benefit.
  12. You can also track your progress and see where you stand amongst peers by using the Examarly mobile application.
  13. Time Management is one thing that determines the hit-or-miss factor in your attempt. Divide your study sessions into parts so that you don’t miss out on preparing well for the GS and essay papers.

UPSC Management Optional Books

The study material wholly includes theories namely, Concepts and Foundations of Management, Entrepreneurship, Evolution of Management Thoughts, Management of innovation, Process and customer orientation, etc. the lengthiest here is Production and Operations management.

Following are a few books for Management Optional. They have a reputation for being standard books in the discipline and are less oriented toward market gimmicks.

  1. Marketing Management – Philip Kotler
  2. Management Information Systems by either Laudon or O’Brien
  3. Fundamentals of Management – DeCenzo, Agarwal, Bhattacharya, and Robbins
  4. Business Environment – AC Fernando
  5. Organization Behaviour – Stephen P. Robbins
  6. Strategic Management – Charles W.L. Hill and Gareth R. Jones
  7. Cost and Management Accounting – M.N. Arora
  8. Operations Management – Heizer and Render
  9. Financial Management – Rustagi
  10. International Business – Hill and Jain
  11. Financial Management – Prasanna Chandra
  12. Human Resource Management – K Aswathappa
  13. Quantitative Approaches to Management – Levin and Rubin

Link of Relatable Articles

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Most Scoring Optional Subject In UPSC
Easiest Optional Subject For UPSC
Best Optional Subject For UPSC
Statistics Optional for UPSC
Polity Optional Syllabus For UPSC


Management is not the most picked optional subject. The subject becomes a natural choice only for candidates from a Management background. Thus, the biggest advantages of taking this subject include competitive advantage over subjects that are chosen by a lot of candidates.

The subject is less speculative and more logical, so the answers involve lesser subjective interpretation than in some other cases.

However, the syllabus is quite vast and paper II is likely to be difficult to complete. Also, it has nil overlap with other general studies papers, which means that it can be difficult to get a high score due to divided attention.


How Is Management As UPSC Optional?

If you have an undergraduate or postgraduate background in management, it would be a great idea to choose UPSC optional Management. If you are not mastered with management it’s advised to stay away. After all, optional weighs about 28.5% of the Mains exam.

Is Management A Good Optional Subject For UPSC?

Taking management as optional in UPSC is a good option for those candidates from management backgrounds. One will find practical application of concepts of management knowledge when he/she strives to become a good bureaucrat.

How To Prepare For Management For IAS?

Scrutinize the detailed exam pattern. Jot down the list of topics. According to the frequency of topics, break the study material into small chunks. After the Prelims Examination, make sure to join multiple series of tests and practice to master competitive strategies and exam techniques to level up the exam preparation. UPSC Management optional demands your presence of mind and diligence.

Is It Essential To Have Management Optional UPSC Notes?

Yes, it is essential to have notes on this subject as it will be beneficial for you while preparing for this exam. You don’t have to cover the number of books during revision time if you have your study notes.

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