Management Optional - a primer

Let me start with the caveat that 'Management' is a rare optional choice when it comes to UPSC Civil Services Examination in terms of sheer volume of people who write the Mains Examination with this optional. It is generally seen that students with management background (BBA, MBA) prefer to choose these optionals. Many IIM grads are seen to be taking this optional since the syllabus is pretty much covered in two years of IIM Curriculum and the reference books are standard. Some of the people scoring well in management and securing selections are Manuj Jindal (Rank 53, CSE 2017) and Khushboo Lather (Rank 111, CSE 2020). Having said this many selected candidates from a management or IIM background steered clear of this optional, like Gaurav Agrawal (Rank 1, CSE 2013). 

The reason for less candidates choosing management are following:

  1. Vast syllabus - The syllabus is exhaustive and each of the 12 modules is a 3 month course in itself. In comparison, the 5 days gap given by UPSC between GS4 and Optional paper is the time where optional grind takes place. Where other optional people had the time to revise their syllabus twice and even write a test, I could finish only 1.5 times revision of the syllabus 


  3. Technical nature - the Management optional syllabus combines 12 courses/modules in total which is essentially the MBA syllabus taught over 2 years to MBA students. The optional expects some background in management studies and covers almost every technical area like Statistics, Finance, Accounting, etc


  5. Ecosystem - Since its a low volume optional, Management sees less number of students and hence selected few coachings/faculty who are interested in running a classroom program or a test series. It often ends up being non remunerative.


  7. Guidance - dearth of senior aspirants or selected candidates. Even with selected persons, not may have spoken about their preparation strategy or given a 'How-To' for Management.