Management as optional in UPSC
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
Peter Drucker, management guru
UPSC Management optional paper
The functions of an IAS officer include among others, the management of governmental affairs and infrastructure, implementation and supervision of governmental policies, allocation and usage of funds. A civil servant is also expected to portray leadership qualities. Management, supervision, implementation, leadership – these are all roles and traits that a good manager must perform and have. Indeed, these are the basic tenets that B-schools strive to inculcate in their students. Then why is it that not many UPSC civil services aspirants take up management as their optional subject in the mains?
One reason could be the lesser number of UPSC candidates from this background. Another deterrent could be the lengthy syllabus. Another factor could be that your competitors are most likely to be IIM graduates and frankly, that scares you. First of all, management as an optional is not recommended for non-management students as the syllabus is definitely vast. But if you are a graduate or a post graduate in management (not necessarily from the IIMs or any top tier B-school) with a keen interest in the subject, this is really an option you should consider.
Let us look at the advantages of taking management as your optional:
- It is a logical subject. Unlike humanities, most concepts in management are like black and white. There are right and wrong answers; no subjective answers. So, you can be sure of how you’ve performed in the exams.
- The questions are easier to foresee in comparison to other subjects. There are certain topics out of which questions would be asked.
- The questions are generally straight-forward.
- Not many takers for this optional – so less competition.
Paper I is theoretical. The topics to be covered are managerial functions and process; OB and design; HRM; accounting for managers; financial management; and marketing management.
Paper II covers quantitative techniques in decision making; operations management; MIS; government business interface; strategic management; and international business.
How to tackle the papers
Paper I: Paper I is generally simple and straight-forward as it is mostly theoretical. Even finance questions are theoretical. Write in points wherever possible. Don’t use heavy jargon. Go through the previous question papers as it gives you a fair idea of what topics to focus on. Concentrate on HR and OB topics.
Paper II: Paper II is all application based. It is generally lengthy as it contains numericals and case studies. But it is also very scoring. Remember to use basic models and formulae. Topics you need to focus are operations, business statistics and strategic management.
With enough practice, you should be able to finish the papers on time despite its length.
Booklist for UPSC Management Optional
Study material for UPSC management optional/UPSC management optional books
- Books that you studies during your management course would be enough for the UPSC exams also. You don’t need to go in detail for all the topics.
- Refer IGNOU booklets on management. They are a must-have.
- HRM – Ashwathappa, Prasad
- Organisational Behavior – Robbins, Luthans
- Marketing – Kotler, Saxena
- Strategic Management – Michael Porter
- Operations – Adams, Taha, David Collier
- MIS – Loudon and Loudon
- Finance – Ross, Westerfield and Jaffe; Khan & Jain
- Quantitative techniques – Levin & Rubin
- Management – Koontz and Koontz, Drucker
- The internet is also an excellent source for this optional as it provides updated information especially for MIS, international business and business government interface.
Quick tips to remember
- Go through previous year papers.
- Have a good grasp of the basics in each topic.
- Practice writing answers.
If you think about it, having a management background puts you on a higher ground after you get through the UPSC civil services exams. You will get the chance to practice what you learned at management school while performing your duties as an Indian civil servant or diplomat. There have been many toppers who had management as their optional subject. So, if you are a management student or are working as a management professional in an organisation but feel that you can contribute to your country’s progress with your talent and intelligence, go for the UPSC civil service exam. It is an opportunity for you to excel and give back to society. But make sure your strategy is prepared with good guidance and inputs from people who have already dealt with Management Optional as Management Optional coaching for IAS is not very common.
|IAS Management Syllabus|
|Success Rate of Different Optional Subjects in the UPSC Exam Mains|