UPSC vs. CAT: Which exam to prepare for your career?

UPSC vs. CAT: Which exam to prepare for your career?

CAT and UPSC are two different sides of a coin and are indeed the most prestigious exams in India. Cracking CAT will take you into two years of B-school course ultimately creating a pathway into corporate sector. While cracking UPSC exam will designate you as IAS/IPS which itself is positioned as elite group of the society and turning you into a celebrity overnight.

Preparation time

The vastness of syllabus for both the exams is more or less similar along with the eligibility criterion i.e. a minimum of graduation. But the preparing for UPSC requires more focus, concentration and dedication. You may crack UPSC in a first attempt or it may take years to crack it. CAT is not easy but can be cracked with a decent preparation of 6 months.

For preparing UPSC, you have to give your 100% time for the preparation. You may have to leave your job as well. And after few failed attempts, you again have to search for the job. If you have confusion over UPSC and CAT, then better aim for CAT as while preparing for UPSC, no second thought should deviate you from your decision.  

Job Satisfaction

It depends. If you want a luxurious lifestyle with good salary then CAT is the best option. But it has been seen that most of the MBAites don’t have that job satisfaction and are continuously falling into the swamp of corporate sector, promotions and competition. Moreover, there are risks pertaining to loss of job in case you fail to perform well or due to recession affecting the industry.

UPSC is accredited as the most satisfying jobs in India. People salute you as being as IAS you have command over the public services. Grabbing India’s most prestigious government jobs not only gives you a good salary and job security but makes you a recognizable face in the society. People respect you and so as your long lost relatives.

Policy makers

The IAS and IPS are generally not involved into any policy or law making decisions. It’s only after they reach at a certain positions such as at secretariat level, they are roped into the law enforcement matters. This definitely takes a long time as you need to wait for getting your promotions.   While on the other hand, you may reach to a high post in a corporate sector very soon depending upon your performance. The better you perform, the more easily you get promoted. Promotions can be immediate within consecutive years as compared to Government jobs where you need to wait for a fixed period to be eligible for the next rank.  

Struggles and Hardships

Well, UPSC is the toughest exam to crack. The procedure from giving the prelims to the final posting takes about a year. You need to start preparing for the UPSC as soon as you have your mindset. You need to leave your job, forget about family/festivals and get togethers till the time you are preparing. There may be financial troubles becoming hurdles in your way as the chances of cracking UPSC exams are very less. On the contrary, there is no such restriction over CAT examination. You definately will have to opt for an education loan but that will be cleared in a couple of years once you are placed.   

Lets checkout pros for both the exams.


  1. Job Security
  2. Money, perks and less bumpy life
  3. Social status which is equivalent to a celebrity


  1. Requires less preparation time and effort as compared to UPSC
  2. Luxurious job and life
  3. Necessary if you want to become an entrepreneur

Here are the cons


  1. Toughest exam in India
  2. Risky and involves uncertainty of clearing the exam
  3. Promotion depends on your tenure and not on your hard-work.


  1. Social Status is not as elite as compared to UPSC
  2. Dedicating Two years at a B-school before getting a job
  3. Hefty fees of the B-Schools

Winding Up

CAT and UPSC both offer different career opportunities while the former leads you to become a corporate; the latter makes you a civil servant. It has been seen that most of the MBAites have dropped their careers and have prepared for IAS. To more surprise, they were able to clear it in the first attempt itself!!! So, decision is yours where you look yourself? As an Entrepreneur/Banker or a Civil Servant dedicating his duties towards Indians.

Categories: Education

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