Chetan Bhagat was born on 22 April 1973 in New Delhi, India. His father was an Army officer, and his mother was a government employee in the agricultural department. His younger brother Ketan is also a novelist.
He completed his college years at The Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan in Delhi. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 1995 and his MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad in 1997. Bhagat recounted in an interview with Newslaundry that he applied after his studies to the investment banking company Goldman Sachs, where he was finally selected after 27 internal interviews.
Bhagat worked for Goldman Sachs in their Hong Kong office as an investment banker for nearly a decade and wrote Five Point Someone while in Hong Kong. He then moved to Mumbai to focus full-time on his writing career while working at Deutsche Bank.