Guidelines to Group Discussion for MBA programs in B-schools
The Group Discussion process
With the CAT results declared, all of you have a rough idea of next round, i.e. Group Discussion – Personal Interview – Written Ability Test. Preparations for the same should be in full swing.
While IIMs follow a WAT-PI method, several other colleges still encourage the GD-PI process. A few others have slight variations of the same by introducing a Group Task, a Group Exercise or a Case Discussion instead of the Group Discussion. The B-schools do not only seek students who have a high academic record augmented with a high CAT percentile. They seek students who have crisp communication skills, sharp presentation techniques, and an innate ability to share and defend their opinions.
A Group discussion involves discussing topics with individuals you have never interacted with before. How well you’re able to put across your point and are able to lead a discussion is what you are judged upon. The objective of a group discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop a perspective.
The rationale behind this exercise is that when a group of students is given a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation, they will try to accomplish it by establishing some order or structure – in the process they will reveal some of their personality traits.
What constitutes a Group Discussion – the TLSS approach:
- Think clearly what you want to say –
- Focus on the keywords in the Group Discussion topic
- PESTEL analysis (looking at a situation from Political, Economical, Social, Technical, Environmental and Legal points of view) helps
- Focus on points of view of those involved
- Listen to what others are saying – taking notes of what others say helps a lot (especially if you don’t have too many points, you can listen to others and logically create new points)
- Speak as if you are discussing with colleagues and friends, not trying to win a debate or fighting with someone
- Solve – Try to come up with a logically coherent solution
Types of Group Discussions
There are mainly 3 types of Group Discussions:
- Knowledge based topics (Economics, Social norms, Politics, Sports, Industry, etc.) – Knowledge is the key in GD and hence one need to read magazines, newspaper, blogs etc. Being aware of current affairs is a must. Also, having information of specific numbers of various socio-economic parameters gives you an edge
- Concrete topics – These are opinion based topics; however, you can discuss both sides of the story – for or against. You do not necessarily have to take a stand and defend the stand (it is not a debate). Coming up with innovative ways to tackle a problem will earn you brownie points
- Abstract topics – Let your imagination run loose. For example, if the topic is ‘dot’, you can think of ‘dotcom’ as well as the dots on the leopard – for which they are hunted and discuss about poaching
The parameters on the basis of which you will be judged are as follows:
- Content & thought process – try to substantiate your points with authentic data. Also, what you say should not be contradictory to ideas you have provided earlier
- Communication – A few things to keep in mind here:
- Be concise & clear – do not beat around the bush
- Use English language only – no colloquial terms or use of mother tongue
- Group behavior – Points to keep in mind:
- Do not interrupt others especially if he/she is making a good point
- Find the right moment to start – when someone has just made a point, he/she will always take a slight break before moving to the next point; enter the discussion at that very moment
- Try to remember the names of the participants. The trick is to interact before the GD and know the names. While in the GD, address them by name – it generates a personal touch
- Ensure that you maintain a proper posture – sit upright with hands on your lap and feet float on the ground. No need to mention that you need to dress formally!
At CUBIX, we provide a thorough preparation of the GD – PI – WAT process. We counsel aspirants by giving them a personalized preparation strategy which will help them project their best selves. Our mentors ensure that all aspects of the process are covered. Special attention is given to specific processes followed at particular B-schools.