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Group Discussion Tips For Freshers

Have you ever seen a football game?

Or been a part of a football team?

These questions might seem awkward and absurd when talking about How to crack a
Group Discussion to get into a top B-School.

But they are relevant to understand the nuances of a Group Discussion.

Just reiterating the cliché that a Group discussion, or Group Discussion, as it is

commonly called, is a group process or a team building exercise does not help students.

As in a football game, where you play like a team, passing the ball to each team member
and aim for a common goal, Group Discussion is also based on team work,
incorporating views of different team members to reach a common goal.

A Group Discussion at a B-School can be defined as a formal discussion involving ten

to 12 participants in a group.

They are given a topic. After some time, during which they collect their thoughts, the
group is asked to discuss the topic for 20 to 25 minutes.

B-Schools use the Group Discussion process to assess a candidate's personality traits.

Here are some of the most important personality traits that a candidate should possess to
do well at a Group Discussion:

1. Team Player

B-Schools lay great emphasis on this parameter because it is essential for managers to be
team players.

The reason: Managers always work in teams.

At the beginning of his career, a manager works as a team member. And, later, as a team

Management aspirants who lack team skills cannot be good managers.

2. Reasoning Ability
Reasoning ability plays an important role while expressing your opinions or ideas at a
Group Discussion.

For example, an opinion like 'Reduction in IIMs' fees will affect quality' can be better
stated by demonstrating your reasoning ability and completing the missing links between
fees and quality as:

'Reduction in IIMs' fees will result in less funds being invested on study material, student
exchange programmes, research, student development activities, etc.

'Moreover, it costs money to attract good faculty, create good infrastructure and upgrade

'With reduction in fees, less money will be available to perform these ,activities which
will lead to deterioration in the quality of IIMs.'

3. Leadership

There are three types of situations that can arise in a Group Discussion:

~ A Group Discussion where participants are unable to establish a proper rapport and do
not speak much.
~ A Group Discussion where participants get emotionally charged and the Group
Discussion gets chaotic.
~ A Group Discussion where participants discuss the topic assertively by touching on all
its nuances and try to reach the objective.

Here, a leader would be someone who facilitates the third situation at a Group

A leader would have the following qualities:

~S/he shows direction to the group whenever group moves away from the topic.
~S/he coordinates the effort of the different team members in the Group Discussion.
~S/he contributes to the Group Discussion at regular intervals with valuable insights.
~S/he also inspires and motivates team members to express their views.

Caution: Being a mere coordinator in a Group Discussion does not help, because it is a
secondary role.

Contribute to the Group Discussion with your ideas and opinions, but also try and steer
the conversation towards a goal.

4. Flexibility
You must be open to other ideas as well as to the evaluation of your ideas: That is what
flexibility is all about.

But first, remember: Never ever start your Group Discussion with a stand or a conclusion.

Say the topic of a Group Discussion is, 'Should India go to war with Pakistan?'

Some participants tend to get emotionally attached to the topic and take a stand either in
favour or against the topic, ie 'Yes, India should', or, 'No, India should not'.

By taking a stand, you have already given your decision without discussing the topic at
hand or listening to the views of your team members.

Also, if you encounter an opposition with a very strong point at the 11th hour, you end up
in a typical catch-22 situation:

~If you change your stand, you are seen as a fickle-minded or a whimsical person.
~If you do not change your stand, you are seen as an inflexible, stubborn and obstinate

5. Assertiveness

You must put forth your point to the group in a very emphatic, positive and confident

Participants often confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness.

Aggressiveness is all about forcing your point on the other person, and can be a threat to
the group. An aggressive person can also demonstrate negative body language, whereas
an assertive person displays positive body language.

6. Initiative

A general trend amongst students is to start a Group Discussion and get the initial kitty of
points earmarked for the initiator.

But that is a high risk-high return strategy.

Initiate a Group Discussion only if you are well versed with the topic. If you start and fail
to contribute at regular intervals, it gives the impression that you started the Group
Discussion just for the sake of the initial points. Also, if you fumble, stammer or
misquote facts, it may work against you.

Remember: You never ever get a second chance to create a first impression.

7. Creativity/ Out of the box thinking

An idea or a perspective which opens new horizons for discussion on the Group
Discussion topic is always highly appreciated.

When you put across a new idea convincingly, such that it is discussed at length by the
group, it can only be positive.

You will find yourself in the good books of the examiner.

8. Inspiring ability

A good group discussion should incorporate views of all the team members.

If some team members want to express their ideas but are not getting the opportunity to
do so, giving them an opportunity to express their ideas or opinions will be seen as a
positive trait.

Caution: If a participant is not willing to speak, you need not necessarily go out of the
way to ask him to express his views. This may insult him and hamper the flow of the
Group Discussion.

9. Listening

Always try and strike a proper balance between expressing your ideas and imbibing

10. Awareness

You must be well versed with both the micro and macro environment.

Your awareness about your environment helps a lot in your Group Discussion content,
which carries maximum weightage.

Caution: The content or awareness generally constitutes 40 to 50 percent marks of your

Group Discussion.

Apart from these qualities, communication skills, confidence and the ability to think on
one's feet are also very important.

A group discussion can be categorically divided into three different phases:

i. Initiation/ Introduction

ii. Body of the group discussion

iii. Summarisation/ Conclusion

Let's stress on the initiation and summarisation:

Initiation Techniques

Initiating a Group Discussion is a high profit-high loss strategy.

When you initiate a Group Discussion, you not only grab the opportunity to speak, you
also grab the attention of the examiner and your fellow candidates.

If you can make a favourable first impression with your content and communication
skills after you initiate a Group Discussion, it will help you sail through the discussion.

But if you initiate a Group Discussion and stammer/ stutter/ quote wrong facts and
figures, the damage might be irreparable.

If you initiate a Group Discussion impeccably but don't speak much after that, it gives the
impression that you started the Group Discussion for the sake of starting it or getting
those initial kitty of points earmarked for an initiator!

When you start a Group Discussion, you are responsible for putting it into the right
perspective or framework. So initiate one only if you have indepth knowledge about the
topic at hand.

There are different techniques to initiate a Group Discussion and make a good first

i. Quotes
ii. Definition
iii. Question
iv. Shock statement
v. Facts, figures and statistics
vi. Short story
vii. General statement

~ Quotes

Quotes are an effective way of initiating a Group Discussion.

If the topic of a Group Discussion is: Should the Censor Board be abolished?, you could
start with a quote like, 'Hidden apples are always sweet'.

For a Group Discussion topic like, Customer is King, you could quote Sam (Wal-mart)
Walton's famous saying, 'There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody
in the company -- from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere
~ Definition

Start a Group Discussion by defining the topic or an important term in the topic.

For example, if the topic of the Group Discussion is Advertising is a Diplomatic Way of
Telling a Lie, why not start the Group Discussion by defining advertising as, 'Any paid
form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services through
mass media like newspapers, magazines, television or radio by an identified sponsor'?

For a topic like The Malthusian Economic Prophecy is no longer relevant, you could start
by explaining the definition of the Malthusian Economic Prophecy.

~ Question

Asking a question is an impactful way of starting a Group Discussion.

It does not signify asking a question to any of the candidates in a Group Discussion so as
to hamper the flow. It implies asking a question, and answering it yourself.

Any question that might hamper the flow of a Group Discussion or insult a participant or
play devil's advocate must be discouraged.

Questions that promote a flow of ideas are always appreciated.

For a topic like, Should India go to war with Pakistan, you could start by asking, 'What
does war bring to the people of a nation? We have had four clashes with Pakistan. The
pertinent question is: what have we achieved?'

~ Shock statement

Initiating a Group Discussion with a shocking statement is the best way to grab
immediate attention and put forth your point.

If a Group Discussion topic is, The Impact of Population on the Indian Economy, you
could start with, 'At the centre of the Indian capital stands a population clock that ticks
away relentlessly. It tracks 33 births a minute, 2,000 an hour, 48,000 a day. Which
calculates to about 12 million every year. That is roughly the size of Australia. As a
current political slogan puts it, 'Nothing's impossible when 1 billion Indians work

~ Facts, figures and statistics

If you decide to initiate your Group Discussion with facts, figure and statistics, make sure
to quote them accurately.

Approximation is allowed in macro level figures, but micro level figures need to be
correct and accurate.

For example, you can say, approximately 70 per cent of the Indian population stays in
rural areas (macro figures, approximation allowed).

But you cannot say 30 states of India instead of 28 (micro figures, no approximations).

Stating wrong facts works to your disadvantage.

For a Group Discussion topic like, China, a Rising Tiger, you could start with, 'In 1983,
when China was still in its initial stages of reform and opening up, China's real use of
Foreign Direct Investment only stood at $636 million. China actually utilised $60 billion
of FDI in 2004, which is almost 100 times that of its 1983 statistics."

~ Short story

Use a short story in a Group Discussion topic like, Attitude is Everything.

This can be initiated with, 'A child once asked a balloon vendor, who was selling helium
gas-filled balloons, whether a blue-coloured balloon will go as high in the sky as a green-
coloured balloon. The balloon vendor told the child, it is not the colour of the balloon but
what is inside it that makes it go high.'

~ General statement

Use a general statement to put the Group Discussion in proper perspective.

For example, if the topic is, Should Sonia Gandhi be the prime minister of India?, you
could start by saying, 'Before jumping to conclusions like, 'Yes, Sonia Gandhi should be',
or 'No, Sonia Gandhi should not be', let's first find out the qualities one needs to be a a
good prime minister of India. Then we can compare these qualities with those that Mrs
Gandhi possesses. This will help us reach the conclusion in a more objective and
effective manner.'

Summarisation Techniques

Most Group Discussions do not really have conclusions. A conclusion is where the whole
group decides in favour or against the topic.

But every Group Discussion is summarised. You can summarise what the group has
discussed in the Group Discussion in a nutshell.
Keep the following points in mind while summarising a discussion:

Avoid raising new points.

Avoid stating only your viewpoint.
Avoid dwelling only on one aspect of the Group Discussion.
Keep it brief and concise.
It must incorporate all the important points that came out during the Group Discussion.
If the examiner asks you to summarise a Group Discussion, it means the Group Discussion
has come to an end. Do not add anything once the Group Discussion has been

1. always be the initiator and concluder of the Group Discussion then being a participant.
2. But if you are particaipant always try to be the most vianl/key participant.
3. put points firmly and always try to get others support too.
4. if you find that the discussion os going offttrack then never loose an oppurtunity to
bring it back to straem this is the best point to score max.
5. try to keep latest information on the topic .
6. be very polite , people may try to provoke you to to get more points but try to keep cool.
7. most important don't wait for your turn to speak when discussion is on. inturrupt
politely if you want to put forward your points.
8. last but not the least keep atab on the time given for discussion. score points by
wrapping up the discussion if you feel that the discussion is heating but the time is going
to be over.
9. during clonclusion, do end with the conclusion note. that shows your leadership quality.

Best scoring points are:

1. initiation of discussion,
2.always keeping/trying tokeep discussion on track
3. conclusion on time
4. your capability to keep your cool and listen as well as putting your points.

Group Discussion basically means searching your team player, leadership, communication

HR Interview Questions For Freshers

1.Tell me about yourself?
I am down-to-earth, sweet, smart, creative, industrious, and

2. How has your experience prepared you for your career?


Aside from the discipline and engineering foundation learning

that I have gained from my courses, I think the design projects,
reports, and presentations have prepared me most for my career.

Work Experience:

Through internships, I have gained self-esteem, confidence, and

problem-solving skills. I also refined my technical writing and
learned to prepare professional documents for clients.

Student Organizations:

By working on multiple projects for different student

organizations while keeping up my grades, I've built time
management and efficiency skills. Additionally, I've developed
leadership, communication, and teamwork abilities.

Life Experience:
In general, life has taught me determination and the importance of
maintaining my ethical standards.

3. Describe the ideal job.

Ideally, I would like to work in a fun, warm environment with individuals

working independently towards team goals or individual goals. I am not
concerned about minor elements, such as dress codes, cubicles, and the level
of formality. Most important to me is an atmosphere that fosters attention to
quality, honesty, and integrity.
4. What type of supervisor have you found to be the best?

I have been fortunate enough to work under wonderful supervisors who have
provided limited supervision, while answering thoughtful questions and
guiding learning. In my experience, the best supervisors give positive
feedback and tactful criticism.

5. What do you plan to be doing in five years' time?

Taking the PE exam and serving in supervisory/leadership roles both at work

and in professional/community organization(s).

6. What contributions could you make in this organization that would

help you to stand out from other applicants?

In previous internships, my industriousness and ability to teach myself have

been valuable assets to the company. My self-teaching abilities will
minimize overhead costs, and my industriousness at targeting needs without
prompting will set me apart from others. Additionally, one thing that has
always set me apart from my scientific/engineering peers are my broad
interests and strong writing abilities. I am not your typical "left-brained"
engineer, and with my broad talents, I am likely to provide diverse

7. What sort of criteria are you using to decide the organization you will
work for?

Most importantly, I am looking for a company that values quality, ethics, and
teamwork. I would like to work for a company that hires overachievers.

8. What made you choose your major?

My academic interests are broad, so I sought civil engineering to achieve a

great balance of mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, and writing.
9. Have your university and major met your expectations?

The College of Engineering at MSU has exceeded my expectations by

providing group activities, career resources, individual attention, and
professors with genuine interest in teaching.

My major has met my expectations by about 90%. I would have enjoyed

more choices in environmental courses, and would have preferred more
calculus-based learning.

10. What made you choose this college?

I chose this college for the following reasons: my budget limited me to in-
state schools, I was seeking an area with dog-friendly apartments, the MSU
web site impressed me, I saw active student groups, and the people were
very friendly.

11. List 2-3 of your greatest achievements since you've been in college
and why? Receiving the SWE Outstanding Member Award and College
of Engineering Student Service Award

I got involved with student activities to overcome my debilitating shyness.

Receiving these awards signified that I had accomplished a transition from
dragging myself to participate to feeling energized by it.

Receiving the SWE Web Site Award

Without training in web design, I competed against not only the other
student sections, but professional sections around the nation. Despite
competing with more HTML-experienced people, I brought this award to my
section. After getting so much from SWE, I was able to give something

Earning the highest grade in an organic chemistry class of ~200 people

I worked very hard for this grade and loved the subject, so it was a great
feeling to see that the hard work paid off.
12. Which subjects have you enjoyed studying the most and why?

I have enjoyed hydrology, fluids, solid & hazardous waste management,

water and wastewater treatment, and oceanography because I love water and
environmental topics.

Calculus and linear algebra excite me because I love logic.

I enjoyed the writing and analysis in economic history.

Business law thrilled me because I have a strong interest in legal matters.

13. Which subjects did you dislike and why?

Introductory soil elicited little interest in me, most likely because the
professor was inexperienced, the book was ineffective, and I had little spare
time that semester to look into other resources.

14. Do you have plans to continue your education?

Yes, but not immediately. I plan to continue part time with either an MBA or
an environmental engineering masters, depending on which will be more
beneficial to my work.

15. How would a professor who knows you well describe you? One who
does not know you well?

A professor who knows me well would likely describe my personal

qualities: sweet, down-to-earth, smart, hard-working, and conscientious.

As specific examples of those who did not know me well, my soils professor
and soils teaching assistant each considered me smart and respectful, and
both thought that I must have enjoyed the class a lot, due to my
16. Given the chance, how would you alter your education?

Knowing now what I like the most, I would have used my electives for extra
math and psychology classes, since I tend to be well-rounded enough that a
variety of classes are unnecessary; my personal reading is diverse enough. I
have found that mathematics and psychology are helpful to all career and
life paths.

17. Which part-time job did you enjoy the most and why?

Working for PM Environmental was most enjoyable to me, since I felt like I
was significantly contributing to the company, and I enjoyed learning on my

18. Interests:

Some of my interests include dogs, hiking, snow-shoeing, water sports,

writing, reading (especially Charles Dickens' novels), skiing, drawing,
crafts, and computers.

19. What are your strengths?

My strongest strength is the ability to teach myself difficult material,

regardless of the subject (with the exception of theater and drawing blood
from dogs, which I have no talent for). Additionally, I have always excelled
verbally and look forward to writing opportunities.

20. What are your weaknesses?

I tend to try to do too many things, leaving little time for myself. I have
worked on balancing myself for the last several months. I am also working
on improving my public speaking skills.

21. What sort of serious problems have you experienced, and how have
you handled them?

My apartment building burned down at the end of January during one of my

semesters at MSU. Before the fire got too bad, I was able to rescue my pets
and the neighbor's dog, as well as my textbooks and backpack, but I lost
most of my mementos and possessions. While the firemen were preparing
their hoses, I drove to school (with the animals in the car) to meet my lab
partners, who were waiting for me. I explained the situation, emailed my
professors, and rushed back to the apartment.

Fortunately, I had renter's insurance. I missed about a week of school to deal

with the insurance matters and find a new place to live. In order to salvage
my grades and sanity, I dropped a course and honored my existing student
group and research commitments. Staying active socially and keeping
myself well-rounded were the best healing tools for me. Within a few weeks,
I was caught up and had recovered reasonably from the loss of sentimental

22. Do you or have you in the past experimented with illegal drugs?

No. My only addictions are caffeine and sugar.

23. Would you be willing to take a drug test?

Of course.

24. Do you drink alcohol socially?

No, but I enjoy Shirley Temples quite a bit.

25. If you had your whole life to live over, what would you do differently
and why?

I was always good in math, but I wish that I would have focused on math
more. I feel that mathematics can lead one anywhere, and is the basis of
most disciplines.

On a personal level, I would have ensured that, despite pre-teen angst and
insecurity, I would have been nice to everyone, even on especially bad days.

26. Which is more important to you, your salary or your job?

Salary is important, but I couldn't stay with a job that brought me misery
when I could support myself doing something else; hence, my job is more
27. What have you found to be the biggest source of motivation in your

Taking advantage of my strengths so that they are not wasted. Since nobody
is lucky enough to be strong in every area, I think it is important to make
good use of one's strengths.

28. What sorts of things cause you stress, and how do you deal with

Lack of organization throws me off. To deal with this, I come up with some
kind of system to organize things, even if it is only in my head, in the case
when chaos is desirable.

29. What is your definition of success?

Being a good person by improving the quality of the lives of others, whether
it be through work, doing sweet things, improving the
environment/community, taking care of one's family, etc. Superficially, I
tend to measure success by level of education and abilities within one's
career; however, I try to remind myself of the things that are more important.

30. What qualities should a successful supervisor possess in regard to

job requirements and those who report to him/her?

A successful supervisor should be able to tactfully give criticism, guide,

motivate, encourage and foster a positive work environment.

31. How would you develop team spirit among the people that you

My experience in student groups has taught me that people work best when
their friends (teammates) are counting on them to do well; therefore, I
believe that bonding motivates people. I would also foster team pride by
promoting our team's assets.
32. Do you like to work independently or as a team?

I like to work independently towards a team goal.

33. What kind of work environment do you like the best?

I enjoy working with friendly co-workers who can share a laugh while
working hard and overachieving.

34. How would you resolve conflicts with employees, coworkers, and

If possible, I would refresh my memory on what I've learned about conflict

communication, and then I would discuss things, honestly and tactfully. I am
a big fan of kind sincerity and honesty, as well as humility (when

35. In what ways have you learned from your mistakes?

Upon getting myself overwhelmed with involvement in too many projects, I

changed my approach. When possible, I now start with less than I can handle
and add more only as time allows, and in small increments.

36. In what areas do you need to improve your skills?

I would like to improve my public speaking skills.

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