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A GD is a methodology used by an organization to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires

in its members. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the it among themselves for !"#$ minutes. brings you an elaborate section for GD as you had ever seen anywhere else.&ome of the personality traits the GD is trying to gauge may include '"

Ability to work in a team (ommunication skills )easoning ability *eadership skills Initiative Assertiveness %le+ibility (reativity Ability to think on ones feet

,hy GDs'"

-he reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptual skills in an e+am, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute. -he Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as a member or as a leader. -herefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. .anagers have to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. -hat is the reason why management institutes include GD as a component of the selection procedure.

(ompany/s 0erspective'"

(ompanies conduct group discussion after the written test so as to check on your interactive skills and how good you are at communicating with other people. -he GD is to check how you behave, participate and contribute in a group, how much importance do you give to the group ob1ective as well as your own, how well do you listen to viewpoints of others and how open" minded are you in accepting views contrary to your own. -he aspects which make up a GD are verbal communication, non"verbal behavior, conformation to norms, decision"making ability and cooperation. 2ou should try to be as true as possible to these aspects. -ypes of GD

GDs can be topic"based or case"based.

-opic based Gds can be classified into three types '"

. %actual -opics #. (ontroversial -opics 3. Abstract -opics

%actual -opics'"

%actual topics are about practical things, which an ordinary person is aware of in his day"to"day life. -ypically these are about socio"economic topics. -hese can be current, i.e. they may have been in the news lately, or could be unbound by time. A factual topic for discussion gives a candidate a chance to prove that he is aware of and sensitive to his environment. 4.g. -he education policy of India, -ourism in India, &tate of the aged in the nation.

(ontroversial -opics'" (ontroversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. -hey are meant to generate controversy. In GDs where these topics are given for discussion, the noise level is usually high, there may be tempers flying. -he idea behind giving a topic like this is to see how much maturity the candidate is displaying by keeping his temper in check, by rationally and logically arguing his point of view without getting personal and emotional.

4.g. )eservations should be removed, ,omen make better managers

Abstract -opics'" Abstract topics are about intangible things. -hese topics are not given often for discussion, but their possibility cannot be ruled out. -hese topics test your lateral thinking and creativity. 4.g. A is an alphabet, -winkle twinkle little star, -he number $

(ase"based Gd'" Another variation is the use of a case instead of a topic. -he case study tries to simulate a real"life situation. Information about the situation will be given to you and you would be asked as a group to resolve the situation. In the case study there are no incorrect answers or perfect solutions. -he ob1ective in the case study is to get you to think about the situation from various angles. II. A, II. Indore and II- &5. .umbai have a case"based discussion rather than topic"based discussion in their selection procedures. 6ow to %ace GD

A group discussion consists of' (ommunication &kills 7nowledge and ideas regarding a given sub1ect (apability to co"ordinate and lead 4+change of thoughts Addressing the group as a whole -horough preparations

(ommunication &kills

-he first aspect is one/s power of e+pression. In a group discussion, a candidate has to talk effectively so that he is able to convince others. %or convincing, one has to speak forcefully and

at the same time create an impact by his knowledge of the sub1ect. A candidate who is successful in holding the attention of the audience creates a positive impact.

It is necessary that you should be precise and clear. As a rule evaluators do not look for the wordage produced. 2our knowledge on a given sub1ect, your precision and clarity of thought are the things that are evaluated. Irrelevant talks lead you nowhere. 2ou should speak as much as necessary, neither more nor less. Group discussions are not debating stages.

Ability to listen is also what evaluators 1udge. -hey look for your ability to react on what other participants say. 6ence, it is necessary that you listen carefully to others and then react or proceed to add some more points. 2our behavior in the group is also put to test to 1udge whether you are a loner or can work in a group.

2ou should be able to convey your thoughts satisfactorily and convincingly before a group of people. (onfidence and level headedness in doing so is necessary. -hese add value to your presentation. In case you are not good at it, you might gain by 1oining an institute that offers specialized courses in public speaking. %or instance, 8ritish (ouncil Division/s 4nglish *anguage -eaching (entre offers a wide range of courses like conversation skills, business communication skills, business writing, negotiation skills and presentation skills. .ostly people attend these courses to improve their communication skills. &tudents here are involved in activities which use communication skills and teachers provide inputs, monitor and facilitate the classes. -he course at the (entre makes you confident enough to speak before people without any nervousness.

7nowledge and Ideas )egarding a Given &ub1ect

7nowledge of the sub1ect under discussion and clarity of ideas are important. 7nowledge comes from consistent reading on various topics ranging from science and technology to politics. In" depth knowledge makes one confident and enthusiastic and this in turn, makes one sound convincing and confident.

*eadership and (oordinating (apabilities

-he basic aim of a group discussion is to 1udge a candidate/s leadership 9ualities. -he e+aminer withdraws and becomes a silent spectator once the discussion starts. A candidate should

display tactfulness, skill, understanding and knowledge on varied topics, enterprise, forcefulness and other leadership 9ualities to motivate and influence other candidates who may be almost e9ually competent.

4+change of -houghts

A group discussion is an e+change of thoughts and ideas among members of a group. -hese discussions are held for selecting personnel in organisations where there is a high level of competition. -he number of participants in a group can vary between : and !. .ostly a topic or a situation is given to group members who have to discuss it within $ to #$ minutes.

-he purpose is to get an idea about candidates in a short time and make assessments about their skills, which normally cannot be evaluated in an interview. -hese skills may be team membership, leadership skills, listening and articulation skills.

A note is made of your contributions to the discussion, comprehension of the main idea, the rapport you strike, patience, assertion, accommodation, amenability, etc. 8ody language and eye contact too are important points which are to be considered. .

Addressing the Group as a ,hole

In a group discussion it is not necessary to address anyone by name. 4ven otherwise you may not know everyone/s names. It better to address the group as a whole.

Address the person farthest from you. If he can hear you everyone else too can. ;eedless to add, as for the interview, attend the group discussion in formal dress. -he language used should also be formal, not the language used in normal conversations. %or instance, words and phrases like <yar<, <chalta hai<, <(0<, <I dunno<, etc. are out. -his is not to say you should use a high sounding, pedantic language. Avoiding both, 1ust use formal, plain and simple language. 6inglish, =mi+ture of 6indi and 4nglish> should be discarded.

(onfidence and coolness while presenting your viewpoint are of help. &ee that you do not keep repeating a point. Do not use more words than necessary. Do not be superfluous. -ry to be specific. Do not e+aggerate.

-horough 0reparation

&tart making preparations for interview and group discussions right away, without waiting till the eleventh hour, this is, if and when called for them. -hen the time left may not be ade9uate. It is important to concentrate on sub1ect knowledge and general awareness. 6ence, the prime need for thorough preparation. )emember, the competition is very tough. 5nly ?@$ candidates make it to the final list from #.A! lakh civil service aspirants each year.

It may so happen that you are called for interviews and group discussions from three or four organizations but are not selected by any. -he reason obviously lies in your not being well" prepared.

In a group discussion you may be given a topic and asked to e+press your views on it. 5r in a case study GD, students have to read a case study and suggest ways of tackling the problem. %or this you should have a good general knowledge, need to be abreast with current affairs, should regularly read newspapers and magazines. 2our group behaviour and communication skills are on test, i.e. how you convince the others and how clearly you are able to e+press your points of view. 2ou should be articulate, generate ideas, not sound boring, should allow others to speak, and adopt a stand on a given sub1ect. During the course of the GD this stand can even be changed, giving the impression that you are open to accommodate others/ viewpoints.

Additional marks may be given for starting or concluding the discussion.

0oints to )emember

7nowledge is strength. A candidate with good reading habits has more chances of success. In other words, sound knowledge on different topics like politics, finance, economy, science and technology is helpful.

0ower to convince effectively is another 9uality that makes you stand out among others.

(larity in speech and e+pression is yet another essential 9uality.

If you are not sure about the topic of discussion, it is better not to initiate. *ack of knowledge or wrong approach creates a bad impression. Instead, you might adopt the wait and watch attitude. *isten attentively to others, may be you would be able to come up with a point or two later.

A GD is a formal occasion where slang is to avoided.

A GD is not a debating stage. 0articipants should confine themselves to e+pressing their viewpoints. In the second part of the discussion candidates can e+ercise their choice in agreeing, disagreeing or remaining neutral.

*anguage use should be simple, direct and straight forward.

Don/t interrupt a speaker when the session is on. -ry to score by increasing your size, not by cutting others short.

.aintain rapport with fellow participants. 4ye contact plays a ma1or role. ;on"verbal gestures, such as listening intently or nodding while appreciating someone/s viewpoint speak of you positively.

(ommunicate with each and every candidate present. ,hile speaking don/t keep looking at a single member. Address the entire group in such a way that everyone feels you are speaking to him or her. GD %AB/s

,hat is the normal duration of a GDC A GD is generally of !"#$ minutes duration.

6ow many panel members are there to evaluateC -here are usually 3"? panel members to evaluate.

Is there time given for preparation after the topic is given and before starting the GDC Dsually some time =#"! minutes> is given to collect one/s thoughts, but there could be instances when this does not happen, so it is best not to bank on this.

&hould I address the panel or the group membersC Don/t ever make the mistake of addressing the panel members. -he GD is between you and the other members, not the panel members. 2ou must avoid even looking at the panel members while the GD is in progress. Eust ignore their e+istence.

,hat is the seating arrangement likeC It could be semi"circular, or circular, or seating along side a rectangular table, depending upon the venue. It is best not to bother about trivial issues like this, which you have no control over.

6ow should I address the other group membersC If you are initiating the discussion, you could do so by collectively addressing the group as <%riends<. &ubse9uently, you could use names =if the group has had a round of self"introduction prior to starting the discussion and you remember the names> or simply use pronouns like <he< or <she<.

&uppose I have a lot to say on the topic, should I say all of itC 2ou would not be looked upon favourably if you kept speaking all the time and did not listen to anyone else. (ontrary to the misconception, the person who talks the most is not necessarily the one who is 1udged the best. -he 9uality and not the 9uantity of your contribution is the success factor.

&hould I encourage others to speak upC

Do not directly put someone who is consistently silent on the spot by asking him/her to speak up. If someone has been trying to speak and has a good point but is cut off constantly, you may encourage him/her to continue with her point as you would like to hear her out.

Are the group members supposed to keep track of the time or will the panel keep trackC It would be good if you are conscious of the time, but not to the point of getting so distracted looking at your watch that you do not contribute to the discussion.

Are we allowed to carry a piece of paper during the GD for noting down important pointsC ;ormally you are, but there may be instances when it is specifically forbidden to carry paper.

Is there any particular seating arrangement, which is favourable to the participantsC If participants are asked to sit in a circle or a semi circle, one position is as good as another. 8ut if you are asked to sit on either side of a rectangular table, then choose a position as close to the centre as possible.

&hould we begin the GD by appointing a leader amongst ourselvesC ;o. 2ou should not. *eadership in a GD is established implicitly through one/s performance in a GD.

&hould we distribute the total time available to all the participants to ensure that everybody gets a chance to speakC &ince a GD is not a debate or elocution, the participants should not resort to the strategy of distributing time amongst themselves.

(an we take a definite stand in the GD and then later on during the GD, switch over to another standC 2es, provided you do it the right way. In a GD it is 9uite likely that some other participant/s counter"argument convinces you to your point. If this happens, then it is best if you accept his argument and e+plain to the group how your previous argument was true within a narrow range, and how the new argument is applicable to a broader range. ;aturally, it is safer not to make any rash statements for or against a topic before you learn the facts of the argument. 8lindly

taking a stand will definitely lead you to trouble. -his does not mean you should sit on the fence. 2ou may participate actively by pointing out both sides of the issue in a reasonable and logical manner.

If we do not understand the meaning of the topic, should we ask the moderator to e+plain it to usC ;o. 2ou cannot. Instead of displaying your ignorance in this manner, it is better to wait for some other participant to e+plain the meaning of the topic. &o listen to the discussion carefully for the first few minutes and when you have figured out what the topic is about, start participating in the discussion.

&hould we address the other participants by their names or their assigned numbersC As far as possible, you should try and avoid names or numbers. It is better to use pronouns such as <he<, <she<, <you< etc. while referring to the members of the group.

Are we e+pected to stick to the normally accepted line of thought or can we come up with something radicalC 8y all means you can. It would demonstrate your creativity and originality. Eust make sure it is relevant to the topic.

If I feel strongly about an issue, should I voice my feelingsC It is important to be cool and emotionally ob1ective in a GD. If you react emotionally you are likely to lose control over yourself during the group discussion. 2ou have to be calm and logical, not emotional in a GD.

(an I use technical terms or 1argon, which is clear to me, but not to the groupC If you have to use technical terms, please do not use abbreviations. After mentioning the term in full take time out to e+plain to the group what it means. It is 9uite likely that other participants of the group have a different academic background from you, and you should make sure you are all on a level playing field.

Do I begin my participation by re9uesting the group/s permission to do soC

It is not likely that you will get a chance to ask for such permission. It may also go against you =as appearing weak on your part>.

,hat is the right time to enter a GD to ensure that I am heard properlyC In any GD, there are crests and troughs during the discussion. -he crest is when the noise level is at its peak. -he trough is when there is almost total silence. Ideally, you should enter the GD during the trough period. 8ut in competitive GDs, the crests occur more often and troughs may not occur at all. In such cases, you could identify the stages in the GD, where ideas dear to you are being discussed and enter the GD irrespective of the noise level.

6ow do I participate when the noise level is too highC 2ou could try the following strategy " Identify the most powerful speaker in the group, and note down the points that he/she is making. -he moment the noise level reduces a little, enter supporting the powerful speaker. 2ou will have made a strong ally who will carry you through the noise.

Do I have to be cautious about other participants/ feelings =on sensitive issues like religion, caste etc>C 2ou certainly do. Insensitivity to others displays a lack of maturity and viciousness. It will act against your favour.

Is it beneficial to be the first speaker in a group discussionC 8eing the first speaker is a high risk, high return strategy. If you can make a good opening statement, which is relevant and sets the tone for the GD, it will go in your favour. If you do this well, you may automatically become the group leader. 6owever if you bungle it up =by speaking for the sake of speaking, not really having anything pertinent to say>, it will be remembered and will go against your favour.

6ow critical is my fluency in 4nglish to my performanceC (ommand over 4nglish is certainly advantageous but will not compensate for lack of good content. If your content is good, then even if your 4nglish might not be great, you must speak it out, rather than be inhibited by lack of good 4nglish. 2ou will get credit for soundness of ideas.

6ow necessary is it to use e+amples for illustrating an ideaC Dse of e+amples is helpful in elaborating your point, and helping others understand your idea better. 8ut please remember to keep it short and simple because in a competitive GD nobody has the patience to listen to long, drawn out e+amples.

6ow much or for how long should I participateC In a #$ minute GD with $" # participants, you should try and participate at least ? times with each entry lasting at least #!"3$ seconds. 2ou could participate more depending on your comfort level and the need for participation.

Is it good to be humorous in a GDC Depends on the situation. In a GD that is fairly rela+ed, it may be acceptable. 8ut in a competitive situation, where the participants are tensed up, your attempts at humour may fall flat.

&hould we make an interim summaryC An interim summary is a way of directing the group mid"way through the GD. It helps the group to pick out and focus on the most important points and thus use the remaining time more effectively. 6owever it is not necessary to make an interim summary, if the discussion is already well focused.

,hat do I do if someone else has already said what I wanted to sayC 2ou have two choices'

Agree with the point made by that person and add on to it by displaying the applicability of the argument to different situations. 8y doing this you will have broadened the scope of the argument.

Drop the point and think of fresh points. -o avoid getting into a situation where someone else has already spoken your points, do speak up in the first ?"! minutes of the GD. If you wait longer, it is almost inevitable that someone would have spoken your points.

Is the use of slang/collo9uialism permittedC It is best to avoid using slang.

(an I use a language other than 4nglish to drive home my pointC ;o. 2ou will have to stick to 4nglish.

6ow is aggression taken and measured in a GDC -he moment you notice people reacting to you negatively or strongly, you may take it that you are being too aggressive. -he degree of the reaction is the measure of your aggression.

,hat level of aggression is seen acceptableC -here is a very thin line between aggression and assertiveness. 2ou should always aim to sound assertive and not stubborn.

Is it true that the person who speaks the most in a GD is the one who is most successfulC -his is a myth. Generally the person who has a sound knowledge of the topic and is a clear thinker speaks more. -his leads the students into believing that whoever speaks most is successful. 8ut 1ust speaking for the sake of speaking will not take you far.

,ill I be 9uizzed about my =or others> participation in the GDC 2ou may be. -herefore it helps to be alert all through the GD.

Is it true that the GD is used more as an elimination techni9ue rather than as a selection toolC Depends on the institute. In most premier institutes it is used as a selection tool, not as an elimination techni9ue.

,hat is the level of accuracy desired in the facts and figures you 9uote during the GDC

An error margin of !F is acceptable.

Is motivating other people in the group to speak looked upon favourablyC Depends on how it is done. If you openly re9uest someone to speak, you may be putting the other person in a difficult spot, and the evaluators will not look that upon favourably. It is therefore better to use other means of motivation, such as agreeing with a halting speaker, adding on to their points, implicitly supporting and giving them direction.

Does the moderator have any biases or preconceived notions about the topicC Ideally the moderator is supposed to be unbiased and neutral. 8ut being a human being, the moderator cannot be totally free from bias. &ince this is not a factor within your control, there isn/t much point losing sleep over it.

(an we e+pect the moderator to stop or cut short the GD much before the stipulated time is overC -his may happen if the GD becomes too noisy and if the level of discussion deteriorates abysmally.

(an I be aggressive with a lady participantC A GD is not the place to demonstrate chivalry. 8eing rude to any participant =male or female> is downright unacceptable. 2ou need not e+tend any special privileges to a lady.

Is it all right to ask pointed 9uestions to other participants during a GDC It is alright to ask 9uestions for the purpose of clarification but not for the purpose of playing the devil/s advocate and proving them wrong. 8y playing the devil/s advocate you hamper the flow of the GD. -he pointed 9uestions unsettle the other participant and the 9uality of the GD deteriorates. -his would reflect badly on you and will go against your favour.

Is it necessary that a group should arrive at a conclusion in the stipulated timeC Ideally a group is supposed to reach a conclusion. ;ormally the time constraints do not allow the group to do so.

Is an end"summary absolutely essentialC ;o. If the group has not reached a conclusion, then it would be good if someone puts the whole discussion into perspective by summarizing. 8ut if there isn/t sufficient time, a summary may be avoided.

Do we have to write a synopsis of the GD once it is overC &ome institutes insist on this, but it is not universal.

Is voting an acceptable method of reaching a consensusC (ertainly not. A GD is not a debate.

6ow should a group select a topic if asked toC -he group should brainstorm for about two minutes and narrow down the list of topics to 3"?. After this the group should prioritize them based on the comfort level and ease of discussion of the topics. -his could be done by asking each participant to rank the ? topics and the most popular choice should be taken.

Are the topics decided on the basis of the academic background of the participantC ;o. -opics are usually general in nature to give a level playing field to everyone.

,hat do I do if one member is very stubborn and aggressiveC 2ou could use any of the following methods.

Ignore him and address the other members of the group.

8e assertive and tell him that his argument is faulty.

0oint out to him that his point is well taken and that the group must progress further by discussing the ideas presented by others.

,hat are the acceptable ways of interrupting somebody else, so that I may make my pointC 2ou can interrupt in any of the following ways'

<4+cuse me, but I feel that what you are saying isn/t universally true ...<

<2es, I agree with your idea, and I would like to add on to it G<

<2es, I think you are right when you say that, but could you clarify what if G<

A Dnipolar ,orld spells disaster for underdeveloped countries like India Is Globalisation )eally ;ecessaryC ,hat shall we do about our ever"increasing 0opulationC (orruption is the price we pay for Democracy %oreign -elevision (hannels are destroying our culture ,hat India needs is a Dictatorship. ,ith media publishing and telecasting trivia, censorship is the need of the hour. 7aun 8anega 7rorepati is less about knowledge but more about money and personality. 8eauty contests degrade womanhood -he rise of regional blocs threatens independent nations like India &i+ billion and one bronzeH Is dependence on computers a good thingC &hould the public sector be privatisedC

(hina and India are similar nations with contrasting ways Is India a &oft ;ationC Ialue based politics is the need of the hour )eligion should not be mi+ed with politics 6ow to deal with high oil prices 5ur cricketers are not to blame for match fi+ing ,hy cant we be world players in industry as we are in softwareC .ultinational corporations' Are they devils in disguiseC &hould there be limits on artistic freedom =the controversy on %ire>. &hould there be private universitiesC Does banning fashion shows and ;ew 2ear parties save our culture

MBA GD Topics
Is India moving away from a secularist stateC 4ducation in India " or the lack of it ,hat ails Indian sportsC -he Age of Information Is 0hilosophy 1ust an armchair theoryC &uccess is all about human relations 8orderless worlds " Dream or realityC Buality is a myth in India. 4ducation and success " Is there a correlationC ,e don/t learn from history, we repeat it Do we need a global policeman Indian villages " our strength or our weaknessC Agrarian 4conomy in India " boon or bane

if there were no armies in the world...... Indian customs " are we in a time warpC <6ow green was my valley........<. Is nature paying the price C .anagement 4ducation " Is it necessary to succeed in business -he role of ;G5s in economics and politics ;G5s " Do they serve peoples interests or are they pressure groupsC Death of &ocialism )ole of women in development 7ids today are not what they used to be (asteless India " A pipe dream &hould -rade Dnionism be banned in India )epeated elections " &hould ta+payers pay for itC Indian bureaucracy " foundation strengths or colonial hangoversC In India, the whole is less than the parts " Do we lack in team spiritC Generation J " Drivers of our future or are they our lost soulsC Do we need a cut in the defence budgetC << companies " Is there room for everyoneC Artificial Intelligence " ,ill man be ever replaced by machinesC if I were to choose my person of the millennium... All the world is a stage.... when managers become 6amlets... If 0atel were our first 0rime .inister....... .aterialism " 6ave we sold our souls to the DevilC 2ou/ve come a long way, baby " -he rise and rise of feminist power. )ole of ethics in tobacco industry, li9uor industry etc. &hould gambling be legalised in IndiaC

Are we unfit for DemocracyC &urvival tools for the new millennium 4+aminations " has it killed education (ultural Invasion through the air waves &hould doctors be tried in (onsumer (ourts Abortion and 4uthanasia " Is it morally right for society Are beauty pageants necessaryC -he relevance of Gandhism today India and the ,-5 Did India handle the hi1ack issue properlyC Is 4"(ommerce the best thing for India .anagerial skills learnt in the classroom can never match those learnt from e+perience Democracy is hampering India progress .8A in India is highly overrated. )eligion is a private affair and should be of no concern for the state Decreasing defense e+penditure and increasing social e+penditure is the need of the hour