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over and the results have begun to trickle in. However there are still 2 more laps to run before you guys and gals can join India's most sought-after rat race. You know them as the group discussion(better described as the "dog eat dog" round) and the personal interview(throwing a young innocent into a den of lions). Hari Swamy, an IIM-Calcutta alumnus, who’s been through it all, helps demystify some of the myths about the GD and interviews.
“6 years ago I remember,when I received my first call I was ecstatic,and then suddenly time started to whizz past. There was so much to prepare and so little time. The euphoria soon gave way to anxiety and nervousness. Today, when I look back I realize that the GDs and the Interviews were far tougher than the Written Test. They tested your presence of mind, the depth of your knowledge, your communication skills and your ability to argue logically. They set apart the boys from the men (or the girls from the women as the case may be). I shall try and give some fundae on how one approaches these selection methods. Let's start with the Group Discussion. Typically the group is given a topic or a case for discussion by the panel. The topics could be categorized thus: l) Economic, Current Affairs and Political Issues. 2) Ethical and Moral Dilemmas, Social Issues 3) General Topics The topics are controversial in nature and are meant to give rise to heated arguments. It is the proverbial 'bone thrown to the dogs'. The panel is looking essentially at 3 things: 1) how well a candidate presents his/her views on the topics 2) how much originality he/she brings to the discussion 3) the extent of the students knowledge This seems pretty general information. However, the truth is that in the heat of a discussion the students very often forget these basic points and end up taking criticism very personally. It is key to remember that this is a discussion where the various aspects of the issue must be examined before arriving at any conclusion. The truth however is that most candidates turn it into personal crusades, and not only reduce their own chances but also the chances of their group members. Students often ask me how the panel evaluates GDs. Well, the truth is that it is a very subjective evaluation and therefore difficult to quantify. At the same time there are definite no-nos and anyone who indulges in these activities shows him/herself in a verv poor light.
The Don’ts of any GD.
1) The Strong and Silent types - It may be golden elsewhere but here all it shows is you're wooden.
2) The Definers - While this is a key aspect in certain topics to ensure that the scope of. the topic is charted out, many people make definitions the issue. 3) The Screamers - It's very often necessary, to raise one's voice to get heard over the crowd but to sustain that vocal pitch for 20 minutes can be quite suicidal! 4) The Bluffers - It is a common tendency to quote figures for the sake of quoting them. If your bluff is caught during the GD it could well end your chances. Also remember there is an interview to follow and that the panel may decide to quiz you on the facts then. 5) The Leaders - Since you do not have anything to say you keep trying to give others a chance without actually saying anything meaningful yourself. 6) The Organizers - Remember, the Competition Success Review model of GDs is a strict NO NO 7) The Questioners (who object to other peoples arguments) - While that is the aim of the GD,saying "Why?" or "Why not?" and never bothering to elucidate the reason for challenging the argument is not advisable. 8) Patronisers - These are people who have a very condescending attitude towards their fellow members. 9) The Non-Listeners - they typically end up repeating the same point or arguing with people who are on the same side Listening is as key as speaking in a GD. 10) Ramblers - they have one idea which they repeat time and again. The better ones keep changing the semantics, the bad ones say the same things again and again. The fact remains that all of us at different points of time have played each of these roles. So, do not read this and say "Ya, Amar is the rambler, Laaloo is the patroniser” and so on, for while they may probably do it more often than you, there are specific occassions when you have acted in a similar manner. Here is a list of probable topics that you may be required to speak on. Try working out some points on them. 1) India does not need MNCs 2) Advertising is wasteful and unnecessary in a third world country like India. 3) India should go nuclear 4) The South-East Asia Economic Crisis 5) The Grass is greener on the other side 6) Pornography is an art form and therefore should not be censored.
Questions that make many students paranoid.
1. How many times should I speak ? Well. there is no fixed number of times that you have to speak. 3-4 times is optimum, but even if you speak just once and speak sense it counts more than speaking 3 times and saying nonsense. 2. Starting the GD gives me an advantage, doesn't it? If you speak well, you're at an advantage. If you don't then it clearly shows that you are not well-prepared- just an eager beaver. You have 20 minutes to make your points so there’s no need to panic if you can’t start! 3. I must speak for or against the issue; is that the case? Wrong! Most people conclude the GD before their first sentence by saying "I think that art movies are boring and should be banned". It would help if you tried to raise a few points for discussion before jumping to conclusions. "do not jump to conclusions or they may jump on you. " 4. If everybody is shouting then I too must start shouting, right? Very often at GDs, the whole group starts shouting and each one blames it on the other. You could join in, but then if you've been at GDs, you'll realise that there are times when the group hits a crescendo and then there's a sudden lull. This probably
is the best time to enter the discussion. You must atleast make the effort to get yourself heard though there is no reason to shout. 5. Should I say “excuse me” before I interrupt someone. No!! You are speaking as a matter of right and therefore there is no need to apologise for interrupting someone if you think that he has had his say and you have a point to make. Just get straight to the point.Please do not say stuff like "as my learned friend said" and other such niceties. 6. Do I need to give an introduction before I get to the point? Please don't! Remember that there more people who are waiting to speak and want concrete points not long-winded introductions. It is in your interest to get to the crux of the matter. 7. What's the difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness? People who use aggression meaningfully are called assertive and those who use it meaninglessly are called aggressive. The assertive person is using aggression to take the discussion further whereas the aggressive person invariably uses it for greater noticeability alone. Of course, the dividing line is very thin. One last thing ... do try and look at the issues from both sides. Most people tend to take the view which is most widely accepted. They also tend to bring their personal likes/dislikes into the GD. This very often is detrimental becoz: l. If you happen to be the 3rd speaker, you may find that your points have already been taken up and you have nothing to say. 2. When you bring your personal bias into an issue, you are unlikely to encourage a view contrary to yours which would help the group look at a topic more objectively. I hope this clarifies most doubts you have about GDs. In the second part, I’ll deal with the Dos and Don’ts at the interviews. All the best!"