Sunday, January 14, 2007

Get Ready for the Group Discussion(GDs)

You must have received your CAT score-card by now, and it's now time to get ready for the crucial next phase of the B-School Entrance process - the Group Discussions and the Personal Interviews. The first point that you need to understand now, and this is very crucial, is that unlike the written test which was an elimination process, the Group Discussion & Personal Interview (GD PI) rounds are a selection process. At the Common Admission Test (CAT) stage, your objective was to just be one-up on others so that you finish around the 99th percentile. However, now you need to make a sufficient impression and convince the GD/PI panel that you are good enough to be selected for the prestigious MBA seat.
In this post, we will discuss how one needs to prepare himself for the GDs and a few handy tips for the B-School Group Discussions.
In the Advanc'edge MBA, Chitra Jha correctly and succinctly defines a GD: Group Discussion is simply an informal discussion amongst a group of candidates belonging to the same age-group and possessing similar aptitude (as proven by the CAT). A group generally comprises six to ten candidates, who have the full freedom to discuss their views on a given subject in the manner they please. This exercise gives the examiners an opportunity to assess the personality traits of many candidates within the same time-frame.
The beauty of this unstructured process is that whenever a group of human beings is given a common task within a set time limit, the group dynamics soon finds a leader or leaders. Those who have natural leadership traits in them display their inborn talents and automatically take over as leaders, enabling the selectors to gauge everyone's leadership quotient. Simultaneously, several important personality characteristics of the candidates can be observed when they are engaged in the discussion, and their guard is lowered.
A most common misconception is that you must speak as much as you can and as many times. While it's important that you make yourself heard sufficiently and put forth your point of view across clearly, and if need be, a little forcefully - it would be most imprudent to try and hog all the limelight. Remember at all times that you are not on a podium but on a round table ( mostly invisible!!). Your objective for the GD should be: To put forth your point/s on the GD topic across to everyone else, supported by logical and meaningful reasons for your stand. Also factor in a secondary objective, which if well executed alongwith the main objective can make you a winner - be a good listener, so that you can sieve out points put forward by your colleagues which you can embed into your arguments as further support. Thus, you will manage to increase the circle of influence for yourself and convince the group on your stand.
You may also take note of the following points for a good GD:
1. No amount of tips and suggestions can help you if you do not have a sufficient knowledge base - you must be regulary reading at least one English newspaper and one Business daily. Make sure to read the editorials and columns - while knowledge is essential, the GD is ultimately a place to voice your opinions and back it up with logic. Look at the way the top columnists structure and build up their argument to convince you of their stand.
2. Begin the GD only if you are absolutely sure you have enough reason to do so - remember that you will be immediately noticed - while you will get points for the initiative, it can easily backfire too if you make a fool of yourself.
3. If you can support your arguments with statistics and quotes from influential people, nothing like it. But at no point should you resort to a lie.
4. Listen to others. It helps.
5. You may disagree with a point raised by someone else - but you must counter the point politely and logically. Don't overdo it.
6. Never lose your cool. Never.
In a later post, we will discuss Personal Interviews at length.

1 comment:

sanskruti said...

its really helpfull to improve ur personality as well as communication power