COME January, you would have to cross the hurdle called ‘group discussion/ interview’ after you have written the CAT and other MBA entrance exams.
|Some Schools use informal settings as a means to break the ice amongst the participants
How does a GD work?
Most business schools divide the candidates into groups of 5 to 15 members. In some cases a faculty member might be present. In most cases, the faculty observes the students from a vantage point.
In a typical group discussion, a situation or issue — it could be business-related or a more general topic — is provided to the group as a short write-up, and each candidate is given five or ten minutes to read the situation and formulate his/her thoughts or views. Then, the group is asked to discuss the issue for a period ranging from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the group, and preferably come to some conclusions. In some institutions each student is compulsorily offered a minute or two to sum up the proceedings.
What is assessed here?
According to Prof Ravindra Chitoor, Faculty, ISB Hyderabad, through a group discussion, panelists assess if a candidate can really think on his/her feet, formulate views on an issue in a short time, express himself/ herself precisely and clearly, and argue his/ her points persuasively in a group.
The evaluators will also try and observe how each of the candidates behaves in a group - whether the person is willing to listen and take into account other’s view points, his/her body language, and whether the candidate is reasonably considerate and tolerant of others. Articulation and cogency can be developed by aspiring candidates with preparation and practice.
How to prepare?
MYTHS OF GROUP DISCUSSION
Myth 1: Candidates who are smart talkers perform well.
Reality: Candidates perform well because they talk sense and there is sufficient ‘meat’ in what they say.
Myth 2: Academic brilliance equals analytical skills.
Reality: Students with lower academic achievements sometimes demonstrate better capability to relate to practical situations.
Myth 3: Good communication is about speaking a lot, speaking in a stylish accent and using ‘big’ words.
Reality: Good communication is about listening, speaking at the appropriate time, and using easy-to-understand English
Myth 4: Candidates who try to ‘run’ the group and ensure everyone gets a chance to speak etc. Demonstrate great team skills.
Reality:Candidates who work with the group, accommodate diverse viewpoints and assert themselves without aggression score high.
by Charanpreet Singh, Associate Dean, Praxis Business School
With the mushrooming of coaching institutes, tremendous effort goes into preparing the students to grab the initiative with the result that GD becomes a fish market. Prepare in terms of reading up on contemporary issues. Formulate your thoughts and write down arguments cogently. Make it a point to read newspapers and listen to happenings around you.
By all means get trained in the GD process by going for mock sessions. But do not take home any guru mantras. Be yourself is the best guru mantra and the only way to crack the GD.
As Prof Chitoor says, “It does not matter if you forget a long list of prepared questions and answers, if you forget to carry a pencil, pen, eraser and so on — but please do not forget to carry your brains and wits with you and put them to use. That is all you will ever need!
Get tips for a successful GD here....