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Winning objectives for a positive outcome in Group Discussions

Published On: 09 Jan 2013 | Last Updated On: 09 Jan 2013

Done with the MBA entrance exams? Prepare yourself for the next big step-Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI). 

Having cleared presumably one of the most difficult steps to secure an admission in a reputed B-school, do not let inadequate preparation for GD-PI ruin your chances. There have been cases of candidates receiving GD-PI calls from all reputed B-schools but failing to turn them into admission calls. So it is time you draw a strategy to crack the next two stages successfully.

As MBA aspirants, every candidate must be aware that group discussions are stimulated exercise throughout which you will be evaluated by the panel members. Typically groups of 8-10 candidates are given a topic to discuss. Some B-schools may also give the group a specific situation to analyze and discuss within the given time limit (usually 10-15 minutes). As a group you may also be given a case study to find a solution for the problem presented.

When appearing for a GD, your objectives should be:

To comprehend and prepare yourself:

Understand the given topic or situation before you begin. Always carry a pen and paper and write down as many ideas as you can. This will help you through the discussion. Be prepared to talk for and against the topic. If you are not the one to start the discussion and everybody in the group is talking for the topic, then it makes sense to take the alternate approach. Be prepared for counter arguments.

To be noticed:

Remember, in a group the chance to speak is never given. You should know to make your chances. Speak your ideas. Make meaningful contributions and be the one to initiate the discussion. Be assertive. By assertive we don’t mean being arrogant. You should get the group members and the panel members to listen to your ideas. Being mum and just murmuring things that are not audible is unacceptable in the GD.

To make meaningful contribution:

Just talking to be heard must be avoided at all cost. Making just any sort of contribution is not enough. Your contribution has to be meaningful. This would suggest that you have a good knowledge base; you are able to communicate effectively and put forth your arguments logically and do not forget it is the quality of the content that matters not quantity.

To think beyond the obvious:

Highlighting some points that are not obvious will give you an advantage. This will give the discussion a different perspective, which will be appreciated by the panel. But remember to state something related to the topic being debated. The point you highlight should move the group to further discussion. You should be able to take the discussion to a fresh and more relevant direction.

Gaining support or influencing colleagues is the mantra adopted by successful businessmen. What matters is if you made attempts to build a consensus. The reason why an attempt to build a consensus is important is because in most work situations you will have to work with people in a team, accept joint responsibilities and take decisions as a group.

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