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Tips to Ace Group Discussion in IIMs

Last Updated - September 12, 2017

Group Discussion (GD) is a group activity carried by 8 to 10 members before the final selection of a candidate. GD is one of the important phases of a CAT selection process. It is conducted to exchange the thoughts and ideas among the members of the group on a particular subject. GD is the best way to select the prospective candidates in a comparative perspective and is a useful tool to screen the candidate’s potential as well as their skills. 

  • Groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group and are given a specific Group Discussion topic to analyze and discuss within a given time limit. 
  • Time limit for a GD ranges from 12-15 minutes. 
  • As it is an interactive form of assessment, a candidate must pay a lot of attention for the preparation of this round.
  • A candidate will be judged majorly on the basis of your vision, and his/her potential for making decisions on any particular topic that will be designed to a candidate.  
  • The only difference between most other GDs and the GDs conducted by the IIMs after CAT or other top B Schools is the intensity of the competition.

How is Group Discussion Conducted?

Usually, groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group and are given a specific topic to analyze and discuss within a given time limit. The time limit to discuss group discussion topics ranges from 12-15 minutes.

  • The group may be given a topic and asked to discuss on the same and each candidate needs to present their views on a given group discussion topic.
  • A panel will observe the proceedings and evaluate the members on their views.

Why is Group Discussion Important in MBA Admissions?

Group discussion is given importance because it helps to evaluate a candidate. GD, in fact, is a selection as well as elimination round before the final selection for the admission in B-school. It is important as it helps in:

  • Understanding a candidate's interpersonal skills.
  • Identifying if a candidate has the ability to work in a team.
  • Understanding one's attitude. 

7 Effective Do’s to Win GD for MBA Admission

To develop communication skills, you can choose a topic, stand before the mirror and start talking about it. apart from practicing in front of the mirror, one must also follow GD preparation tips as well as PI preparation tips, which will be the next round after GD. 

  1. Always Take a Positive Stand

Your criticism should suggest how to overcome the problem. The presentation must have a clear and coherent flow of ideas with the support of facts and figures at least to some extent.

  1. Be Confident

If you are confident enough, you can take the lead, speak a minute or two and then take more clues from others put forward your analysis of problem/situation. This will give you an edge. More confident you are, more chances of selection await you.

  1. Be a Good Listener

A future manager must not only be a convincing speaker but also a good analyst of the situation. Hence, it is judged whether you can listen to others attentively and put forward your views when the person in front you have spoken or you don’t even allow them to speak.

  1. Test of Your Behaviour and Vision

If you shout on others– you may not be a good option to be offered a managerial position in future. If you are a broad-minded person then you will welcome others’ ideas OR after listening to them may politely but firmly place your viewpoint why they are not so beneficial.

  1. Good Knowledge

When you begin speaking, your quotes, facts, figures coherent delivery of ideas, let them become the measuring points of subject knowledge and outstanding personality.

  1. Understand the Topic

First, understand the topic and then decide whether it will be fine to speak for or against the topic. Of course, putting forward the points to make the delivery quite effective. It is suggested to go through the newspapers, watch TV news & discussions apart from reading important periodicals regularly to broaden the vision and form your viewpoint on important issues.

  1. Speak Sensibly

You don’t have to keep speaking just to increase the time of your speaking. Your thoughts should always be very sensible and relevant and even if you are speaking very little, there is no need to worry too much about it as far as you are making sense in what you are saying. Maximize your speaking time and do what you think is right!


List of Skills to Adapt for a GD

A Group Discussion checks how a candidate behaves, participates and contributes in a group. It also judges how much importance a candidate gives to the group objective as well as ones own, how well do you listen to viewpoints of others and how open-minded a candidate is in accepting views contrary to your own.

Major aspects which make up a GD are verbal communication, non-verbal behavior, and conformation to norms, decision-making ability, and cooperation. One must try to be as true as possible to these aspects. Given below are a few more aspects which a candidate should work on while preparing for GD in order to clear it:

  • How good you are at communication with others.
  • How you behave and interact with the group.
  • How open minded are you?
  • Your listening skills.
  • How you put forward your views.
  • Your leadership and decision-making skills.
  • Your analysis skill and subject knowledge.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skill.
  • Your attitude and confidence.

How to Prepare for GD?

Below are jotted down some details you need to follow to ace yourself in preparing for GD.

Rigorous Reading:

Newspaper reading every day will help you in being updated with the current affairs is essential as most of the Group Discussion topics are picked up from news and updates from the business sector. The more you read the broader your vision and understanding of issues will become. 

Conversation Skills:

You should learn to speak English to enhance your vocal skills so that you don’t feel hesitant while speaking on the final day. It will also enhance your ability to express.

Practice Groups:

You can practice GD with your seniors, fellow applicants or friends who had appeared or will be appearing for GD, there are various coaching institutes that take GD sessions where you can develop your skills for group discussion.

Dress up Properly:

How you dress among the judges could really make or break the situation. There is no need to take things casually. You have to dress formally. Make sure your shoes are clean and clothes well ironed. Your body language should be good and make sure to smell fresh that day.

There is no need to go into details:

There is no need for you to go into the details. Keep things short and simple! Always remember that you don’t have all the time in the world so you don’t have to be all that analytic. Just keep things simple and to the point. There are ways to convey your thoughts and you can always do it in a way that is simple and straightforward. There is no way to keep things complex. Otherwise, it would become too boring for the person to hear.

TIP: We think cracking the MBA exam and scoring a high percentile is the most difficult part. But surprisingly, that is not so. At the time of GD or PI or even WAT, your individual performance comes to play. This is where you need to shine, no, over-shine others. So, the trick is, not to be opulent, but be direct and honest. Good Luck!


Common Group Discussion Topics

Given below is a list of common Group Discussion Topics topics which have previously been analyzed upon in the GD rounds at IIMs. These topics are related to Business/Economy, Social Issues, Current Affairs, and International Current Affairs. 

  1. National Anthem to be played in cinema halls
  2. Social drinking is okay
  3. Marxism is still relevant in the globalized economy
  4. India's growth rate is bridging gap between rich and poor
  5. IT revolution has done more harm than good to India
  6. In India, students graduating from college should serve two years in army
  7. The threat of violence is necessary for peace and harmony
  8. Economics liberation has helped only rich people to become richer
  9. Should media have freedom of expression
  10. Impact of globalization on environment
  11. The IT boom and the growing pressure on Indian cities because of it
  12. Cyberspace-Different personalities and how it affects us?

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