Having cleared the aptitude test, a very important testing parameter standing between you and your dream college is Group Discussion. Recount the stories that you hear from your peers every year about students who had aced the written exam with flying colours and are denied admission to the best colleges because of lacklustre performance in the group discussion round.
Group discussions are an integral part of admission procedure of MBA schools because they judge two important qualities in the aspirants: communication skill and assertiveness. Both of these skills are crucial because a manager needs to be effective in communicating his ideas to his teammates, initiating a discussion and driving it to a productive conclusion.
Since you know that GD is a ‘Make or Break’ factor in getting into your dream college, it should not be taken lightly. Given below are 3 C’s to crack GDs:
#Content: You can be confident in a panel of GD only when you are fully prepared. Performing in GD is not a knack that can be learned in a day or a week or two. It is more of a reflection of an individual’s knowledge and how that person argues, listens and speaks. Unfortunately, becoming more knowledgeable and a better speaker require continuous practice over months. Form a group of fellow MBA aspirants and practice as many mock GDs as possible.
The GDs are based on topics of current affairs, social issues and financial performance concerning the country and the world at large. Watch news and read editorials of any good English newspaper. Do this regularly and you will be more or less, well versed with the current updates.
Apart from that, abstract topics also come in GDs. For example the topic can be ‘point’, ‘blue’ or ’Z to A’. Abstract topics can be interpreted in many ways but the motive for giving such a topic is to see if the panel can reach a consensus and come up with a conclusion. In such a case, relate a real life situation to the abstract topic to strengthen the argument in favour of your interpretation.
Then, contribute on the interpretation to which most of the people in panel agree and drive the discussion to a worthy conclusion. This would show your capacity to be effective in working on other ideas than stubbornly defending your own.
#Conduct: How you conduct yourself in the GD goes long way in determining your success. Apart from the basics of dressing professionally and sitting in a good posture, it is equally important to be a good listener. Listen to your peers in the panel and construct your argument accordingly. Never cut anyone while he/she is speaking and do not be the only person speaking in the room. Give others their fair chance. In case when everyone is speaking over one another do not shy away from making the suggestion of conducting the discussion in a proper manner. You do not have to be the loudest, just loud enough for everyone to hear you. Use hand movements to make your point visible.
#Cues: It is always good to begin a discussion or conclude it. Not that it fetches you more marks but it gives you a chance to direct the discussion in a proper manner. Being the first speaker, you can take the topic of discussion in an area of your comfort and later on you can add more valuable points. Summarising the discussion you can accentuate all the good points made by your peers in the panel and add some comments of your own that you might have missed during the discussion. Keep this in mind that starting or ending a discussion never ensures selection on its own. Even when you are speaking in the middle be assertive and back your arguments rationally and logically. You can always refer to the points of other members in the panel and then elaborate on them. Also, do not let anyone cut you again and again while speaking. Politely ask the person to give you a chance to finish. Give everyone their fair chance but ensure you get heard too.
Most importantly, try to reach a consensus in the GD. Even a handful of good points go a long way in cracking GD. Ultimately it is not about how long you speak but how much you contribute to the topic and come to a productive conclusion.