Quick Tips for GD after CAT 2014 Result
Sreetama Datta, 18 Dec 2014, #CAT
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After appearing for CAT 2014 or the other MBA entrance exams, you are only half way through towards your endeavor to get admission in one of your dream B-schools. While you display your computing, analytical and logical skills in the entrance tests, your soft skills are tested in the next rounds of the selection process, namely Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI).

The first and foremost important is the Group Discussion, commonly known as GD, which is a vital part of the admisison process to the IIM’s and Top B-Schools accepting CAT Scores. Over a past couple of years, the top institutes introduced GD as a parameter to test the communication skills of the shortlisted candidates. Though Group Discussion has been replaced by WAT in several B-schools including IIMs, there are still many management institutes which conduct GD rounds. Hence, along with WAT and PI, you need to prepare for GD as well.

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What to do after
CAT 2014 Results?

As soon as your written exam is over, shift your focus immediately on the preparation for WAT, GD and PI, Goup Discussion being the first step. Enhancing your soft skills or preparing for these three rounds is a continuous process. You cannot just wake up one fine day and decide to start studying to mug up the answers of some common PI questions or GD/WAT topics. Vinayak Kudva, Head, PG India & Mumbai Region, IMS says, “Immediately after the CAT, MBA aspirants should prepare for the entrance tests they plan to take and simultaneously start preparing for the second stage of selection: the GD stage. It is very important not to waste time and energy on thinking about your performance in the CAT and how you might have approached particular problems differently. That is a thing of the past and you cannot change it.”

This article will help you gather information on Group Discussion and PI rounds and the preparation strategy suggested by the experts. Past years’ CAT toppers, who are currently students at top B-schools like IIMs, MDI etc. will share their experience of the final selection procedures.

How to get started with GD

Group Discussion, according to Vinayak Kudva, evaluates personality traits such as clarity of thought, communication including listening skills, ability to critically evaluate and ability to interact in a group. Stating the objective of GD, Kudva mentions, “The objective of a group discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop a perspective. B-schools conduct GDs to find out whether candidates possess the qualities that are critical to become an effective manager. The rationale behind this exercise is that when a group of human beings are given a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation, they will try to accomplish it by establishing some order or structure. In this process, they will reveal some of their personality characteristics.”

 

He also mentions, “Some B-schools organize a case discussion instead of a simple group discussion. A case-study simulates a real-life situation, and instills in you the thought process and action plans to get the best possible solution. There may not be any wrong or perfect solutions to a case study, but there definitely is a best possible solution, which the group is expected to collectively arrive at.”

 

What should be your GD strategy?

 

A. Enhance knowledge and current affairs: You should be abreast of current happenings and issues that have made news over the last one year. The GD topics can range from issues of social importance to issues based on current affairs.  Toney Mathews of IIFT Delhi says, “ before actually appearing in the IIFT GD, I went for 2-3  mock GDs on the latest happenings. It is important to keep yourself  abreast of news regularly, as GD can cover the latest news and related issues as there topic for discussions”.

 

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B. Build opinion on issues: Group Discussion is also a tool for B-schools to assess your thought process. Therefore, while gathering knowledge you should also build opinion which you can justify and defend during your arguments. It helps one win the trust of group members and take lead in the group. Vinayak Kudva, says, “While reading up on news-making events, candidates should consider various aspects and arguments and use their own judgement to decide what their stand should be.”

 

Adding on building the opinions on the issues, Vipasha Bhardwaj from MDI Gurgaon says, “ Do not take any sides during the GD but present your thoughts and opinions in the discussion. Also try to give the GD new directions by contributing fresh ideas related to the topic”.

 

C. Make facts basis of your arguments: Experts suggest that you should bring facts into your argument to make your argument strong and credible. The factual information during your arguments also helps you to frame counter arguments. Harshad Eklahare from JBIMS suggests that arguments must be avoided and the direction of the GD should be followed. “By reading about current events, which helps in stating examples, they draw more attention and help the group reach a consensus. Avoid fish market; in case it happens, be the leader and give direction to the topic”, he says.

 

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D. Enter the discussion at the opportune moment: In the Group Discussions, there are rare possibilities that group members will allow you to speak unless you really make efforts for it. You need to find gaps and enter the discussion while picking a tread of the arguments. Sandeep Manudhane says that a candidate must make it sure that he is able to speak. “My benchmark is clear: in a 20 minute GD, if you can speak for 3 to 4 times making a lot of sense without repeating, and with examples and facts, and 30 to 50 seconds each times, you've made it,” he says.

 

Sombit Roy from IIT Delhi explains the process of participating in a GD and the right moment when to step in and grasp the opportunate moment. He says, “I first wrote down my points and then when the GD began I started to make note of what others were speaking, if anything relevant or useful. I tried to get into the GD but it was difficult as it was a complete fish market. But I waited and finally made my point when I got a chance to speak just after the fish market. After the choas there is generally few minutes of peace and I took the opportunity to make my point at that moment”.

 

E. Structure your argument: In a GD, you should follow a structured approach while presenting your thoughts. Experts suggest that you should be able to present your understanding of the topic and communicate your opinion on it. Thereafter, you should be backing your opinion with arguments that are supported with facts and data. Sharing her insights on structuring the entire argument of a GD, Arunika Ganguly from SP Jain says, “The questions asked in GI required a lot of clarity of thought as some of them were about justifying my answers in the psychometric test. It could potentially be difficult if one is unable to explain why they have ticked a particular option. Questions needed to be answered with a clear objective and one had to make sure not to get stucked into one’s own argument. I did not face much difficulty as I was clear about why I had chosen a particular option”.
 

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F. Be a Team Player: During your Group discussion, you should always exhibit that you are a team player. In some cases, your opinion and argument might be very strong about the GD topic; still you should accommodate thoughts of other members in the group. Even when you don’t agree with a particular argument, you should be able to accommodate that argument in the course of discussion. This brings out your ability to work in a team, which is key to be a successful manager.

 

A Few GD Topics in IIM’s and B-School

Though the GD topics asked in the IIM’s and Top B-School’s can vary across field but look for controversial or debatable topics which could go either way. You will probably be given a topic which are related to the latest happenings around the world be it related to Economics, Technology, National News or other debatable issues. Based on the CAT Toppers inputs below are a few Group Discussion topics which were given to the students in IIM’s and other B-schools,

  1. Inflation or Corruption: which is more important?- MDI Gurgaon

  2. Smartphones- boon or bane- MDI Gurgaon

  3. Are smaller states easier to govern

  4. Juveniles who committed serious crimes should be tried as adults or not- JBIMS Mumbai

  5. How to market PCs to convince the consumer to buy them over laptops and tablets- IIT Delhi

  6. Are women in positions of power more aggressive than men in the same positions?- IIM Rohtak

  7. MOOC will soon replace the traditional method of classroom teaching system- IIM Rohtak

  8. Eminent sportsperson will turn out to be good coaches as well- IIFT Delhi

  9. Should referendum be used as a method to take important strategic decisions.- IIFT Delhi

  10. Is management education really necessary to succeed in business- IIM

 

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

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rishabh5978@gmail.com 5th Dec, 2019

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