Importance of Group Discussions During MBA Program
- July 13, 2016
- Posted by: iNurture
- Category: Blogs
Group discussion, which popularly go by the name GD, is a technique of evaluating a student on the basis of his/her personality, eligibility or suitability to fit in an MBA program or job. This has become one of the most important criteria for admission in MBA programs these days. People who conduct these consider it more of an art to evaluate a student on terms of how he/she behaves, participates and works in a group and how much importance they give to each other’s opinions and welcome criticisms. The students however see this as more of a judgemental process and often feel insecure while attending it.
How they are conducted
Group discussions are conducted in a group of 8-10 students. A common topic will be given and a time period of 15-20 minutes will be allocated to build-up and organise your thoughts on the given topic individually. When the time is up, the discussion starts. The discussion takes place in front of a judging panel containing important faculty members from the institute you are applying for who will carefully observe you and mark you on the basis of your performance. It is totally up to them to decide whether your performance was worthy enough to get selected or rejected.
Tips to survive a GD
Normally you are evaluated for the following skills:
Out-of-the-box thinking skills
There are many more skills such as creativity, confidence, knowledge on the topic, behaviour, flexibility, situation handling ability, open-mindedness, clarity in conversation, your attitude, body language and overall personality, which are considered. Hence it is important that you work on your weaknesses and build-up your strengths before even thinking about attending one.
Also being aware of current affairs and happenings all over the world wouldn’t harm you as most of the topics given for the discussion would be based on these factors. Reading newspapers daily, going through important magazines once in a while and tuning into television to watch news and interesting documentaries would be a better way to prepare yourself, before appearing for a GD.
Stay calm and patient throughout the process.
Organise your thoughts on the topic by jotting it down in a piece of paper.
Always keep your contribution straight to the point and in fewer than 30 seconds.
Try to contribute your ideas at least 3-4 times.
You could politely ask for repetition in case you fail to grasp the words of the speaker.
Speak effectively, efficiently and correctly.
Be a good listener and respect what others have to say.
Be humble enough to offer positive gestures and body language.
Ensure flow of communication and offer no room for ambiguity.
In case of disagreement, do it politely and pleasingly.
Always be the one who summarizes and concludes the discussion.
Never over speak, interrupt or argue
Never dominate, embarrass or distract others.
Never lose confidence, be shaky or provide irrelevant data and assumptions.
Never initiate the discussion if it is on an unfamiliar topic.
Why they are conducted
Unlike in an interview, apart from personal skills group skills are evaluated social skills are also important to an organisation especially the one that deals with a professional program like MBA. As an MBA graduate, you will be required to handle and interact with a number of people- both above, below or equal to the level of your designation and these discussions are the stepping stones which determine whether you are worthy or not of being in such a position in life. They ensure that a candidate they have selected has apt analytical and quantitative skills- judged on the basis of written exam scores along with good soft skills- the one factor a GD alone can decide. The idea might be a little crucial but the outcome is however, potently valuable.
Another factor that marks the importance of Group discussions in an MBA program lies in how easy it makes the elimination process happen from the institution’s part. There are noticeably hundreds of applicants each year for MBA admissions and to select the potential candidates out of them will be a hectic task. A group discussion on the other hand makes this task simple by sorting out the worthy from the rest in less than 15 minutes.
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