Group discussion is an important aspect of the selection process of an MBA course. But what does it analyse and how do
we prepare? By reading the following article, you will understand more about the CAT Exam and GD for MBA admissions.
An all India level national test, the Common Admission Test (CAT) is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). This year (2013) the CAT Exam 2013 held on October and conducted by IIM Indore and the CAT 2014 results are due in January 2014. While the process of admission post the CAT exam results are somewhat known to everyone, it is usually followed by a group discussion and personal interview.
Every institute follows the similar pattern of Group Discussion and Personal Interview. But what exactly is the purpose of the GD and what does it analyse? While the written test checks the reasoning the quantitative and the verbal skills of a candidate, it is not sufficient in order to excel as future managers. One has to have certain attributes in order to excel as a manager. A successful manager is not someone who excels in his or her domain of work but also contributes and excels in making others work. Ability to work, contribute, encourage others to work, team spirit is an absolute necessity to excel in the corporate sector—and these are what GD tests. In a group of 12 people, a topic is given, and all the individuals give their opinions about the same.
Experts are of the opinion that the GD/PI is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of the training and admission process. It is more like a journey – from initial stage in a competition to the final stage. In a GD, some of the qualities that are judged are people skills, interpersonal skills, ability to deal with pressure and of course dealing with a team. How you are able to deal with pressure and how good you are with people—all these are judged in a GD. Attributes like leadership qualities, analytical abilities, interpersonal skills and also rational thought process, sense of discretion are some of the attributes that a GD analyses.
The GD is a process by which a B-School panel measures the depth and the quality of a candidate based on certain parameters such as group behaviour, communication skills and of course people skills. It checks how do you work in a team, how can you keep your cool in times of crisis and how do you overcome such situations. GD is also acts as an elimination round for B-Schools where there is high level competition.
If you are wondering what it that we are discussing is, you should understand that not all GDs are equal. Different B-Schools have different ways of analyzing students’ abilities by using several types of GDs. While some topics are chosen to assess the in-depth knowledge that a candidate has on a particular topic, other topics are thrust upon to assess the lateral thinking ability of the students. There are some GDs that come in the form of short-case study where candidates are asked to analyse a particular situation and then come up with proper responses. Another form of GD is often referred to as Group Exercise.
One is expected to have sound knowledge about several topics and be prepared for any kind of topics—for example sometimes they can give a concrete topic like the current Indian political scenario and sometimes be prepared to face topics like “the future end with an “e” or completely open-ended topics like “Deep Blue is not blue enough.”
So, how do you prepare for a GD? According to experts you should always work towards developing your knowledge
base while focusing on how to improve your communication skills. You should also work towards managing yourself properly during a GD. Read up newspapers on a regular basis, follow current issues diligently. For subjects related to economy, brush up topics like economic policies, FDI, Stock Markets, Capital Convertibility, Inflation and others. However, knowledge itself is not enough; your next step will be to improve your ability to express yourself properly in a public gathering; ensure that when you speak you are heard.
But understand that knowledge itself is not enough; the ability to express yourself with ease and also intelligently counts a lot. Practice on your own by forming a discussion group among your friends; also practice the ability to express with brevity and clarity and also observe the choice of words.
On a last note, avoid speaking in turn as it might lead to a kind of unnatural discussion. Understand that GD is more of a free-flow of ideas among candidates where you share your viewpoints.
If you are able to handle yourself properly and project your thought process with ease, then you are bound to succeed in the process of JD.
About the Author
A skilled writer and an ardent blogger, Sampurna Majumder has been lending her knowhow to prominent websites like Shiksha.com by penning articles and blog posts on popular courses, educational trends and institutes like these. The above post throws light on the importance of group discussion post CAT exam results to take MBA admissions in popular management institutes in India.