Article-Winning Mantra

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COVER STORY

Cover Story
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Group Discussion
The Winning Mantra
Suneel Arora*

Group Discussion—commonly termed GD—is supposed to be just a discussion, but most students misconstrue it to be a debate. It is not the platform where one likes to win and see others lose. But, nowadays, it is commonly compared to a football game where one has to outshine others as well as help one’s team to victory. The skills developed to win the GD game will prove to be an asset even after beginning one’s professional career.

A

group discussion is a methodology used
to gauge whether the candidate possesses
certain personality traits and skills such
as ability to work in a team, reasoning ability,
initiative, leadership, assertiveness, flexibility,
creativity, social skills, listening and articulation
skills, situation handling ability and interpersonal
ability. It is an important stage of the selection
process for admission into B-Schools. The
purpose is to get an idea about candidates in a
short time and assess them about certain skills,
which normally cannot be evaluated in an
interview or written test. As management is
essentially a group activity, working effectively
with groups is perhaps the most important
parameter of career success as a manager.
Nowadays, companies are also accepting it as a
stage in their selection process. Depending on the
kind of profile a candidate has been considered
for, the recruiters will observe the candidate’s
personality traits. In different functional areas
such as marketing, HR or finance and different
types of work such as front office or back office,
one is required to be equipped with different sets
of skills and traits. Every industry, every
organization and every job has its own unique
skill requirements. A candidate has to identify

*

these unique requirements and demonstrate them
within the short span of time during the GD. A GD
is a simulation of what you can expect in a meeting
at your workplace ranging from brand launches
and employee performance appraisals to company
financials.
While attending a group discussion many
questions crop up in a candidate’s mind. Here are
the answers to some possible questions that might
come up.

What Should Be Done at the Beginning of
the GD?
As soon as you occupy a seat, make sure that your
posture is proper. One should sit erect and legs
and hands should be placed properly. The
candidates may be seated in a circle or in a
rectangular arrangement, with or without a table.
Seating arrangements may be planned beforehand
or there may be free seating. If it is free seating, then
choose a place as close to the center as possible.

What Should Be Done
Announcement of the Topic?

after

the

For a topic-based GD, two or three minutes of
thinking time may be given; however, for a case-

Faculty Member, The Icfai Business School, Ahmedabad. The author can be reached at suneel@ibsindia.org

© 2008 The Icfai University Press. All Rights Reserved.
MBA Review 23 March-08

COVER STORY

based topic, about 15 minutes is given. When the
time is given to prepare for the topic, the candidate
should make sure that he/she jots down enough
points to last for the entire duration even if some of
those ideas are taken up by other candidates.
Normally, you are allowed to carry a piece of paper
during the GD for noting down important points,
but there may be instances when it is specifically
forbidden to carry paper. The objective to forbid
carrying papers is to know your mental alertness
and recalling power.

Should One Initiate?
Initiating a GD is a high profit-high loss strategy. It
could be positive as you grab the attention of the
examiner and your fellow candidates, but could go
against the candidate if you stammer, stutter or
quote wrong facts and figures; and this damage
might be irreparable. Role of the initiator is to
provide the basic concept, structure and a flow to...
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