Group Discussion has evolved across these years and has become a very complex
but Dissected methodology. It is a process wherein people who have been trained
can become really stereotypical in terms of performances. This ensures that it
becomes easy for the Panel to reject more number of people at this stage itself.
For the GD processes under CAT, XAT and other exams (except MAHA-CET), it is the
prime objective for the panel to exercise the Rejection formula correctly.
In earlier times, GD used to be topical and main concentration was on the
content, attitude, and the body language. Content normally included awareness
about the topic and attitude dealt with the tone used during the discussion.
Today, things have changed.
GD has become more of an excercise of Group Dynamics rather than a discussion.
It is a place wherein people are pushed into unknown territories (TOPICS) and
then are expected to find a solution (Discussion). The competencies that are
looked into are - Logical thinking, strategy (for solutions), listening skills,
reactions and proactiveness, verbal communication, etc.
In this chapter, I will tell you about what the Bschools look into when they
make you sit in a GD. It will consist of the Opening including the topic, the
body of the GD and the chemistry that they want the students to have.
Opening a GD:
For many people, being the first person to talk in a GD is imperative. They feel
that it will give them brownie points and that they will be perceived as
Initiators. Nothing can be more foolish if someone without a solid plan in place
attempts to start the GD. He/She will definitely be the first one to be booted
out if the content of the Opening sentences is pathetic.
In case you are not too sure about the topic or are not good in opening a GD,
WAIT for someone to start.
Normally, opening a GD involves these very important things:
1. Define the topic of the GD if there is a need to define it for others
2. Set boundaries/parameters that you may feel will help the GD to be discussed
3. In case you have a story/ incident/ experience for the topic, then start with
4. Creative GD will be started with your interpretation and the supporting
thought process for the interpretation.
Now let us take a few examples and understand what is supposed to be done, and
what is to be avoided:
TOPIC - "Rank the 10 most Significant things that happened in India in the last
GD Preparation Tips - Opener's tips
1. Start by defining the key terms, which in this case are - Significant and
Last century. Defining these two things would give a guiding light to the GD
else everyone would come out with their own version of significance.
2. Set the tone by telling everyone the thumb rule - "bring on one point at a
time and we will freeze it in terms of significance".
3. Remember - YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RANK ALL 10 IN THE STIPULATED TIME.
Many people in the above GD will start of by giving their Top 10. It may be on
the basis of Date, seriousness, religion, politics, etc. This will cause chaos
and the entire group will be eliminated.
TOPIC - "Pink Pyjamas flying high on the Red-Fort"
GD Preparation Tips - Opener's tips
1. In case you don't get the essence of the topic, break down the topic into
parts viz. pink pyjamas / flying high / on the Red fort. Pink pyjamas are worn
by Ladies or gays and since the other part of the sentence doesn't suggest Gay
prrotest, you can eliminate the second guess. Flying high indicates better
status, better recognition, or independance. And lastly, "on the Red Fort"
symbolizes something to do with the political perspective of India. So overall,
the topic can be summed up as - the status or recognition of women in Indian
2. This kind of a topic can have different interpretation, and therefore please
dont close yourself on someone else's idea. This will be very rude and you will come across as someone who doesn't bother to
3. As an Opener, get everyone to discuss and freeze on the meaning so that all
are aware of what they will talk about.
Now, there are situations wherein you face two distinct problems:
1. You don't know the topic but the group knows it.
2. Neither you nor the group knows about the topic.
In the first scenario, it is okay to be quiet for sometime before entering to
say something that will make sense. But what happens in the 2nd scenario? In
situations like these, you have to the most daring thing one can do - ASK for a
change in the Topic before anyone else does. The ignorance will be visible
within 30 seconds of the panel asking you to Start. If you are the one asking
for the Change in topic, chances are that you may be the only one selected.
Body of the GD & the Chemistry inside a discussion:
We all know that a normal GD would have a time-frame of 20-30 minutes. If there
are 10 students sitting in the GD, that translates into 2-3 minutes per person.
This is one of the biggest truths that GD takers forget. The ideal time for you
to talk would be this duration and consider yourself lucky if someone doesn't
speak and you get that extra time as a bonus.
A very big fact that many of us tend to overlook is that during the GD process,
You will only have to ensure that you do your job perfectly. The other members
would be either doing justice to their claims (by performing) or they would be
help your cause (by being a Nuisance value).
So the learning is clear - "Concentrate on your role and your job as a team
person. Forget the rest".
Most of the time, I have found myself telling the IIM aspirants that in case you
are not an aggressive speaker, be the person who would regulate the entire GD
within the group. This means that - in a situation wherein everyone (or some
people) are giving in their solutions or thoughts, you should be busy noting
their points and creating a lateral thinking output that will have a Strategy B
or a Plan B ready for the group.
If you can manage to pitch in with this new angle to the GD, you have won the
Please resist in getting into the normal "my friend", "dear friend", "Sir" etc.
Sentences can begin simply by saying - "I disagree with your point" or "I
completely agree with him" in which case you use a complete hand movement to
show to the group whom you are agreeing/disagreeing with.
Another important observation can be made at this juncture - Remember, the
disagreement is with the Point of view or the Data that you might have provided.
It is NOT personal. In GD topics that are a little emotional like "India should
give away Kashmir to Pakistan", I have seen people getting involved personally
which has ensured their rejections. You are there to
discuss and understand the probability to have a Plan of Action or a solution
coming in from Matured person. Emotions are best left outside the GD room.
Most Business Schools ensure that they pick up those students who have some data
on the topic or related discussions wherein the students can compliment their
point of view or the stand they might take. It is like suggesting the changes
expected in the New Budget - "Finance Minister should reduce the percentage of
cess for young entrepreneurs". I am not happy with only that. Anyone can give me
that. What's so special in you?? Always remember, the essence is not "What to
do?" but actually "How
to do it?". Only then can the Institute understand your thought process. Only
then the Institute can understand if you are creative and also support your
creativity with sound logic.