The second phase of your admission process includes Group discussion (GD) and CAT Personal Interview (PI). This is a phase where you cannot prepare yourself beforehand on certain topics like how you did for your written exam and cleared it. You will be given with topics on the spot and are expected to voice out your opinions on it. The GD process requires a lot of wits and presence of mind. Visit CAT group discussion to get well acquainted with the GD.
While the CAT exam is, obviously, an important part of the B-school entrance process, what comes after is no less vital. Group discussion is a key part of the screening process in many top B-schools in India.
“Prepare for group discussion to avoid falling at the last hurdle.”
Though the IIMs replaced GD with Written Ability Test (WAT), GD is still used as an essential criterion for selection. Hence, it is important to prepare well for this step of admission which has a high weightage in the selection criteria. So, let’s take a look at some ways in which you can prepare yourself and clear any GD easily.
CAT Group Discussion Tips:
Here are some tips that might be able to help you crack MBA GD without much stress:
Understand the Need:
Before you make improvements, it’s important to understand why GDs are organized and what purpose do they serve. First and foremost, it is an exercise to gauge a candidate’s communication skills.
Also, topics assigned are on the basis of current affairs to see how aware a candidate is of his surroundings. Lastly, it is also a way of understanding their leadership qualities and interpersonal skills by the way they conduct themselves during the discussion.
Work on your Communication:
More than anything, your performance in GD depends most on your communication. You should have a decent command of the English language and an impressive vocabulary is an added advantage. Having knowledge on the particular topic of discussion will mean nought if you cannot articulate them properly.
To improve your oratory skills, it is vital to practice them on a regular basis. Engaging in discussions with others helps a lot in this regard. Also, focus on reading materials, as they help improve your vocabulary.
Get Yourself Noticed:
With a lot of other aspiring students like you in your group, you must make sure that you get noticed by the panel. Many of the past batch students claim they never got a chance to speak, but no Group discussions give you the mike and ask you to speak. So you must make sure you create chances to voice out your opinions and make sure you give valuable points, so you get noticed and so does your group.
Give out Meaningful Points:
Helping yourself get noticed doesn’t mean frequently talking on or screaming at the top of your lungs. It means you must give valuable and relevant points that are catchy and short to the point. Never talk unless you understand the topic clearly, be polite and avoid using harsh languages such as “I disagree…”, “I strongly think what you say is wrong…” and use statements such as “I beg to differ with you…”, “Pardon me, but I think…”, etc.
Get your Facts Right:
While getting your points across is vital, it will not amount to anything if what you’re saying is meaningless or wrong. Since the topic of discussion is mostly on matters of importance regarding current affairs, it is necessary to keep yourself updated with important matters happening around you.
Important events and policies regarding India and other major countries across the world help in this regard. Also, engage in discussions with others on those matters to have a better understanding of the issues. The best way to focus on this point is to watch the news or read a newspaper on a daily basis.
Good Skills and Body Language:
A basic yet important tip, you must possess good communication skills and body language. Sitting lousily in a chair and giving out points in grammatically wrong ways will only make you look like a clown amongst others. So, sit straight with an air of confidence around you and give out your points from a different perspective to stand aside from the crowd.
While major focus shall be on how well you articulate your facts, moderators also focus on how one responds in a group of people. How well you listen to others and how you react to others words is also an important criterion for judgment.
This includes your understanding of the points put forth by other participants as well as non-verbal clues like the change in body language, etc. Work on this to have a more impressive performance during the actual group discussion.
Even though this may not be as easy to quantify, the way you steer the entire discussion does reflect on your leadership qualities. Importance should be given to the opening and closing statements– if you can make these an added bonus for you; and also to how you are able to correlate the previous speaker’s point to yours (even if you end up contradicting them).
Also, give significant thought to your tone of speech – even if you strongly disagree with a candidate’s point of view. There’s a proper way of expressing disagreement without raising your voice. Learn to be polite and curt (if needed) while expressing disagreement.
“Raising your voice does NOT equate to a strong statement.”
Also, remember your spoken skills are not something which can be improved within weeks. They take significant time; so, it’s important you start working on them early to have a better chance of performing well in your group discussions.
One should also take care of their gestures during the GD to express a positive impression on the moderators. It is always suggested to prepare for group discussion effectively because most of the top management colleges in India still use GD as a shortlisting criterion for the final selections.
GD Topics for CAT:
Predominantly, since it is a commerce-related course, the topics given to you will include usually about politics, our Indian economy, the current affairs, Law and order, education, business, the rural and urban standard of living etc. It is very imperative that you read the newspaper daily and get updated on the current affairs. Citing examples from current issues boosts up your performance.
So, make sure that you are confident about yourself and alert during the GD discussions and are aware of most of the CAT GD topics. Ask around about group discussion topics for MBA students and prepare well. Be who you are and voice out your opinions convincingly and think out of the box to prove your standards and get selected to the succeeding rounds effortlessly. Check the linked page above to know more important topics for GD.
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