To be the best, you need to be at the best! Several lakh students appear for various MBA/PGDM entrance tests all over the country, and a few thousand qualify for the Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI) rounds. Students who can’t get past this human interaction phase, are often unable to understand what went wrong! Easy though it sounds, all aspirants need to prepare for both, GD and PI.
A group discussion is a method of assessing an aspirant’s personality. Although, few institutes are replacing GD with WAT (Written Ability Test), GDs are still not obsolete. Most of the B-schools still bank heavily on GD for its selection process and rightly so. It is considered to be a reliable tool to assess the worthiness of an aspirant for an MBA/PGDM course. A GD helps the evaluator to check the following in an aspirant
- Behavior of the aspirant
- Participation in the group
- Contribution in the group
- An aspirant’s ability to listen
- How much importance does he/she give to the group’s objectives
- Ability to work with criticism
- Awareness and articulation
How is a GD conducted?
For a GD, 8 to 12 aspirants are placed in a group for a limited period of time to discuss a topic. The students are made to sit in a circle to enable them to see each other and express themselves freely. GD topics are usually open and can be interpreted in many ways. Usually, the topic will have two distinct viewpoints. Topics could be of various types:
- For e.g., Privatization of higher education in the country, MBA in India sets high expectations
- E.g., Religion politics in India, Guarding our borders
- E.g., Birds of the same feather flock together, Natural numbers
- Current issues. E.g., Social Media is an effective marketing tool, Modi Governance is Good Governance
- Case study. E.g., The participants are given a situation and its problems and then they are asked to provide solutions.
- E.g., Women can be safe only if they take their own responsibility, Love marriage or arranged marriage?
- If you don’t know the topic: Be quiet for a while, listen to the other candidates, pick up information, form an opinion and then put it forth. Draw on your experiences from similar situations.
- You may not be as assertive as the rest of the group: It is not necessary to shout to be heard in a GD. You may enter the discussion by first agreeing with the bully and then presenting your opinion. It is important to remember that you don’t have to speak for too long, what matters in the content.
A personal interview (PI) is the last step of the session and the most crucial one at that. For leading B-schools, a PI is almost imperative and is quite a sacrosanct process. A PI is aimed at evaluating:
- Communication skills of the candidate
- His/her knowledge of the subject
- It is important that the responses be coherent and systematic. There is no point in bluffing in a PI, the interviewer is an experienced professional and will see through quickly. Your knowledge is the only help here as well as the following behavior:
- Try be positive, always. You may choose to disagree with something during a PI but make sure you have a solution to the problem and don’t sound like a problem maker.
- Be confident
- Listen carefully and patiently
The success of PI session banks on your Attitude and Knowledge. There is no other way to tackle it.
This article is powered by VJIM Hyderabad for management aspirants who are looking forward to make it to reputed B-schools of the country. To know more about VJIM, Hyderabad, you may visit: www.vjim.edu.in. Admissions open for PGDM, Class 2015-2017.