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By Shubham Sharma

How To Prepare For An MBA Group Discussion?

22nd March, 2019

The Group Discussion round for all MBA aspirants is certainly the most interesting, yet stressful part of the entire admission process. The participants here get to discuss new and interesting topics with people from diverse backgrounds and the judgment parameters aren’t that rigid. At the same time, these topics are randomly selected and the process involves each group to share their thoughts on that particular topic.

mba group discussion table

This dynamic nature of the process makes it challenging to prepare for an MBA group discussion on the basis of regular study methods. Instead, students have to work on a lot of different skills and techniques to make sure that they are prepared for any expected or unexpected turn the discussion might take. Here’s a list of the key parameters to focus on while preparing for this event, along with some MBA GD tips that might make it easier for you to get yourself ready.

Group Discussion Topics for MBA

There are different types of GD topics but most of them fall under one or the other sub categories. For example, most GD Topics for MBA Admission are from topics such as Current Affairs, Business & Economy, Social Issues and even Abstract Topics:

  • GD Topics on Business & Economy: Worldwide trends, government policies and their impact form the crux of these topics.
  • GD Topics on Current Affairs: Topics of national or international importance and issues that are frequently seen in the news.
  • GD topics on Social Issues: Recently, there is a greater emphasis on issues like gender and environment sensitivity, ethics etc in order to develop more socially aware managers.
  • GD Topics on Abstract Topics: These are the topics which have multiple interpretations and candidates can show their creativity and smart thinking. These are the trickiest topics and you need to keep a holistic world view in order to do well here.

Preparation Tips for MBA Group Discussion

mba group discussion prepare

There isn’t any set format when it comes to preparing for an MBA group discussion. The main reason being, that the topics and participants are often chosen at random. All you can do is prepare yourself as best as you can, to face any possible topic the moderators might throw at you. There are quite a few ways you can accomplish this. Here is some information about some of them.

Be Aware of the World

The main purpose of an MBA group discussion is to evaluate your awareness of the world around you. Which is why, in order to prepare for a GD, it is important that you keep yourself up to date about all the latest news and happenings, issues and current affairs, as well as any other events or developments that in any way affect our lives.

How to:

  • Start watching news channels, preferably in English
  • Keep track of trending topics on Google, Twitter, and other platforms.
  • Read up on past and present global conflicts

Open up your Thought Process

The points that you make during an MBA group discussion not only say a lot about what you know but also how you think. Having a rigid thought process can be a negative point against you in this regard. Not only do you appear narrow-minded, but you also give other candidates an opportunity to use that against you. It is important to have an open thought process, so you can modify your argument as and when needed, without losing your credibility.

How to:

  • Listen to and analyze opinions that you don’t agree with
  • Watch documentaries and profiles on different topics and personalities
  • Practice arguing against the point that you want to support

Develop your Reading Habits

Reading is not only the most common method of gaining knowledge but is also an important constituent for getting a strong grasp of grammar and vocabulary. By reading the works of different writers, you get exposed to various writing styles, vocabulary choices and different thought processes. This is a great way to prepare for your MBA group discussion while also broadening your mental horizons at the same time.

How to:

  • Read different types of books to learn about different types of storytelling
  • Follow reputed blogs and websites for new information and interesting point of views
  • Write down tough and/or unknown words to look up in the dictionary later

Develop your Writing Habits

While reading is great for developing your vocabulary, writing is great for learning how to use it. When you write about any topic, you automatically try to pick the best way of representing that topic in the most straightforward way possible. This not only refines your thought process but also gives you a chance to work through any flaws in your group discussion arguments you might not have noticed.

How to:

  • Start keeping a diary and write in it at least once a day
  • Practice writing down your opinions and justifications on different topics
  • Use the thesaurus and another vocabulary to find better ways of expressing yourself

Develop your Speaking Skills

One of the biggest problems for candidates in MBA group discussions is the hesitation to speak in English. Even the best arguments can go down the drain if you fumble during your delivery or get stage fright. So the best MBA GD tip is to make sure to practice your speaking skills. Be sure to give equal time to public speaking as well, since students who are comfortable speaking in private can often have issues with

How to:

  • Practice speaking non-stop about random topics for as long as you can
  • Write down your arguments and practice speaking them out loud
  • Write down and practice with a list of words you generally have difficulty pronouncing

Learn about Body Language

The moderators of an MBA group discussion observe everything about the candidates, not just their words but also their body language. Body gestures can give a clear indication about your state of mind, as well as your reactions to what others are saying. So it is important to know how to read the body language of other participants, as well as know how to stop yourself from portraying negative body expressions. This will help you succeed in your MBA admission.

How to:

  • Try to observe and understand the body language of people around you
  • Read up about common body gestures and what they represent
  • Practice positive body language gestures while talking to people

Prepare common Topics

There are certain popular topics that are often repeated in MBA group discussions, be it for a full-time MBA course or part-time, with only minor changes made to the format of the questions. Topics like terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, liberalization & privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc. are often repeated due to the fact that they remain relevant over the years. You can find these questions by searching online and prepare for them in advance. This can give you a huge boost if one of them is selected and you already know how to approach the discussion.

How to:

  • Search online for topics repeated by top B schools
  • Talk with college alumni to learn about common practices
  • Memorize stats and figures relevant to the topics

Improve your Leadership Skills

MBA group discussions are not just about showcasing your own skills, but also your ability to get others to work and agree with you. Having the correct leadership attitude can go a long way in making sure that your points are taken seriously, and that you can lead the discussion in the correct direction. This can mean helping, motivating, monitoring and even controlling others in a way that keeps the discussion on track.

How to:

  • Practice how to criticize people without sounding negative about it
  • Learn how to acknowledge other people’s point while also making yours
  • Practice how to involve other people in the discussion in a natural way

Do Mock GD Rounds

Mock GD’s are one of the most common ways of improving your performance in MBA group discussions. They are the perfect settings for practising all the skills needed to succeed in a real group discussion. All you need is a few of your friends who are willing to sit with you and help explore different GD topics. By doing so, you will not only become a better speaker but also improve the ability to stay calm during the chaos that real life MBA group discussions can turn into.

How to:

  • Practice how to present both sides of the argument
  • Learn how to give/take a chance to speak to/from others
  • Become a moderator in a few rounds to see what they look for in real GD participants

With these tips, you can easily prepare for your own MBA group discussion and hopefully pass it with flying colours. If you are still a bit uncomfortable about the thought of going through it, then here are a few tips that can help you get through it.

General MBA GD Tips

  • Dress in comfortable clothes
  • Be confident, not over confident
  • Listen carefully
  • Only speak at the appropriate time
  • Only speak if you know what you are talking about
  • Be confident in what you have to say
  • Use easy-to-understand words and phrases
  • Speak clearly, with a focus on correct pronunciation
  • Don’t react to aggressive behaviour
  • Let others make their points
  • Stick to the point that you have made
  • Try to justify your point with solid knowledge
  • Do not let what others say or do distract you
  • Try to be the first and the last person to speak, but don’t force it either

By Shubham Sharma

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