The purpose of a group discussion in the MBA selection process is to evaluate the personality of the candidates in a team environment. They want to see how you approach the MBA Group discussion round and the way you behave around other people. Through this, they get to see your soft skills in action. An MBA group discussion is a test of traits such as communication, listening, assertiveness, decision making, clarity of thought, and the ability to interact with the group. Hence, it is crucial for an MBA aspirant to know all MBA group discussion tips beforehand so that they could develop such traits in them and ace their GD round.
If you want to be an MBA graduate, you must showcase that you have these skills, or at least the potential to develop them through training and feedback. The key thing is to remain positive while displaying your ability to lead the group and discussion. Here are some MBA group discussion tips that can help you do just that.
MBA Group Discussion Duration and Format
Most MBA Group Discussion sessions last for 20-35 minutes depending on the responsiveness of the crowd. The candidates are often divided into the groups of 5-15, and then given instructions about the group discussion. The discussion itself is in the regular GD format of each person presenting their own arguments.
The moderator for an MBA GD is there to observe all your actions and reactions. However, they won’t interfere until absolutely necessary. Once you are assigned the topic, you will be given complete freedom to say and do as you please, until about one to two minutes before the end. At this time, one or two persons from the group will summarize the discussion and leave in a calm and orderly manner.
MBA Group Discussion Tips
1. Understand the Topic
One of the first things to do, after learning the topic is to give yourself enough time to understand the topic and its relevance to an MBA GD. The first impression is the last impression, so make sure not to something completely irrelevant to the topic or scope of the argument, just because you were in a hurry to contribute. It might backfire and cause severe damage to your case.
2. Take the Initiative
While there is no need to hurry, it still pays if you do take the initiative of starting the MBA GD. When you are the first person to speak, you get a chance to pick the direction the discussion will take and gain the first-person advantage by establishing your points and showcase your leadership qualities.
3. Find / Make Opportunities to Speak
The whole purpose of an MBA GD is to see if you can make your voice heard in a crowd. Even if you don’t get to speak first, make sure to try and find an opening to make your point. Everyone else will be looking for the same opportunities, and you will have to be quick about your timing if you want to get a chance to speak.
4. Don’t be Too Aggressive
It may seem that you aren’t getting as many chances to speak as you want. But still, shouting and cutting people off is not an option. It may get your point heard, but the moderators might deduct points for the attitude you display. Aggressive managers often don’t have the loyalty of their employees so this is a trait that monitored heavily during an MBA GD.
5. Be Logical while Structuring Arguments
The way you structure your argument can have a big impact on how it will be received by the audience as well as the moderator of the MBA GD. You need to be logical about picking the way you showcase your opinions and how you justify them. If you pick the wrong tone, people might get stuck up on it and disregard your points entirely.
6. Showcase your Subject Knowledge
A big issue with MBA GD rounds is that students often waste too much time on emotional and abstract arguments. The discussion becomes less about the topic and more about the reactions to the topic. Try to avoid this habit and focus more on showcasing your subject knowledge by making insightful and relevant comments, relating it to your MBA specialization, and supported by facts and statistics.
7. Listening is Important
MBA GD’s by nature are very fluid discussions. You can’t always control the flow of the discussion, so you need to listen to what others are saying. This will let you know if what you are about to say is still relevant to the discussion. You can also take this time to modify your arguments based on what others are saying about your point and theirs as well.
8. Be a Leader
During an MBA GD, it is easy to make your point and spend all your time and energy defending it. But that doesn’t always further the discussion or give others a chance to weigh in. To showcase your value as a manager, you need to learn how to step back and lead the discussion in a decisive manner. This means giving others a chance to make their own points as well as politely keeping them on track.
9. Non-Verbal Communication
Body language says a lot about the atmosphere of the MBA GD, as well as its participants. Also, the secret to crack an MBA GD is to be conscious of how you are exhibiting yourself. It pays to keep track of what kind of non-verbal cues people display and how you can use that to your advantage. You can even use your own body language to communicate and emphasize your points and opinions.
10. Summarize the Discussion
Just like the opening of the argument is important, so is the closing. By being the person to summarize and close the discussion, you get to once again showcase your leadership abilities. You can take this opportunity to once again reinforce your point. You can also make comments about what other people said to show that you were listening and paying attention during the entire time. This way, you get to finish the MBA GD in a position of power.
11. Be Assertive
It is easy to read about these MBA Group Discussion tips and imagine yourself using all of them in real life group discussions. However, there will always be other candidates standing in the way of you accomplishing all of this. So make sure that you remain assertive in the face of their criticism and arguments and try to find a way to disrupt their point without derailing the discussion. Don’t let aggressive behaviour and intimidating tactics keep you from making your presence felt.
12. Focus on Quality, not Quantity
The MBA GD is a long-form discussion that is designed to evaluate the potential of multiple candidates at the same time. This means that not everyone will get the chance to speak too much despite the length of the activity. So make sure that whatever you say should be high on quality. A properly articulated argument will stick in the mind of the moderator more, than the vast quantity of argumentative garbage that most GD participants generally waste their time on.
Hopefully, these MBA Group Discussion tips will help you ace your GD with flying colours. For more information, you can check our other articles on how to prepare yourself for MBA GD.