How to ace a Group Discussion for MBA admissions

A healthy group discussion on assigned topics among 8-12 candidates in 15-20 minutes must involve a strong exchange of opinions with rational and thoughtful arguments. A group discussion tests your leadership qualities, knowledge and communication skills. Generally, given the high level of competition, one or two aspirants are selected while the others get eliminated either due to their careless mistakes or due to lack of preparation and knowledge about group discussions.

How to get selected in a Group Discussion

The thumb rule to emerge as a winner in a Group Discussion is that you must have a grasp on what you speak. Equally important is that you appear confident and are audible during the course of discussion. There is little chance to get selected if you simply follow the ideas of another speaker without adding any value.

Proposing an argument in a Group Discussion

When beginning a discussion or proposing an argument, it is pertinent that you have utmost clarity and structure in your thoughts and communication. Confidence and personality helps but the essential winning aspects are your intelligence, thought process and command over the language.
Once you have finished proposing your argument, you must end with a question. The candidate who opts to answer your question will look at you while answering, giving you an opportunity to intervene and dominate the discussion.


How to enter a Group Discussion

An aspect crucial to your selection is knowing when and how to enter a group discussion. Most candidates either wait too long to enter a discussion or get manipulated by others into silence. In a 12-15 minute group discussion with 8-12 peers, if you manage to speak for 2-4 minutes adding significant value to the discussion, you could have a good shot at selection. Check out some of the ways to enter a GD successfully below.

Enter with a supportive statement

While you may not agree with another aspirant's opinions, and may want to interject and contradict his viewpoint, it is smarter to support another candidate's points using effective transitional phrases such as 'I agree with what he says...' or 'I would like to add..'', etc, and then logically proceed with you argument.

Enter by increasing volume

Raising your voice is the most popular way to enter a GD. However, it is recommended only if you have rational arguments, clarity and knowledge of the subject. At any point, it shouldn't come across as shouting.

Enter when the noise level decreases

The perfect moment to be noticed is when the voice levels have reduced. However, do not wait for long. If some minutes have passed without any decrease in the noise, you’ll have to barge your way in.

Enter by asking a question

Asking questions gives you an opportunity to attract the attention of the group. After you do that, you can add your inputs, and ask follow up questions.

Enter after a person has concluded

It is pertinent to make interjections at the right moment. It is quite rare that a candidate allows a chance for anyone to speak before making their points. However, if you enter after they have concluded their points, you'd have a greater chance of success.


General tips to practice during a GD

  • Be positive
  • Maintain an erect posture and keep calm
  • Be assertive, but not aggressive
  • Try to initiate GD at right points and only if you have adequate knowledge on the subject
  • Ensure participation with appropriate content and build arguments with facts and figures
  • Be sensible and always deliver relevant speech
  • Try to use simple words and speak politely
  • While speaking always maintain eye contact
  • Listen patiently when others are speaking and never interrupt others speech
  • Do not stare at judges during your speech
  • Do not lose your temper
  • Keep a logical approach during GD


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