CAT 2006, Top Management Institutes Selection: Group Discussion, Personal Interview in Business Schools
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IIM Group Discussion (GD) - Skills Evaluated

Group discussion is an important dimension of the selection process. Any institute requires students to work with others for effective functioning. Therefore, people skills are an important aspect of any MBA program.

In today's context, the educational institutes and organizations are interested in team players rather than individual contributors. During the Group Discussion, the panel essentially evaluates the candidate's potential to be a leader and also his/her ability to work in teams. Remember that institutes are typically on the look out for candidates who will inspire to lead and succeed and for that you need to be a good team player.

Here is a sample list of skills assessed during a group discussion:

Leadership skills:
Ability to take leadership roles and ability to lead, inspire and carry the team along to help them achieve group's objectives.
Example: To be able to initiate the group discussion, or to be able to guide the group especially when the discussion begins losing relevance or try to encourage all members to participate in the discussion.

Communication skills:
The participating candidates will be assessed in terms of clarity of thought, expression and aptness of language. One key aspect is listening. It indicates a willingness to accommodate others views.
Example: To be able to use simple language and explain concepts clearly so that it is easily understood by all. You actually get negative marks for using esoteric jargons in an attempt to show-off your knowledge.

Interpersonal skills:
Is reflected in the ability of the individual to interact with other members of the group in a brief situation. Emotional maturity and balance promotes good interpersonal relationships. The person has to be more people centric and less self-centered.
Example: To remain cool even when someone provokes you with personal comment, ability to remain objective, ability to empathize, non-threatening and more of a team player.

Persuasive skills:
Ability to analyze and persuade others to see the problem from multiple perspectives without hurting the group members.
Example: While appreciating someone else's point of view, you should be able to effectively communicate your view without overtly hurting the other person.

Problem solving skills:
Ability to come out with divergent and offbeat solutions and use one's own creativity.
Example: While thinking of solutions, don't be afraid to think of novel solutions. This is a high- risk high-return strategy.

Conceptualizing skills:
The ability to grasp the situation, take it from the day to day mundane problem level and apply it to a macro level.
Example: At the end of the discussion, you could probably summarize the findings in a few sentences that present the overall perspective.

Don't be disheartened if you did not do well in your first group discussion. The best possible preparation for a group discussion is to learn from one's past mistakes...

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