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Thursday, April 22, 2010

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Preparing for the Group Discussion in the IIM admission process involves increasing your knowledge base and training yourself to behave in an appropriate manner for the 30 to 45 minutes it lasts

PRACTICE SESSION: If you have problems talking in groups, attend as many mock GDs aspossible. 

The all-important stage one of the admission process to the Indian Institutes of Management is now behind us, at least for most of us. Those who are done with the Common Admission Test, and feel they have a serious chance of receiving a call letter to enter the second level, have to start preparing for it. As veterans who have cracked the CAT and entered the IIMs will tell you, there is no time to lose.

Stage two of the IIM admission process involves two rounds, namely Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI). Each IIM conducts these separately in multiple locations in March and April. The institutes judge students by different sets of parameters often listed on their individual websites. The best way to understand the process is to surf the Internet for information. Websites and discussion forums such as offer a repository of knowledge where students from IIMs and experts give opinions and answer questions of aspirants. These discussion threads offer a fair insight into what to expect, and what direction to take in your preparation.

Preparing for the Group Discussion involves increasing your knowledge base and training yourself to behave in an appropriate manner for the 30 to 45 minutes the GD lasts. The recruitment team will be assessing you to see if you have the required skill-set to succeed as a manager. These include leadership, listening and articulation skills, situation handing and interpersonal ability.

How do I prepare for the Group Discussion round?

Focus on expanding your knowledge base. Watch the news, read newspapers and magazines. You should read columns in newspapers and magazines to form and express opinions without seeming too opinionated. What you say at the GD is paramount, everything else is secondary. There is always the possibility of you not possessing in-depth knowledge of the topic. In the time provided, list all the points you know about the topic. Even if you have one good point, start the discussion. If you do not know anything about the topic, listen carefully to what the others are saying. Try to analyse what the others are saying and speak intelligently. It is better to say something — even if it is repetitive — rather than sit quietly.

How should I behave?

Almost all how-to manuals will tell you to be assertive. Students tend to forget that assertiveness is on the borderline of aggressiveness. People who shout, use a lot of gestures like pointing fingers, banging the desk etc., do not listen to what others are saying or interrupt others while they are talking, react too emotionally to the discussion or are too quiet will lose valuable marks. You should try to get your points across logically and clearly while allowing others to speak too.

What do I do if I am shy?

If you have problems talking in groups, attend as many mock GDs as possible. In order to overcome your fear, set a target for the number of times you will talk in the GD, say, five times. Focus on saying something intelligent those five times. You will find that this will be more than sufficient. As you attend more mock GDs, your confidence will increase and you can reset your target. The IIMs, like all business schools, value diversity. While all the students don't have to be equally assertive, the recruitment team wants to evaluate whether you can add value to your team by participating intelligently.

What should I do if the GD becomes chaotic?

You should try to get the situation under control in a calm and logical manner. Even if you do not succeed, your efforts will be noticed and rewarded for your ability to stay calm and work under pressure.

Source : The Hindu

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