a letter to a friend, Ben Fralnkiln wrote in 1789:
" In this world nothing is certain but death and
taxes." If Franklin were to look at contemporary
life, he would probably amend his statement to include
group discussion. Groups run our democratic society.
Groups run industry, government, even the educational
enterprises. In fact in almost every activity of the
modern day man, there is one form of group discussion
are as inevitable as death or taxes, they are bound to
be as popular as well.
It is because of this growing reliance on group
activity that group discussion has taken so much
importance and is even uses as a selection criteria
for admission to business schools and professional
organisations. The examiners want to test how
effectively are individual is able to participate in a
group, how he contributes towards group objectives,
how much importance he gives to group objectives vis a
vis his own, how well does he listen to other's points
of view and how open-minded he is towards accepting
is therefore essential that we all know how to size up
a group, how to discover what a group might
accomplish, how to talk in ways that might influence
others, and how to resolve (and not avoid) conflicts
that sometimes impede groups.
how to be productive in a group can give your career a
valuable boost, as it is basic to succeeding in our
society. It is true that Group Discussion is as
inevitable as death and taxes, but neither is it as
final as death nor as painful as taxes. In fact, it
may be one inevitability that people may enjoy and
about skills can be done by reading literature on
group discussions. However, learning alone does not
guarantee success in executing these skills. In
addition to reading literature, by participating in
simulated exercises and by observing others, one can
develop one's own style. Listening to criticism will
enable one to correct one's errors and learn more
effective ways of behaviour.
some of the IIM's do not mention it specifically in
their call letters, the IIM interview is preceded by a
group discussion. The numbers of participants vary
from 12 to 15, depending on the number of absentees.
There are, normally, 2 observers. Before announcing
the topic, one of the observers may ask the group
members to introduce themselves. So, do be ready with
what to say by way of introducing yourself.
am Sabeer Bhatia. I work with Campusrox.com as a
am Jerry Wang. I am a final year student of economics'
it short, but clear. Do not add your interests and
achievements unless the observer has asked you to do
so. You would do well to keep ready a brisk 2 or 3
sentences to cover these, though.
this ritual is over, the observers will announces his
topic, Sometimes he may give about 5 minutes time for
you to arrange your ideas. Do not waste this time in
gaping blankly at others; employ it in anticipating
the nature of the discussions that will follow. Decide
on which side you are. What are the main points you
should make? Could you open the discussion convincing?
Or, would you rather be the second one to speak?
in place of a general discussion topic, a management
situation (case study) may be given for discussion.
These 5 years IIM (A) has used for group discussion
case studies such as are given in Chapter 2 of this
Note. At the Bajaj institute they often use the themes
of R.K.Laxmanís cartoons (You said it) for
initiating group discussions. (The IIM (A) also asks
you to prepare a written summary of the discussions
after the discussion is over).
we have sent you a list of popular discussion topics.
Most of those have, at one time or another figured in
the discussions of past years; they may be used again,
In addition, this note contains a list of some more
topics asked in the last few years. You would do well
to remember that knowing the main points of the topics
is of utmost importance to you. Work methodically on
all the topics listed, and try to identify the points
on both the sides of the issue-not only the point of
view you feel partial to, but the other side as well.
This practice will prepare you adequately to counter
the arguments of the opposite camp.
of you who would like to gather important statistics
(to be uses sparingly in discussion) would do well to
take their figure either from the statistical Handbook
of India (TATA Economic Consultancy Services) or from
the Times of India Directory. These are considered
authoritative and up to date.
to the topics, we sent you, will have marked, having
nothing controversial about them, In the discussions
of these topics the originality of your contribution
is most important.
discussion lasts for about 15-25 minutes. Sometimes,
after the discussion you are given a piece of paper to
write down in5 minutes, the summary of the discussion
you had. What is intended to be found out is mainly,
your listening ability- whether you took note of all
the points, for and against, that came up during
discussion, and the consensus (if any) that may have
emerged. The sample of the Group Discussion Evaluation
Sheet, given at the end of this note will give you a
fair, idea of how your performances will be judged. Do
look up Chapter 4 of this note for some. Do's and
Don'ts of the GDs.