Group Discussion is a process where exchange of ideas and opinions are debated upon. This process is mostly used for selecting candidates for admission to management schools basically for MBA.
Group Discussion occurs any time three or more people meet to solve a common problem, arrive at a decision, or answer a question of mutual interest. The idea of cooperation is basic to discussion. It means that the members of the group must share a desire to achieve a common goal. They may not all wish to achieve that goal in exactly the same way, but they must be willing to devote their energies to reaching a group solution, rather than promoting their own individual agendas, solutions, or opinions. This does not mean that there won't be differences of opinion in the group discussion; rather it means that each member must enter the group with an open mind, genuinely prepared to listen as well as to argue.
Group Discussion is generally divided into two main categories, topic based and case-study based.
Topic based GD
In a topic-based group discussion either one topic of any type- knowledge-based, controversial, opinion-seeking or abstract- is given or multiple topics of the same nature are given. Where a single topic is given, the candidates start discussion after composing their ideas. Where multiple topics (2-3 in number) are given, the candidates are expected to arrive at a topic through consensus or majority votes depending on the outcome the group.
Knowledge-based topics: Here, you require in depth information about the topic been given to you. You should be able to support it with facts and figures and your information should be substantial. Some of the examples of such topics are, Unique Identification Number, Cold War, Is terrorism the price we have to pay for democracy?, Globalisation and Privatization, Is Mixed Economy preferred?, MBA or PGDM?
Abstract topics: Abstract topics are about intangible things. These topics are not given often for discussion, but their possibility cannot be ruled out. These topics test your lateral thinking and creativity. Some of the examples of such topics are, A is an alphabet, Twinkle twinkle little star, The number 10, A Walk to Remember, Six Billion and One Gold.
Controversial topics: Controversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. They are meant to generate controversy. In GDs where these topics are given for discussion, the noise level is usually high, there may be tempers flying. The idea behind giving a topic like this is to see how much maturity the candidate is displaying by keeping his temper in check, by rationally and logically arguing his point of view without getting personal and emotional. Some of the examples of such topics are, Reservations should be removed, Women make better manager, Quota System should be Abolished, Politics in India.
Opinion-seeking topics: In such topics, candidates are asked to put across their opinions, their point of views. The panelists look for presentation skills when given such topics and also your ability to work in a team. Examples are, Women – boon to the society or bane to the society, Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage, Nuclear Family or Joint Family.
Case-study based GD
The case study tries to simulate a real-life situation. Information about the situation will be given to you and you would be asked as a group to resolve the situation. In the case study there are no incorrect answers or perfect solutions. The objective in the case study is to get you to think about the situation from various angles. Here evaluators look for your analytical skills as well as task. No problem has a single solution, so think of different alternatives and go for the best one.
Topics given during this type of discussion are more management related, for example: the panelists might give you a situation which could be a conversation/argument between an employee and the boss etc.