Loads of Reference material for GD and PI !!


Kartik Raichura
Staff member
This section is divided into many parts and change in subject can be noticed by change in colour ..

Here we look at why GD and PI are conducted

Group Discussion (GD) is a logical extension of the admission tests to assess a candidate’s overall personality. His/her in-depth understanding of the topic, self-confidence, attitude (rigid or flexible temperament) and initiatives in the discussion, presence of mind in crisis management and speaking etiquette are on test.

The strength of a group usually varies between eight and twelve. Unlike the candidates in the written test the group here is homogeneous in terms of proficiency level, since they have crossed the first hurdle, the written test.

A candidate has to discuss a general topic ranging from socio-economic to political issues in about 20 to 25 minutes to amicably conclude the discussion. One’s success essentially hinges on how effectively he or she communicates to deal with the most complex thing in this world i.e., human relationship. One must accentuate the stronger points and abandon the weaker sections. Self-knowledge, rigorous and sustained practice coupled with awareness of non-verbal skills will lead to a winning performance.

Our body expresses many different emotions subconsciously. If a speaker is immensely interested in the subject, truly believes in what is said, and honestly wants to share views with others, the speaker’s physical movements will be naturally spontaneous and appropriate to what is said. Body language has a direct influence on the responses elicited from those around. Therefore, the speaker must be aware of the importance of body language to ensure that there should not be any mismatch with the verbal communication.

Remember "GD" is often undermined by lack of preparation. One should be regularly in touch with national and international current events, debates programs on TV channels, articles and editorials in dailies, magazines and news portals to accumulate one’s knowledge and consolidate one’s views on everything happening around. Unflinching faith, strong commitment and solid implementation plan will see one through the group discussion.

An interview , on the other hand is an assessment of individual personality. This assessment is very crucial and vital for an institution, which is going to offer careers to prospective candidates. It needs to know what exactly a candidate is, i.e., his/her disposition, attitude, interests, personality traits etc.

The written exam is a process of elimination. The interview, on the other hand, is a process of selection. A candidate’s propensity to respond positively in any given situation, his/her ability to rise to any occasion, clarity regarding career objective, are gauged.

It is a test at personal and personality levels. An interview either makes or mars one’s career unless handled discreetly. It tests how well equipped a candidate is with important skills such as communication, conceptual knowledge, and general awareness. A candidate’s enthusiasm and optimism carry weightage, for they are sure signs of confidence and zeal in the chosen field. An interviewer always looks for traits such as how a candidate demonstrates his/her temperament, what are his/her priorities, how resolute he/she is. On the basis of these traits a candidate is evaluated. The finer sensibilities like- responsiveness, receptivity are also judged during an interview. Openness and adaptability are also important aspects of a candidate. An interview aims at bringing out these facets of an individual.

The top management institutes call more students for GDs/Interivews than the number of seats they have. The number of students called for GDs/Interviews even by the IIMs is THREE to FOUR times the number of seats they have. For some of the other institutes, this ratio is more unfavourable to you.

At this stage the competition is cut-throat and very intense as the students are judged on their ability to communicate their view point coherently and effectively on a wide range of subjects and current issues.

So, your chances even at this stage are not something you can take for granted. It is not time for you to sit back and preen yourself for your achievement.

It is time for you to get cracking with your preparation for your GDs/Interviews.

Given the kind of competition students face, it is imperative that they prepare thoroughly for this stage leaving absolutely nothing to chance.

How is an Interview conducted?

Interview is conducted in one of the following ways:

One to one: Where only one interviewer conducts the interview. This kind of interview has an edge over the second way of interview. A candidate feels more at ease and can embark upon the questions without much nervousness or pressure.

Panel Interviews: A group of interviewers, who are experts in specific areas, are on the panel to interview the candidate. This kind of interview can be termed as a ‘stress interview’ because the candidate is under tremendous stress facing questions from all directions. There is more scope for the members of the panel to observe the body language, facial expressions etc. at close quarters. At times this can make a candidate feel uneasy. Such uncomfortable situations should not put off the candidate; in fact a candidate should feel more enthusiastic to prove his/her mettle.

What is judged during an interview?

An interview is the ultimate test of a candidate’s worth and knowledge. A candidate’s personality traits, communication skills, confidence and competence levels, convincing and conveying ability, comprehension level, keenness, perception and awareness are put to a rigorous test. To emerge as a successful candidate it is important to do a bit of homework before facing the interview panel. Understand clearly the dos and don’ts while facing an interview. A judicious use of words and expression yields a better result, for the panel continuously tries to assess one's ability to grasp quickly and convey it effectively in a precise manner.

How to prepare for the interview?

Knowledge is tested at different levels and one needs to be thorough in his/ her area of interest and study. General awareness is an important component of an interview.

Dress Code:

A formal dress is the most appropriate for attending an interview. A casual dress, most of the times, indicates ‘not a committed or serious’ attitude. An appropriate dress code reflects a candidate’s attitude towards the interview that he/she is attending.

Personality Assessment

Group Discussion (GD) Evaluates

Communication - Clarity and Presentation (Articulation)
Listening skills
Quality of Content (Knowledge)
Team membership (Interpersonal Skills)
Ability to influence (Leadership)

Personal Interview Evaluates:

Strengths and Weaknesses
Career Objectives
Academic Performance
Communication skills
Areas of interest

Tips on interviews and Group Discussions

1. In a group discussion what should my objectives be and how should I achieve them?

2. Is it wise to take a strong stand either in favour or against the topic right at the start of a Group Discussion ?

3. Is it a good strategy to try and be the first speaker on the topic in a GD?

4. In an interview how does one handle the question "Tell us about yourself?".

5. Is it better to have a longer selection interview or a shorter one?

6. In the MBA entrance interview how do I justify my decision to pursue the MBA programme?

In a group discussion what should my objectives be and how should I achieve them?

In order to succeed at any unstructured group discussion, you must define what your objective in the group is. A good definition of your objective is - to be seen to have contributed meaningfully in an attempt to achieve the right consensus.

The key words in this definition are 'seen', 'meaningfully', and 'attempt'. Let us understand what each of these imply in terms of action points :

The first implication is that merely making a meaningful contribution in an attempt to achieve consensus is not enough. You have to be seen by the evaluator to have made a meaningful contribution in an attempt to build the right consensus.

In other words you must ensure that you are heard by the group. If the group hears you so will the evaluator. You must get at least some airtime. If you are not a very assertive person you will have to simply learn to be assertive for those 15 minutes. If you get cowed down easily in an aggressive group, you can say goodbye to the business school admission.

Many GD participants often complain that they did not get a chance to speak. The fact of the matter is that in no GD do you get a chance to speak. You have to make your chances.

The second important implication is that making just any sort of contribution is not enough. Your contribution has to be meaningful.

A meaningful contribution suggests that you have a good knowledge base, are able to structure arguments logically and are a good communicator. These are qualities that are desired by all evaluators.

Many GD participants feel that the way to succeed in a GD is by speaking frequently, for a long time and loudly. This is not true. The quality of what you say is more important than the quantity. Don't be demoralized if you feel you have not spoken enough. If you have spoken sense and have been heard, even if only for a short time, it is usually good enough. You must have substance in your arguments. Therefore, think things through carefully.

Always enter the room with a piece of paper and a pen. In the first two minutes jot down as many ideas as you can. It pays to think laterally. Everybody else will state the obvious. Can you state something different? Can you take the group ahead if it is stuck at one point? Can you take it in a fresh and more relevant direction? You may like to dissect the topic and go into the underlying causes or into the results.

One way of deciding what sort of contribution is meaningful at what point of time is to follow two simple rules. First, in times of chaos a person who restores order to the group is appreciated. Your level of participation in a fish market kind of scenario can be low, but your degree of influence must never be low. In other words you must make positive contributions every time you speak and not speak for the sake of speaking. The second rule is applicable when the group is floundering. In this situation a person who provides a fresh direction to the group is given credit.

The third implication is that you must be clearly seen to be attempting to build a consensus. Nobody expects a group of ten people, all with different points of view on a controversial subject to actually achieve a consensus. But did you make the attempt to build a consensus?

The reason why an attempt to build a consensus is important is because in most work situations you will have to work with people in a team, accept joint responsibilities and take decisions as a group. You must demonstrate the fact that you are capable and inclined to work as part of a team.

What are the ways that you can try to build consensus?

First, you must not just talk, you should also listen. You must realize that other people also may have valid points to make. You should not only try to persuade other people to your point of view, but also come across as a person who has an open mind and appreciates the valid points of others.

You must try and resolve contradictions and arguments of others in the group. You must synthesize arguments and try and achieve a unified position in the group. Try to think of the various arguments of your's and others' as parts of a jigsaw puzzle or as building blocks of a larger argument for or against the topic.

Try and lay down the boundaries or the area of the discussion at the beginning. Discuss what the group should discuss before actually beginning your discussion. This will at least ensure that everyone is talking about the same thing.

Try and summarize the discussion at the end. In the summary do not merely restate your point of view; also accommodate dissenting viewpoints. If the group did not reach a consensus, say so in your summary.

You must carry people with you. So do not get emotional, shout, invade other people's private space. Do not bang your fist on the table except in extreme circumstances.

If you have spoken and you notice that someone else has tried to enter the discussion on a number of occasions and has not had the chance to do so maybe you could give him a chance the next time he tries. But do not offer a chance to anyone who is not trying to speak. He may not have anything to say at that point and you will just end up looking foolish.

The surest way of antagonizing others in the GD as well as the examiner is to appoint yourself as a de facto chairperson of the group. Do not try to impose a system whereby everyone gets a chance to speak in turn. A GD is meant to be a free flowing discussion. Let it proceed naturally. Do not ever try to take a vote on the topic. A vote is no substitute for discussion.

Do not address only one or two persons when speaking. Maintain eye contact with as many members of the group as possible. This will involve others in what you are saying and increase your chances of carrying them with you. Do this even if you are answering a specific point raised by one person.

One last point. You must not agree with another participant in the group merely for the sake of achieving consensus. If you disagree, say so. You are not there to attempt to build just any consensus. You have to attempt to build the right consensus.

In an interview how does one handle the question "Tell us about yourself?".
An often asked opening question. Perhaps the most frequently asked question across interviews. Your opening statement needs to be a summary of your goals, overall professional capabilities, achievements, background (educational and family), strengths, professional objectives and anything about your personality that is relevant and interesting. This question represents an opportunity to lead the interviewer in the direction you want him to go e.g., your speciality or whatever else you may wish to highlight.

Your intention should be to try to subtly convince the interviewers that you are a good candidate, you have proved that in the past, and have a personality that fits the requirement.

Remember that the first impression you create will go a long way in the ultimate selection. Keep in mind, most candidates who are asked this question just blurt out their schooling, college, marks and qualifications. All this is already there in the CV. Why tell the interviewer something he already knows?

A final word on approaching this question. Once you have said what you have to say - shut up. Don't drone on for the sake of speaking for you just might say something foolish. Sometimes interviewers don't interrupt in order to give the candidate the impression that he has not spoken enough. This is just a stress inducing tactic. Don't fall for it, if you feel you have spoken enough. In case the pause gets too awkward for you just add something like, "Is there something specific that you wish to know about me?"

Is it better to have a longer selection interview or a shorter one?
The length of an interview in no way is an indicator of how well an interview went. This is especially so when there are a number of candidates to be interviewed for example in the civil services interview or the MBA entrance interview. In the past a number of candidates have reported varying lengths of interviews. Nothing positive or negative should be read into this. An interview is only a device whereby the panel seeks information about the candidate. Information that will help the panel decide whether or not the candidate should be selected. If the panel feels that it has gathered enough information about the candidate in 15 minutes of the interview commencing and that it has no further questions to ask the interview will be terminated in 15 minutes. If on the other hand the panel takes an hour to gather the information required to take a decision the interview will last for an hour. In either case the decision could be positive or negative. It is a fallacy to believe that interview panels take longer interviews of candidates whom they are more interested in. No panel likes to waste its time. If an interview is lasting longer than usual then it only means that the panel is seeking more information about the candidate in order to take a decision.

In the MBA entrance interview how do I justify my decision to pursue the MBA programme?

When you are asked this for God's sake don't tell the panel that you are looking for a "challenging job in a good firm with lots of money, status and glamour". That is the first answer that most candidates think of. Unfortunately it is the last answer that will get you admission. In the answer to a direct question on this subject you must convey to the interview panel that you have made a rational and informed decision about your career choice and your intended course of higher study. There are broadly six areas which your answer could touch upon :

Career Objectives : You could talk about your career objectives and how the two year MBA programme will help you achieve them. This implies that you have a clear idea of what your career objectives are and how you wish to achieve them. For example you may want to be an entrepreneur and wish to set up your independent enterprise after doing your MBA and then working for a few years in a professionally managed company. You could explain to the panel that the MBA programme will provide you with the necessary inputs to help you run your business enterprise better. But then you must be clear about what the inputs you will receive in the MBA programme are.

Value Addition : That brings us to the second area that your answer should touch upon. What is the value you will add to yourself during your two year study of management. Value addition will essentially be in two forms knowledge and skills. Knowledge of the various areas of management e.g. marketing, finance, systems, HRD etc. and skills of analysis and communication. You will find it useful to talk to a few people who are either doing their MBA or have already done it. They will be able to give you a more detailed idea of what they gained from their MBA.

Background : Remember, there must be no inconsistency between your proposed study of management and your past subject of study or your past work experience. If you have studied commerce in college then management is a natural course of higher studies. If you are an engineer this is a tricky area. You must never say that by pursuing a career in management you will be wasting your engineering degree. Try and say that the MBA course and your engineering degree will help you do your job better in the company that you will join. But then you should be able to justify how your engineering qualification will help.

Opportunities and Rewards : You could also at this stage mention the opportunities that are opening up in organizations for management graduates. Highlight with examples. At the end you may mention that while monetary rewards are not everything they are also important and MBAs do get paid well. You must not mention these reasons as your primary motivators even if that may be the case

PS: THE ABOVE NOTES ARE TAKEN FROM SOME OTHER WEBSITES BY GOOGLING AND FINDING. ALTHOUGHT BEST OF THE CARE IS TAKEN TO PROVIDE UP TO DATE INFO, I shall not in any way be responsible for any loss or damages arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use or inability to use the website and its contents.

Students are advised, in their own interest, to further research and check the authenticity of the information before acting upon the same. I, does not accept any liability for errors or redundancies of any nature whatsoever.




Gaurav Mittal
i happened to discover this gr8 post....

Bhavin could u transfer it to the GD section, with a link to the same from the PI section as well!


New member
great post.this is really useful. can u please give a passable answer and a vulnerable answer for the question "tell me something abt ur self". i am asking this because i think if we can know the difference beween the two we can modify accordingly. thanking you
vijay kumar
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