5 Group Discussion Topics You Should Prepare for Your MBA Interview

A Master’s in Business Administration or an MBA is one of the most premier business degrees in today’s market and is insanely popular. Thousands of business aspirants apply to reputed business schools to get into their MBA programmes each year.

Therefore, there’s a lot of pressure on these schools to pick the right candidates who can go on to become successful business leaders.

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Many business schools employ different selection criteria and techniques like a group discussion round to select the most deserving candidates for their global MBA courses.

Here’s a peek into the group discussion round during an interview for MBA in Germany and the kind of topics you can expect in this round.

What is the purpose of the group discussion round?

A group discussion (GD) round is a very common selection technique employed by panellists during MBA interviews. Although the number of people in the GD round can vary from one global MBA degree to another, most selection panels include 3 to 5 people for a GD round.

The group discussion for MBA allows the selection panel to judge the participants on the basis of their thought process, communication skills, strategic thinking and decision-making. It also gives them a look into the candidates’ minds and the chance to determine if they would be able to sustain the extreme rigor of an MBA curriculum.

Which skills are tested during the group discussion round?

During the group discussion round, the selection panel keenly observe the mannerisms and body language of the participants to assess if they have what it takes for a successful business career. Here are some of the skills that the selection panel looks for in participants:

  • Communication skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Quick thinking
  • Listening skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Team-building capability
  • Spontaneity
  • Debating skills

What are the different types of group discussions for MBA selections?

It is a popular myth that the GD rounds during MBA interviews rarely differ from one another. In reality, there are many types of GD rounds, including the following:

  • Unmoderated: In this type of group discussion, the candidates are encouraged to discuss and debate a given topic within the set time limit. There are no inputs or interventions from the moderator regarding participation or deferrals.
  • Moderated: In this format, one of the panel members acts as a moderator to intervene when the discussion runs off the course or if certain participants don’t get their chance to speak.
  • Shifting moderator: In this format, the moderator is selected from the participants and the moderating responsibility shifts from one candidate to another.
  • Chairman style: In this GD model, the initial group is divided into two smaller groups where one group discusses a topic and the other group is made to judge their performance and vice-versa.

How are group discussions conducted during MBA interviews?

Most group discussions in MBA selections are conducted in batches of 7 to 10 candidates. The group is provided with a GD topic and allowed a few minutes to prepare their arguments and talking points. The panel can give extra time if the topic is a difficult one or based on a case study.

The actual round can last anywhere between 15-20 minutes. Some business schools also allot 45 minutes for the GD round. The round can come to a halt when the moderator picks one of the candidates for a concluding statement.

What are the most common GD topics for MBA interviews?

The subjects for group discussion topics can widely vary from political happenings to abstract concepts. Here are some common group discussion topic clusters that you might face in your MBA interview.

  • Business and economy: This can include current trends in business and economy, business management concepts, technologies in the business industry and their effect on the modern world.
  • Current affairs: This subject includes topics regarding national and international political or social developments, highly debated topics in the news and global issues.
  • Social issues: This includes topics on social responsibility like diversity and inclusion, gender sensitivity, policy initiatives and environmental sustainability.
  • Abstract topics: These are generic topics meant to stimulate the creativity of the participants. These can include topics like black vs grey or the importance of poetry in society.
  • Case studies: These topics centre around specific business case studies and participants are encouraged to discuss their interpretation of the study.

How can you ace your group discussion interview?

MBA interviews are usually designed to be rigorous and comprehensive to allow business schools to select the most deserving candidates. It is therefore prudent to presume that your group discussion round would be rigorous as well.

Here are some handy tips that can help you perform well during your GD.

  • Display a lot of patience and resilience
  • Pay attention to your sentence formation and grammar
  • Focus on enriching your vocabulary before the GD round
  • Practice your analytical thinking skills
  • Have a prepared list of points for some likely GD topics
  • Use your preparation point to jot down as many points as possible
  • Be up-to-date with current affairs and events across the world
  • Try to be unbiased and neutral in your opinions
  • Try to initiate the conversation as many times as possible

Working on your group discussion skills can help you get into a good MBA programme at a reputed business school. It can also help you acquire important managerial and leadership skills which are important for your corporate career.

GISMA Business School in Germany offers a great Global MBA for those who want to pursue their management master’s in Germany. The degree is AMBA-accredited and provides you with additional business skills like value generation and strategic decision-making.

The post-graduate degree has also been accredited by other reputed institutions like EPAS, AACSB and EQUIS. The course covers all aspects of general business management and can boost your corporate career prospects in any domain and country.

Enrolling in the MBA programme at GISMA also requires you to clear a personal interview that might have a group discussion round. Click  here to find out other entry criteria for this programme at GISMA.


 – This article was written by Sweha Hazari.

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