CAT Group Discussion

Kritika Yadav

Kritika Yadav

CAT Group Discussion, commonly referred to as GD has become an inseparable part of admission to IIMs and various MBA institutes. Group Discussions in CAT and IIMs play a main role in selecting the best among the best.

Having scored high marks in CAT and other competitive MBA entrance exams, students who get selected for Group Discussions are placed on a par – on equal footing – based on their percentile. It becomes necessary to conduct further screening for choosing a few among many.

It is here, the CAT Group Discussion plays an important part. It helps in choosing the candidate among all the academically superior achievers. Group Discussions for CAT is one of the best tools to study the behavioral and attitudinal responses of the participants.

As the term itself suggests, a GD is a discussion, but most students misconstrue it to be a debate. Consequently, you find a ‘fish market’ situation in most Group Discussion. What is actually expected in a Group Discussion is participation in a systematic way on a particular topic.

A Group Discussion (GD) is a simulated exercise, where you cannot suddenly put up a show, since the evaluators will see through you easily.

Group Discussion Tips

While Group Discussion reflects the inherent qualities of an individual, appearing for it unprepared may not augur well for you. These CAT Group Discussion Tips would help you prepare for a CAT Group Discussion:

  • Reading

This is the first and the most crucial step in preparation for a CAT Group Discussion. This is a never ending process and the more you read, the better you are in your thoughts. While you may read anything to everything, you must ensure that you are in good touch with current affairs, the debates and hot topics of discussion and also with the latest in the IT and ITES industry.

Chances are the topics of CAT Group Discussion would be around these. Read both for the thoughts as well as for data. Also read multiple view points on the same topic and then create your point of view with rationale. Also create answers for counter arguments for your point of view. The electronic media also will be of good use here.

  • Mocks

Create an informal Group Discussion group and meet regularly to discuss and exchange feedback. This is the best way to prepare. This would give you a good idea about your thoughts and how well can you convince. Remember, it is important that you are able to express your thoughts well.

The better you perform in these mocks the better would be your chances to perform on the final day. Also try to interact and participate in other Group Discussion groups. This will develop in you a skill to discuss with unknown people as well.

CAT Group Discussion Presentation

  • Voice Level and Clarity of Communication : Loud and clear voice is an asset in a CAT Group Discussion. It gets you the attention of the other participants present in the CAT Group Discussion.
  • Language : One has to try and improve his language as a part of preparing for the CAT Group Discussion. Good language skills can help you clearly express your ideas in a CAT Group Discussion.
  • Body Language : Your body language should show confidence and basic communication etiquette is to be followed. Do not present your self as too casual or over-aggressive in a CAT Group Discussion.
  • Eye Contact : Eye contact is essential to garner the interest of other people in the CAT Group Discussion. A good eye contact will help you present yourself as a confident person.
  • New Ideas and Initiative : Ideas and initiative helps taking the CAT Group Discussion forward. Hence a person with ideas different from the group and also showing a lot of initiative can be a valuable player in a discussion.
  • Relevance of the Discussion : Rather than speaking more, it is important that what you speak is relevant to the topic of the CAT Group Discussion.
  • Team Player : Show that you are a team player, you can be a part of the team and hence contribute to the CAT Group Discussion.

Also remember the six C’s of effective communication that is required in a Group Discussion – Clarity, Completeness, Conciseness, Confidence, Correctness and Courtesy.

Do's of Participating in a CAT Group Discussion

  • Listen to the subject carefully.
  • Put down your thoughts on a paper.
  • Initiate the discussion if you know the subject well.
  • Listen to others if you don’t know the subject.
  • Support you point with some facts and figures.
  • Make short contribution of 25-30 seconds 3-4 times.
  • Give others a chance to speak.
  • Speak politely and pleasantly. Respect contribution from other members.
  • Disagree politely and agree with what is right.
  • Summarize the discussion if the group has not reached a conclusion.

Don’t(s) of Participating in a CAT Group Discussion

  • Don’t initiate the discussion if you do not have sufficient knowledge about the given topic.
  • Don’t over speak, intervene and snatch others chance to speak.
  • Don’t Argue and shout during the GD
  • Don’t stare at the evaluators or a particular group member
  • Don’t talk irrelevant things and distract the discussion
  • Don’t pose negative body gestures like touching the nose, leaning back on the chair, knocking the table with a pen etc.
  • Don’t mention erratic statistics.
  • Don’t display low self confidence with shaky voice and trembling hands.
  • Don’t try to dominate the discussion.
  • Don’t put others in an embarrassing situation by asking them to speak if they don’t want.

CAT Group Discussion Topics

The list of some of the Group Discussion Topics in CAT and IIMs are discussed below. The CAT/IIM topics have been categorized under several heads like Contemporary topics for MBA/CAT Group Discussion, Group Discussion Topics on Management and Politics related topics for IIM/MBA Group Discussion.

Contemporary Topics

  • Satyam Scandal would Impact Foreign Investments in India
  • Globalization, in Long Term, will Cause More Harm than Good in View of Job Losses
  • Global Impact of a Local Problem like Sub-prime Crisis
  • Privatization is Boon or Bane
  • Is there a Need to Protect Indian Culture?
  • Terrorism and India
  • Should Education be privatized?
  • Reservation a Tool for Creating Social Divide or Rectifying for Past Problems
  • Existing Model of Growth will lead to Greater Digital Divide
  • It’s not Politicians but Bureaucrats who are Responsible for Decay in Public Services
  • Corruption is an Inherent Part of Democratic Set-up
  • India shall Adopt China’s Model of Growth

Social Topics

  • Should Smoking be Banned Completely?
  • Effect of Television on Youth
  • Morals & Values among Indians is Degenerating
  • Should Dance Bars be banned?
  • Censorship in Movies & Our Culture
  • Worsening of Female to Male Ratio in India
  • Should FTV be banned?
  • Foreign Television Channels are Destroying Our Culture
  • Rapists should be given Death Sentence
  • With Media Publishing and Telecasting Trivia, Censorship is the Need of the Hour
  • Euthanasia: Is Mercy Killing Justified?
  • Beauty Contests Degrade Womanhood
  • Should there be Limits on Artistic Freedom (the Controversies on Movies like Water, Fire, etc.)?
  • Do Banning Girls’ Entry into Pubs, Celebrating Valentine’s Day, Holding Fashion Shows and -New Year Parties Save Our Culture?
  • The Impact of MTV on Our Psyche
  • Women are not fit for Defense Services
  • Women Empowerment – A Cause for Increasing Divorce Rate in India
  • Excessive Depiction of Sex and Violence in Films
  • Classical Music Heritage and the Growing Pop-Culture
  • Individual Freedom and Civil Society
  • Conventionalism and Modernity: The Ever-going Debate
  • Should there be a Restriction on Permissiveness Being propagated by the MTV Culture and –
  • Foreign Media
  • Arranged Marriages are better than Love Marriages
  • Should Prostitution be made Legal?
  • Do Celebrities have a Right to Privacy?
  • Influence of Online Social Networks on our Youth
  • The De Vinci Code: Truth or Lies about Christ
  • Is Remixing Good Trend in Music?

Management Topics

  • Management Education in India
  • Is Management an Art or a Science?
  • Should GD be Part of Campus Placements?
  • Role of Ethics in Business
  • Is Management Education Required for Business?
  • Whether Hard-Working or Smart-Working is Desirable?
  • Women are better at Multi-Tasking
  • Does Morality have an Essence in Corporate Life?
  • Retention of Employees
  • Do Women make Good Managers?
  • Celebrity Brand Endorsement: Effective Advertising?
  • The Salaries that MBAs Get is more than they deserve
  • Engineering Students are wasting their Time in Management Studies; they have Another Way to go.
  • MBA in India is highly Over-rated
  • We Need More Entrepreneurs than Managers
  • Rise in MBA Salaries is Not Sustainable in the Long Run
  • Can One Contribute to the Social Sector while Being Employed in the Corporate World?
  • The Rush for MBA is really a Rush for Big Money
  • Will Mumbai’s Film Industry ever evolve into a Truly Modern Cooperative One?
  • Are Leaders Born or are they made in Business Schools?
  • Indians Perform Better as Individuals than in Groups/Teams
  • Positive Attitude and not Knowledge is required for Business Success
  • Are Ethics just Business Pretense?

Education Topics

  • Do we really Need Education to be Successful?
  • Government Control in Higher Education is Interfering and Not Required
  • Should Sex Education be really made Compulsory?
  • Privatization of Higher Education
  • Should the Government Set-up More IITs and IIMs, OR should it be use the Money for Primary & Secondary Education?
  • Foreign Universities in India
  • E-Learning: A Substitute for Classroom Learning?
  • Is Reservation in Higher Education Only Alternative for Social Equality?
  • Private Educational Institutions: Good or Bad
  • Should Management Education be subsidized?
  • How effective are Indian B-schools?

General Interest Topics

  • Should Animals be used for Testing New Drugs & Medical Procedures?Rivers are our natural resource. All states have equal rights on them.
  • Do NGOs in India Really Work for Others OR Work for their Own Vested Interests?
  • Security Cameras & Privacy
  • Advertisements Cheat People, Hence Should Be Banned
  • Borderless World: A Threat?
  • Borderless World: A Myth or Reality?
  • Secularism has become a Tool to Justify the Wrongs done by the Minorities
  • What is the Difference between People who do Things Rightly and People who do Right Things?
  • Corruption is a Necessary Evil for Success in Any Sphere,
  • Beauty Pageants are a Must,
  • How to Deal with International Terrorism?
  • Are Peace and Non-Violence Outdated Concepts?
  • Indian Army as a Career Option
  • Capital Punishment should be Banned or Allowed?
  • Is Dependence on Computers a Good Thing?
  • Is India a Soft Nation?
  • Should Research on Human Cloning be banned?
  • Should Sting Operations be Carried Out?
  • How safe is Unmarried Fairer Sex?
  • Conditional Access System for Cable TV Watchers: Boon or Bane?
  • Nuclear War cannot be won and should not be fought
  • Is Swapping Terrorists for Hostages an Encouragement to Plane-Hijackers?
  • Brain-Drain has to be stopped
  • Doctors’ Accountability to Improve Health-Care
  • Universal Disarmament is a Must
  • Is India Aping the Western Obsession with Celebrities?
  • Exit Options for the US from Iraq
  • Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants in India
  • Are Live-in Relationships better than Marriage?
  • Should Guys Expect their Educated Wives to be Virgins?
  • India at 60: A Senior Citizen?
  • Unrest in Countries around India
  • Flexible Timings or Fixed Timings – Which is better at Work?
  • Individual Brilliance Certainly makes a Difference
  • Is Paperless Office a Reality or Not?
  • Rules & Regulation Breed Corruption

Politics Topics

  • Is our Political System Reason for our Backwardness?
  • Necessity of Women Quota Bill for Women Empowerment
  • Reserving Seats for Women in Panchayat not only a Farce but Distracts from Developing a more Genuine Voice of Women
  • Voters, not Political Parties, are Responsible for the Criminalization of Politics
  • Should We Pursue our Policy of Dialogue with Pakistan?
  • The Way Forward for India is to Join Hands with Pakistan on Nuclear Matters
  • Need for Good Leaders in India
  • Politics is Run by the Barrel of Gun
  • Retirement Age for Politicians
  • Corruption is the Price we pay for Democracy
  • Should Women have Reservation for their upliftment?
  • What India needs is a Dictatorship?
  • Value-based Politics is the Need of the Hour
  • Religion should not be mixed with Politics
  • Indo-US Nuclear Deal – Congress v/s Left
  • Democracy is Hampering India’s Progress
  • Doctrine of “Limited Nuclear War” is an Ill-Convinced, Illogical, Irrational & Extremely -Dangerous Concept
  • Should Tainted Ministers Allowed to Contest Elections?
  • Presidential v/s Parliamentary Form of Government in India
  • Reservations in the Private Sector
  • Is it Necessary to Rename India’s Well-Known Cities in the name of Indianization?

Sports Topics

  • If Winning isn’t everything, why do they Keep the Score?
  • Cricket in India has lost its Sheen
  • Is T20 Cricket killing Real Cricketing Skills?
  • Six Billion and One Bronze!
  • Are Cricketers to be blamed for Match Fixing?
  • Modern Day Sport in Industrialized Society is an Industry
  • Cricket as a National Obsession is a Detriment to Other Sports

Creative Topics

  • A Ship Docked in Harbor cannot face the Storms
  • Do Beauty and Brains Go Together?
  • Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
  • Rules are Meant to be Broken
  • Food Comes First, Ethics Later
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
  • There is No Right Way of Doing the Wrong Thing
  • Is Love Precious or Poisonous?
  • Is God Male?
  • Good Things Always Come from Good Thinking
  • In Today’s World, Everything is Uncertain except Death & Taxes
  • Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus
  • Cleanliness is a Fundamental Responsibility of an Indian Citizen
  • A Person should not be too honest; Straight Trees are cut first
  • Nice Guys Finish Last
  • All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Economics/Business Topics

  • Are Co-operatives Relevant in Today’s Global Environment?
  • Foreign Aid is a Dangerous Drug: Stimulates in Small Doses but becomes Fatally Addictive in Larger Ones
  • Space Missions are a Wastage of Resources for a Resource-Starved Nation like India
  • Retailing is killing the Neighborhood Kirana Shops
  • SEZs: Boon or Bane?
  • Private Participation in Infrastructure is Highly Desirable
  • Developing Countries need Trade, not Aid
  • Poverty in Third World Countries is due to Prosperity in First World Countries
  • Indian Economy: Old Wine in New Bottle!
  • A Unipolar World Spells Disaster for Underdeveloped Countries like India
  • Is Globalization Really Necessary?
  • What shall we do about our Ever-Increasing Population?
  • Banning of Trade Unions will be Beneficial in Growth of the Economy
  • Why can’t India be a World-Class Player in Manufacturing Industry as it is in IT & BPO Sectors?
  • We Need Drinking Water and Not Coke & Pepsi in Rural India
  • Rise of Regional Blocs Threatens Independent Nations like India
  • Should the Public Sector be Privatized?
  • How to Deal with High Oil Prices?
  • Multinational Corporations: Are they Devils in Disguise?
  • Are Indians Less Quality Conscious?
  • Ethics in Business are just a Passing Fad
  • Is the Consumer really the King in India?
  • Commercialization of Health Care: Good or Bad?
  • Is there any Point in having a Business Strategy when the World changes from Month to Month?
  • Is the Patents Bill Good for India?
  • Is the Business of Business only Business?
  • Public Sector being a Guarantor of Job Security is a Myth
  • Capitalism is a very Flawed System but the others are so much worse
  • How can a Business get rid of the Bad Name that it has earned?
  • Government Pumping Money into the Economy is not the Solution for our Economic Problems
  • Is the Budgeting Exercise of any Use?
  • Should Agricultural Subsidies be stopped?
  • Will Market Reforms Enrich Rich States Further, while Poorer Ones Lag Further?
  • Are MNCs Superior to Indian Companies?
  • Steal a Few Lakh and you’re a Criminal; Steal a Few Hundred Crore and you become an industrialist
  • Should PSUs be divested through Strategic Sale or Public Offer?
  • Public Sector is more a Hindrance than Help to Promote Socialism
  • India will be a Superpower in 21’st Century with 40 Crore Hungry People
  • Consumer is God in Today’s Market
  • Stock Market Crash – Sub Prime Crisis in US
  • Change from Public Sector to Privatization (as in the U.K.) is the Right Answer for India’s -Instant Economic Breakthrough
  • Advertising is a Waste of Resources
  • Privatization will lead to Less Corruption
  • Is Swadeshi Relevant for India Today?
  • Should India break Diplomatic Ties with Pakistan?
  • Use of Force by Banks to Recover Loans
  • Skilled Manpower Shortage in India
  • Technology Creates Income Disparities

Case Studies For IIMs

Decision-making is what managers do. The decisions of managers directly influence revenues, costs, and profits of a business firm.

If you are to be successful manager, you must learn to be a good decision maker. You must develop the ability to apply classroom training in business and economics to so that you can learn how to

(1) make decision making easier,
(2) improve the analytical quality of decisions,
(3) reduce the time required to make decisions, and
(4) increase the frequency of correct decisions.

What is a Case Study?

This is a specialized type of technique used mainly by IIMA and IIMI.

A short situation (usually a problem faced by an organization or a manager) is given in less than a page. Participants have to discuss the situation and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Here all the participants possess an equal level of information about the situation since the same case is given to everybody.

Remember the evaluators are testing the information processing and analytical skills of the participants as well as the group skills.

How to approach Case Study?

   1. Read the case thoroughly.
   2. Define the central issue.
   3. Define the firm’s goals.
   4. Identify the constraints to the problem.
   5. Identify all the relevant alternatives.
   6. Select the best alternative.
   7. Develop an implementation plan.

Examples of Case Studies at IIMs

1. In a company X, a woman is facing some problem as she is the only working member in her home. She takes frequent leaves and is quite insincere in her work. She is not able to deliver quality in her work.Her husband is idle and does not support her and asks her to continue her job.She does kitchen work, takes care of her kids and also work in the office.You are the manager of this company , so how will you solve her problem.(IIM Indore)

2. Ramu has been working with XYZ Co. Ltd. for the last six years and has been rated as one of the efficient in the job. One day he is caught with a stolen bulb leaving the duty. The management is in a predicament. What should it do?(IIM Indore)

3. A handloom company is running in heavy losses and its sales have gone down.You as a head of the team have to discuss various reasons for the same.The group also supposed to suggest possible solution to the identified problems.(IIM Ahmedabad)

4. The case was on a textile manufacturing co. established in 1984 having a global presence in the industry with its clientage consisting of big companies like Walmart etc.The comapny is presently managed by the son(MBA from Stanford) of the owner.The father doesn’t believe in recruiting MBAs while the son is of the converse opinion.Suggest arguments that the son can use to convince his father.(IIM Bangalore).

Interview Question

Duration 20 – 25 minutes
Panel size : 3

1) Subject Knowledge
2) How could you describe your stream to a layman?
3) Questions based on that day’s Newspaper
4) Why some students did not ask for financial assistance
5) Budget

Case Study : IIM Ahmedabad

Case I:

There is a bank robbery. A cashier violates the code of conduct but saves the bank’s money. What should the chief manager do with the cashier?

Case II:

Kaveri Amma is a 40 yr old woman who has 2 daughters – 1 is married and the other is doing her 10th standard. She works in a cooperative where 35 other women support her. She makes ropes in the cooperative and earns Rs.600/ month. She was looking for alternative ways of making a little more money. She knew how to make a special kind of pickle. She bought the required stuff – tomatoes 8kg at a total cost of Rs.30, 1.5 l of oil at Rs.90, 40, 200 gm bottles at Rs.20, miscellaneous ingredients (ginger, garlic etc.) at Rs.57.
She had an earning of Rs.203 from this venture. She used to sell these bottles at Rs. 10/bottle when market price for such pickle was Rs.16. Since she was handpicking her tomatoes her quality was also maintained. A friend told her that if she did this exercise just 4 times a month then she would be able to earn more than what she is presently earning with her rope trade. A young graduate Sheela heard about Kaveri Amma’s business and offered her a loan of Rs.15000 to set up pickle making unit plus a Rs. 5000 grant. Should Kaveri accept this offer?

Case III:

There was this man X who was a sweets vendor in India some 50 years ago during partition. He had two vendors – one who supplied milk-based raw materials and one who supplied non-milk based raw materials. He was very focused on quality and he would absorb the rising costs but be focused on his quality image. Therefore his profits began decreasing His son Amit was a Commerce graduate and was taking interest in his business He handed his business to his son completely just two months ago. Amit had a 7-year-old daughter, Nisha. When the son started taking charge he hired only one contractor who supplied him the raw materials. During Christmas his daughter asked him to supply sweets for her class. So on Christmas Eve there was a party whereby by 8 pm, 30 girls from her class including she was sick with diarrhoea and vomiting. At 9pm the teacher called up Amit and threatened him with legal action and adverse publicity. The parents of the students also demanded an explanation. Students of the other class who had not eaten the sweets and had cakes were not sick. Also two of Nisha’s classmates who had diabetes and had not eaten the sweets were not sick. What should Amit do?

Case IV:

In a psychology department of a college, the principal of the college announces in a function that Mrs Nair would be the next head of the department. Now this comes as a shock to Mrs Nair, because she was not taken into confidence and she just liked teaching. The retiring head Mrs Johnson was a capable head and although Mrs Nair did help her in her duties, yet she did not want to be tied to that position. The reason why Mrs Nair was made head was because there was a policy of the department that the senior most teachers are made the next head, which obviously Mrs Nair satisfied. Now Mrs Nair leaves the function and goes back to her house thinking about the whole thing. The question is what should Mrs Nair do?

Case V:

Sahay is a management trainee at an organization that deals in supplying hardware to customers. Now his boss Mr Subhdeep has been thinking of a plan. A consignment, which was due to a superintendent police who has huge political clout, has not been delivered to him. It had been promised that it would be delivered in 30 days, but so far 45 days have lapsed. Mr Subhdeep is thinking that he would deliver an empty consignment to this client and since it is a company policy that he cannot open the box till somebody from this organization assists, he would take advantage of this policy. In the meanwhile he would substitute the box with the actual deliverable. Now Mr Sahay finds this unethical, and he asks Subhdeep but he says that everything is fair in war and business. So now what should he do:
a) Leave the company
b) Try to bring about a change

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