February 17, 2011

IIM CAT 2011: Possible topics for Group Discussions (GD)

Dear friends,
The results of CAT 2010 and other MBA Entrance Exams has been declared. As all of you know that all the MBA aspirants has to go through a tough selection process of GD {Group Discussion}. After all, each institute want to have the best candidate as its student. Some Institutes also test the abilities of the candidate through Case studies. So let's see what experts have to share with you for your GDs.

During GD, you will be put in a Group Discussion of 8 to 10 candidates and evaluated by a panel.

Here are some tip and strategies on preparation for the GDs that will be conducted for CAT 2010. In these Group Discussions, you will be evaluated on your ability to discuss your topic. These topics can be about practically anything - so you'll have to figure out the type of topics you will probably be given to talk about as well you need to be prepared for it.

You could be asked to discuss anything from economics, sports, politics and the environment, to philosophy, entertainment, humor and movies.

What to read and look out for preparation:-

Look for current news and controversial or debatable topics which could go either way. During GD you will probably be given a topic which has no black and white consensus. Think about moral and ethical issues, as well as the practicality of economic and political decisions. Also do some research work on some important case studies and try to be well-rounded in your knowledge. You don't want to become an expert in only one area, only to find out that your given Group Discussion topic has nothing to do with it!

These topics may evolve due to the nature of current affairs. Here's a handy guide to help you out.


• How the stock market works

• Economic reforms in India

• Know how the stock market works - bonds, investment, etc.

• Scandals such as Enron, Worldcomm, Arthur Andersen and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

• The pros and cons of globalization

• Emerging communication technologies

• Derivatives trading

• Foreign exchange rates, convertibility, currencies and per capita incomes

• How banking works; common banking terms

• The global economic scenario

• The foreign exchange rate, liquidity, basic economic theory

• The role of technology in business

Political events, opinions and situations

• India's case for a permanent seat on the security council of UN

• The Sri Lankan Peace Process

• Current politics of India

• The India-US Nuclear deal - is it beneficial or not?

• Principles of political theories, pros and cons of each ideology, how the most important governments function

• Currencies and per capita incomes

• The Indian space programme

• The present situation in Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon

• Basic structure of government systems

• Basic political theory and ideologies such as capitalism (Adam Smith), communism (Marx), socialism, democracy, egalitarianism, libertarianism, etc.

• India's 5-Year Plans

Debatable topics - issues concerning:

• Advertising - fairness, company responsibility, unbiased information

• Social issues - education, taxation, social programs, income distribution

• Gender issues in society and in the workplace

• The emancipation of women

• The effects of globalization and trade on the world and in India

• Problems which plague developing nations

• Immigration

• Issues within the education system

• Various rhetoric statements - are they true or not?

• Technology - the replacement of human workers, management, the telecommunications sector, its role in the economy, problems with technology

• Language issues in society and in the workplace

• The preservation of heritage, culture or customs

• The "brain drain"

Sample Group Discussion topics

Here is a sample of questions you may be asked. We'll take a look at the question itself and various perspectives/ideas you should consider when forming your supporting argument.

Are we raising a generation of burnt out children?

The benefits of pushing children to do well is so that they are prepared for the competitive world and will succeed in the future. They will develop the skills they need and help develop their strengths. You should also consider the cons: childhood is a time to explore the world and develop their own personality and enjoy life. They should not stress, and they should do what makes them happy - that is what ultimately will make them happy in the future. Stress and the pressure of competition can have a negative impact on the children in the future.

Consider: the psychology and behavior of students and of children as their minds develop and learn, competition in the workplace, work ethic, factors of stress on success and achievement, rebellion resulting from pressure, preparation for the real world, various advantages and disadvantages

Political corruption can be beneficial.

Consider: corruption cuts through the red tape created by bureaucracies; it benefits business corporations and helps the economy; various case studies of countries where corruption is a part of everyday life; corruption allows for re-investment into the economy and economic growth; corruption is subjective and depends on the values and customs of a specific society, individual or organization; corruption cannot be proven show a negative causal relationship of a bad economy/government

Cons: the cons of corruption can be quite obvious - corruption is undemocratic and unfair, corruption lowers the standard of living and widens the per capita income of society; issues of ethics, morality and justice

Does a country or economy become worse if it is corrupt? Or it corrupt because that is the only means out of getting out of the mess? Is corruption inevitable? Are the laws made to be broken? What about law loopholes? Consider Indian politics in particular and whether bureaucracy is a hindrance to Indian economic reforms. Is it better to be honest and inefficient, or corrupt and efficient?

MBA programs should be taxed at higher rates in India.

Consider: given the capacity for those with MBAs to earn higher income, these taxes should be adjusted accordingly; also consider that taxation is a policy which is decided for masses at large - taxes should be fixed and not based on profession; MBAs and other professionals are already taxed a "professional tax", therefore charging an additional higher rate is not required.

Philosophy is simply arm-chair theory.

Does philosophy have practical meaning and application in the real world? Is it a relevant and important topic?

Consider: the relevance of philosophy in day to day life, its influence on literature (for example, Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Nietzsche, Voltaire); the relationship between philosophy and politics, war strategy, philosophies for happiness, success and enlightenment.

Case studies: Look at the influence of Nietszche on Hitler and other various philosophers on politica movements; talk about Indian philosophy and works such as the Gita, Gandhi (satyagraha and other tactics based on philosophy), the use of philosophy in religion, spirituality and molding values/traditions/customs


Investment in the game of cricket hinders the development of other sports in India.

For: Players need the investment in order to have the best and latest equipment, therefore investment in other sports is needed; we must have investment in order to compete on a global basis since other sports such as soccer are much more popular

Against: The Sports Ministry has a fixed budget and needs to allocate money for cricket because it is so popular; if demands for cricket are high, the department has no other option to fund the sport. Corporations will sponsor a game which will give them the most publicity, and cricket is arguably the most important game in India - therefore, these corporations will inevitably sponsor cricket no matter what.

More Group Discussion questions to get your brain on work...

• Computers result in unemployment.

• E-Commerce the best thing for India.

• The advancement of women's rights is the basis for social development.

• Do you agree or disagree with these statements? Think about the arguments for or against them.

• Globalization is good.

• Corruption is the main outcome of democracy in India.

• NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) such as the United Nations are ineffective.

• An India free of the caste system is simply a pipe dream.

• Is materialism good or bad?

• Is the agrarian economy in India a boon or a bane?

• What is the role of ethics in industries such as tobacco, gambling and liquor?

• Should India aspire to be a nuclear superpower?

• Advertising is a form of brainwashing.

• What do you think of this firm's (one that is in the news) decision to go public?

• Is identity more important than policy?

• Greed is good - it is an essential human quality.

• Is China a threat to the Indian economy?

• Democracy has hampered India's progress.

• History repeats itself.

• Is management education really necessary to succeed in business?

• The ends justify the means.

• Should the concept of arrange marriage still exist?

• Men and women will always be unequal in the workplace.

• Is Indian bureaucracy the basis of a government's foundation, or simply a poor leftover from colonial times?

• Is war with Pakistan inevitable?

• The environment - whose responsibility is it?

• How will the introduction of hedge funds and the liberalization of foreign exchange controls impact our market?



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