Group Discussion Evaluation Criteria

GD Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria: GD

Many candidates, while preparing for Group Discussions often believe that they must hold forth the communication more or wear a leader hat during the discussions. This indeed is not the case when it comes to MBA team-based discussions for selections. But this may not be much amiable if that is not your authentic behavior. Remember, that Group discussion panelists also look for some diversity and appropriate-level contributions at different levels. Bring out your absolute self to the table gracefully. You will be able to deliver meaningful input to the group tasks in a way that makes you and everyone around comfortable. But at the same time, be conscious of the key goals of the group tasks assigned to you.

The evaluating parameters are different in different B-Schools, but there is a universal framework that does not change much. For actual criteria used in GDs to top B-Schools, panelists look for brilliance, but prominently they look for, how each candidate has performed across the key dimensions. The evaluation of participants is based on two kinds:

  • Individual Qualities
  • Group Skills
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Individual Qualities

Clarity, Content, and Confidence

Your content matters. What you must present during the ongoing discussion is being noted and reveals your comprehension skills. It is not necessary to talk a lot, sometimes quality matters more than quantity. Even if you speak for like 2 minutes, make sure you present your ideas clearly and confidently. The panel does not want unnecessary jabber instead they want you to present a solid groundwork. Steer clear from irrelevant words.

Connect comfortably with other members and participate confidently. As long as you plan and prepare your thoughts with logic and clarity, and there is poise and presence in your communication, you will be noticed and rewarded.

Logic of Ideas / Comments

A topic requires you to reason with. The panel is interested in understanding how efficiently you reveal your reasoning skills. Not just with your argument but also how you take someone else’s argument and turn it into yours. It is more like directing a conversation.

Analytical Skills

Every discussion is based on facts, so get your facts straight. The panel would like you dive into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the question. Your analytical skills are tested on a higher level and you are put to harshest of tests.

Reasoning Skills

A topic requires you to reason with. The panel is interested in understanding how efficiently you reveal your reasoning skills. Not just with your argument but also how you take someone else’s argument and turn it into yours. It is more like directing a conversation.

Organisation Skills

Your argument should be organized. No amount of details or facts would matter if you are not able to present them in an organized manner. Think for a minute before you open your mouth.

Presence & Communication

In a Group Discussion, communication skills matter. How well do you communicate? Ask yourself this question. Are you able to speak in a simple term that others can understand? Or are you self-proclaimed Shashi Tharoor? Our advice sticks to the former.

Fluency, articulation, and modulations in your speech add to the effectiveness of speech and make your presence conspicuous.

Energy, posture, and eye contact are also important elements of the evaluation. Energetic body language indicates your capacity for work, which stands as a definite advantage over the others. But try not to be impulsive. Have an upright and appropriate body posture, projecting you as a well-composed and poised candidate. And Eye Contact takes care of the way of acknowledging others. Look at the key speakers 80% of the time and the remaining 20% at other participants.


Remember how back in school Sky used to be purple? It is like that; you added your own colour to the sky now it is time to colour the argument differently. Think way outside the box. If everyone is thinking that way, think inside the box.

Group Skills

Listening Skill

Sometimes, when 10 people are involved in a discussion, it is easier to drift away. Do not! More than presenting your argument, it would be best if you listen to others and then and there form your opinion. The panel is quite nosy, they will not bother you but be rest assured they are looking at you. When you're lost in your own thoughts, your facial expression changes, and they can catch it. Maintain eye contact with everyone, listen to everyone, take their argument, and compare them with yours.

Leadership and Collaboration

It is quite normal in Group Discussion that someone will be made a leader, not exactly that they are going to get extra points for that but it’s just so they can begin the discussion and steer it in the right direction. Try to grab that chance. It showcases your leadership skills and how well you will be in a practical world.

Leadership traits reflect when the candidate takes the initiative in advancing the discussion and uses compelling comments and probes. Also if at any point in the discussion, one introduces a new perspective to the topic, it gives some constructive direction to the discussion. If you are a good leader with collaborating attributes, you would present a viewpoint that is challenging the status quo, tactfully without hurting. You will be able to blend multiple ideas and viewpoints in the room to bring about the most agreeable situation.

Even with divergent opinions, communicate and collaborate with others efficiently. When you respond to feedback from others in a positive manner and address others skillfully, it displays a good way of collaboration. Strike a balance between individual excellence and group performance; this is indicative of an effective group dynamics. Establish positive relationships with participants, and take the conversation through a logical progression. Graduate from one discussion thread to another logically, and do not let random hip-hopping happen.

Body Language

Body language is one of the most important factors because in tense situations our body does not agree with us. It is natural to be nervous or anxious before the discussion, remain calm and composed or at least pretend to. Walk in the room straight and confident. Sit straight. Maintain eye contact, speak clearly. Use your hands wisely. Sometimes all these things seem difficult but give positive affirmations to yourself. Also, do not move unnecessarily, or play with your pen or tap your fingers or legs and most important do not run your fingers through your hair. All these show that you are not interested in the discussion.

Group Behaviour

Mutual respect is everything. Sure, your point might be better than the other or you think you are more knowledgeable but still does not give you the liberty to insult them in an ongoing discussion. Give everyone a chance to speak, listen to them, do not cut them off, do not be dominating and do not get personal. IIMs want sensitive candidates, people working as bouncers.


Generally, a persuasive speaker leads the discussion more so on controversial topics. However, keep in mind these 3 approaches to persuasion:

Ethos: Persuade only on the basis of trust and credibility, established by you in previous participation. If you have added value in the formative stages of discussion, you will be heard and respected.

Sentiment: Manage according to the emotions of other group members. Understand when to counter and when to support the viewpoints and also know the right entry and right exit points when in a discussion.

Logos: Your entire logical proposition will be received well if you have shown a logical quotient better than others.

Final Thoughts

Poor “teamwork” is the worst conduct shown during a GD. This may require participants to continue dominating the conversation; intrude on others; restate opinions made by others, this may not allow the conversation to move forward. People may start showing irritation, annoyance, or a bad attitude.

The panelists recognize that great leaders may differ from one another in many ways. But there are some things in common among most of them. The listening skills and ability to work well with others are unexceptional, even when one is an introvert or an extrovert. Keeping positive is one simple step in succeeding in a group interview and countering the uncertainties of the experience.

Remember, not to be dominant, talk irrelevantly, and exaggerate facts. Be a good listener, keep your speech clear to come out effective in the GD.