Responsible Management Education

Importance of Group Discussions

Group Discussion

Group discussion (GD), by virtue of the term, means exchange of views by participants on a given subject. The whole idea is to bring together a set of people on a common platform to share their ideas, thereby giving an opportunity to exhibit not only their knowledge, but also to understand and enhance their learning by absorbing the thoughts of other people.

Advantages of Group Discussions

  • Better understanding of the subject : GD offers a great opportunity to the discussants to take a deep dive into the subject, and understand it profoundly. It expands the horizon of knowledge and learning. In addition, it extends a chance to the participants to improve their abilities to think critically and develop their analytical skills.
  • Solve problems : Since GD brings together a group of people holding diverse opinions, it also perceived as one of the sought after ways to arrive at solutions to problems. Because of the fact that people bring in a wide range of insights, GDs help in changing the thought process from a narrow to a wider view, thereby paving the way to solutions.
  •  Improve listening skills and confidence : Since GDs necessitate the contribution of ideas and thoughts, the participants are required to be listen keenly to others’ observations. In this sense, group discussions are a fantastic way to enhance listening skills, and also boost the confidence of speakers by engaging them and encouraging them to express their thoughts.
  • Enhance communication and interpersonal skills : While one aspect of GDs is that it encourages people to share their knowledge, the other important aspect is that it gives an opportunity to people to build their communication skills. The participants, in the process, learn how to express their ideas while also respecting viewpoints of others. This in turn contributes to the development of interpersonal skills among the peer group.
  • Team building exercise : GDs help in developing teamwork and leadership attributed in people, which are extremely important in the current context. Working in a group helps them increase tolerance and respect towards others, and also how to unanimously arrive at conclusions.

After learning various benefits which people may derive from participation in group discussions, it is important to highlight that this activity holds a special importance in academic and professional set ups. On one hand, GDs reflect the values of coexistence, motivation, tolerance and acceptance for others, on the other hand, they are a key tool for recruiters. During the selection process, they help the hiring team to identify if the job applicants possess the values which mirror the principles and the vision of the organisations. The organisations today not only stress on the knowledge pool of the candidates, but also give lot of importance to enthusiasm and adaptability in the workforce. This helps us explain why academic institutions, and especially management schools emphasise GDs.

Mentoring at IILM

The word ‘mentor’ may be described in simple terms as a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school. In this context, ‘mentor’ is understood as a person who provides assistance and guidance to his or her ‘mentee’- the person who is being guided, and the objective of ‘mentoring’ is to bring out and nurture the best possible abilities in the ‘mentee’.

It may sound clichéd, but the fact is that in current times we do not want our leaders to be a knowledge bank. Instead, we want them to manifest themselves as dynamic individuals who are capable of handling various situations and people at work. IILM has the tradition of implementing a robust mentoring program for each and every student in order to ensure that its graduate and post-graduate students are prepared to handle the world outside.

The various aspects of the mentoring program at IILM are:

  • Academic and Career Counselling: When a student is selected to pursue studies at IILM, s/he is also allocated a dedicated mentor, considering the fact that young and fresh undergraduates and graduates have numerous expectations related to their academics, career and future plans. The mentor remains in regular contact with the student providing guidance and insights to the mentee. The focus is on academic and professional planning, in addition to personal development.
  • Direction and Guidance: At IILM, the objective is to not only to focus on the core job of guaranteeing academic learning to the students, but also ensuring that within the framework of the mentoring program, mentees share their aspirations and areas of interest with their mentor. The mentor then extends to them all the necessary direction and guidance, which may shape them as effective and successful leaders of tomorrow.
  • Identification of Strengths and Opportunities: The mentor helps the mentee identify his or her strengths and areas of opportunities and development in order to create a nurturing environment. This allows the mentee to achieve his or her academic and career goals through regular interactions between the two.

To quote a few examples:

  • There are students who need help in expanding their family business. In such a situation, the mentor usually connects them to the faculty who has specialized in family business studies or the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) that caters to nurturing young entrepreneurs.
  • Similarly, there are students who wish to work with leading organizations. With the rich pool of faculty at IILM, who come from industry as well academic backgrounds, the mentor helps provide an understanding of the industry operations to the mentee. The Career Development Cell (CDC) works closely with the mentor to make the students employable.

Thus, the process functions on the basis of regular interactions, expressing and meeting expectations and sharing experiences and follow ups with the mentees. The outcome of mentoring program is, hence, transformation of undergraduates into responsible business professionals.

Mentoring Plan for Staff and Faculty Members

It is noteworthy to mention that the mentoring program is structured not only for the students but also for the all the faculty and staff members. When a new joinee becomes a part of the IILM family, the senior faculty and staff members, including the Deans and the Directors mentor them to understand the modus operandi of the system. During this process, which may be defined as the learning curve, the new joinees understand the dynamics of the system, the process flow of their job profile and are provided continuous inputs and feedback to handle their roles independently.

In a nutshell, the mentoring program is an integral part of the IILM system, which enables each and every individual to define their goals and expectations, draft a plan and then work on the accomplishment of those goals.