A Sneak Peek into SBI’s “Prioritization” based Group Discussion Round

Year 2016 heralded a new era in banking exams industry with State Bank of India making paradigm shifts in filtering out the best candidates for the organization. If words of their Chairman, Mrs. Arundhati Roy, are to be believed, the bank wanted “sanitation” at the bottom itself and hence, new methods were devised to gauge aspirants on varied parameters. With that, the methodology applied was becoming extremely predictable and some novel initiatives were the need of the hour.

If the Mains day threw out some unexpected bullets, as it did this year too, the group discussion round left aspirants astonished. This time, the group discussion round had two discussions, a simple discussion followed by a “prioritization” based group discussion round. All forums and platforms were thronged with this another unexpected bullet of State Bank of India and a lot of debate was done on what the bank actually wants from a candidate.

Having appeared in this group discussion round last year, let’s peek into what it is actually and how one can master such group discussions.

The Format

Broadly speaking, it is alike the first group discussion which was solely based on putting forward your views on a particular given topic. This time, you would be given a piece of paper with a topic as heading and 7 points related to that particular topic. You would be given ten minutes of time to come up with your own priorities in order of “most” to “least” after which the discussion begins. The paper has two columns where in first column specifies your priority while the second column needs to be filled with the point decided by the group as a whole.

In my group discussion, the topic given was “Essential qualities to be an effective leader”. There were some seven qualities given and everybody had to prioritize as per their own understanding followed by a discussion. Every contestant is free to put forward his choice as per his/her choice and a common agreement needs to be reached out for every priority. The time limit given for the discussion is generally fifteen minutes which is good enough time to speak and showcase your abilities.

What is different here?

The main cache here is that the whole group needs to come up with a common consensus before time goes out. The exercise, with all its probability, is included to check a candidate’s flexibility through a team based exercise. If you look at from the outside, it is a team activity to check how an aspirant performs when faced with divergent views on a particular point.

How to ace this round?

Candidates mistakenly believe that the more priority they match with the group, the more they will score. And it is only because of this pursuit that a candidate gets stubborn and choke the whole discussion to prove his/her point. In reality, there can never be a perfect order of priority and it is mainly given to check certain skills.

Coming to the point of acing this group based exercise, I think one need to be a good listener and agreeable to a good point put forward by someone. Another important factor is that you should supplement your claim with an example which enhances its probability of being accepted by the group. This exercise never works on majority basis and a good, fine-tuned example can give you the extra edge required. Remember not to stifle the discussion by being adamant and come to terms with other’s point of views too.

Words of Wisdom

Everyone knows every rule, every protocol, every god-damn essential skill required to scale ahead in these sorts of exercises. Yet, not everybody gets through. Why? Because people succumb to pressure, they make mistakes when faced with adversity, when confronted with a dominating and authoritative speaker. Remember, you have as equal opportunity to speak as everyone will have that day. It’s just a matter of grabbing that Nano-second opportunity to convert it into a life changing event. Go all guns blazing, with a wide smile, determined and confident looks.

All the best.

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