Tips for Your Next Book Club Discussion
Book Club discussions are great conversations based on a common book that everyone has read. Open-ended questions help ignite discussions involving the whole group. One way to include all members is to write questions on an index card for each member to have a turn leading the discussion.
Begin the discussion with a prompt from the book by reading a short excerpt. This can be a poignant part of the story or an introduction to the beginning. Either way, it gets the discussion moving. Question the participants about the book’s title, but save questions about the end of the book for later in the club meeting. Also ask the group what key points they would mention in a book review.
Drum up discussions about the author. Research ahead of time and summarize the author’s background to give people something to work from. Many book clubs will read a series of books written by the same author. Ask the members what they think was the author’s reason for writing the book, or see if they would change the ending. Throw out a question asking their opinion as to how well the author told the story. If your book club reads a book written by a local writer, you might be able to persuade the author to attend your book club.
Having visual, hands-on props creates interest. Print photos related to the book. Cook a meal that includes foods or geographical cuisine from the book. For example, if the book takes place in Tuscany, serve an Italian meal or Italian wine. Play appropriate music that goes along with the story. Some books have videos that tie in with the theme, which would be a great way to begin your meeting.
Ask the readers questions that relate to them individually. See if they learned anything from the book. Ask the members if they would recommend the book to someone else. Ask if they related to any of the book characters. These types of questions are subjective, so the book member answers will always be right. These questions also personalize the book club experience.
Book Club Activities
Take things a step farther and have the group participate in activities. An interactive connection can be made by playing a literary game as a group. If music is important in the book, have the members make a playlist together. If travel is prominent, bring a map and let members mark the cities, states or countries with a marker or push pin. If the group is outgoing, have them act out characters or situations from the book.
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A Step-by-Step Guide To Case Discussion
By ashi jain.
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Are you comfortable in Decision Making in a given situation How aptly you analyze the situation with a logical approach How much time do you take in arriving at a decision How good are you in taking the rightful course of action
Hari, the only working member of the family has been working an organization for 25 years. His job required long standing hours. One day, while working, he lost his leg in an accident. The company paid for his medical reimbursement.
Since he was a hardworking employee; the company offered him another compensatory job. He refused by saying, ‘Once a Lion, always a Lion’. As an HR, what solution would you suggest?
Identification of the Problem:
Obvious: accident, refusal of job, only earning member, his attitude, and inability to do his current job Hidden: the reputation of the company at stake, the course of action might influence other employees
As an HR, you are first expected to check the company records and find out how a similar case has been dealt with in the past. Second, you need to take cognizance of the track record of the employee highlighted by the keyword ‘hardworking’.
Given the situation at hand, he is deemed unfit for his current role. However, the problem arises because of his attitude towards the compensatory job. Hence, in such a case, counselling is required.
Here, three levels of Counselling is required: 1. Ist level is with Hari 2. IInd level of counselling is required with the Union Leader (if any) to keep the collective interest and the reputation of the company in mind 3. IIIrd level of counselling is required with his family members as they constitute of the afflicted party
If the counselling does not work, one should also identify a contingency plan or Plan B. In this case, the Contingency Plan would be – hire someone from his family for a compensatory role.
Note that the following options are out of scope and should be avoided: 1. Increase Hari’s salary so that he gives in and agrees to do the compensatory job 2. Status Quo – do not bother as long as the Company is making a profit 3. Replace Hari with someone else
1. Pinpoint the key issues to be solved and identify their cause and effects
2. Start broad and try to work through a range of issues methodically
3. Connect the facts and evidence and focus on the big picture
4. Discuss any trade-offs or implications of your proposed solution
5. Relate your conclusion back to the problem statement and make sure you have answered all the questions
1. Do not be anxious if you are not able to understand the situation well or unable to justify the problem. Read again, a little slowly, it will help you understand better.
2. Do not jump to conclusions; try to move systematically and gradually.
3. Do not panic if you are unable to analyze the situation. Listen carefully to others as the discussion starts, it will help you gauge the problem at hand.
All the best! Ace the GDPI season.
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Case Study: Tips and Strategy
- Analytical Skills: The core competence of an MBA is analysis of the situation: breaking down data, formulating it into a pattern that makes sense and deriving an efficient conclusion or recommendation. You should display this skill through targeted and accurate piecing together of the data while simultaneously wrestling the group towards a solution for the case. After self-analysis, you should cogently present the findings and recommendations for the group to discuss further.
Quantitative Skills: Some case studies involve working with numbers to reach an effective solution. In such a situation, a quick calculation on rough sheet to present the relevant figures for the group will make you stand in very good light with the evaluator.
Flexibility: This refers to the ability of the candidate to consider the opposing point of view in light of the facts/figures presented in the case. There is no single solution to the case and thus a flexible candidate should not leave out good options in his analysis even if they were presented with an opposing point of view.
- Leadership Skills: Leadership is demonstrated by taking charge of the discussion and trying to achieve a consensus. The consensus does not have to be the best; instead, it should aim to incorporate all viewpoints.
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- Presentation/Communication Skills: Just like group discussion, effective communication forms an integral part of case study too. The skills tested are: articulation in presentation, fluency, body language, eye contact and coherence. Remember, when speaking, it is always better to take a small pause rather than babble!
- Behavioral/Personality traits: The personality traits being evaluated during case studies are: attitude, well balanced conduct, patience, team work, cogency and assertiveness.
- Goal Orientation: This parameter is evaluated through the candidate's willingness to arrive at a solution and intelligent use of other's content.
- Confidence: Last but not the least, the level of confidence, pro-activeness and action orientation form an important part of a candidate's performance in a case.
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- Solved Case Studies
Action plan to handle challenges in case studies
The following action plan should enable you to sail your way past the case study with ease:
- Situation/Context Analysis: The first step in a case analysis is to go over the case line-by-line and jot down the relevant points, facts and data. The aim of this exercise is to capture the crux of the case in brief. Both the internal as well as the external factors relevant to the case should be elucidated. This analysis provides a shape for things to come in further analysis. The factors external to a case , say, related to an organization would comprise things like level of competition, market share, raw material prices, tight labour market conditions, price-cutting, customer preferences, etc. The factors internal to the organization comprise mainly of its labour policies, dispute-redressal systems, project approval schemes, marketing strategy, capacity expansions, etc.
- P- Problem Definition: The problem should ideally be defined in a crisp, single line, incorporating the most important decision issue to be solved in the case. To have a better grasp of the problem, being quantitative at this stage helps. An important thing to remember is not to mistake the symptoms for the root problem. For example, a falling market share or a decline in sales is, invariably, a symptom while the real problem may lie with the nature of the industry or the quality of the product.
- A- Alternatives Generation: The next step is to list down the various alternatives to resolve the problem and achieve the objectives set out in the case study. At this stage, all the alternatives that come to mind should be listed even if an alternative provides only a part solution to the problem at hand. Sometimes, this part solution can be later combined with some other alternative to provide a complete solution.
- C- Criteria for evaluation of alternatives: List down the parameters that are important to the solution of the problem at hand. These parameters can be profitability, growth in market share, image, sales, etc.
- E- Evaluate the alternatives: This stage uses the criteria to evaluate the various alternatives generated earlier. The positive and negative aspects of each alternative are to be kept in mind while evaluating the alternatives.
- R- Recommendations: At the end of the analysis, provide recommendations to resolve the situation. Also look at short-term as well as long-term implications of the recommendations in solving the problem.
Popular “Do's” and “Don'ts” in a case study
- Take time to analyze and think through the case
- Weigh the pros and cons and various trade-offs between two or more choices
- Break down the complex problem into small, distinct pieces to enable better articulation
- Listen attentively, even to conflicting ideas, as they might provide part solution to the problem
- Summarize the analysis periodically
- Be consistent, and not monotonous
- Jump to a conclusion at the start
- Worry about speaking all the time
- Worry about not having specific industry knowledge
- Worry if you are not able to completely solve the case. Remember, the structure of thoughts is as important as the final result
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Case Study Based Group Discussion
The Group Discussion that is conducted in the B-School admission process can be of several types. Group Discussion on a Case Study is a growing form of GD at the top B-schools.
Many top B-schools including IIMs conduct case based GD in the final round of selection process. In a case study based group discussion, first the candidates are asked to read the case. After that, they are required to analyse the case and discuss on the basis of the points with the group members. In a Case Study GD, caselets dealing with real life situation in the corporate world are given for discussion. You will be given a set of information, a situation, a problem and you will be expected to produce the probable solution of the case.
Tips to Remember in Case-Study GD
If you are given a role which you are supposed to play at the end of the caselet then in such a scenario you should step into the shoes of that role, look at the problem from its angle, and then discuss the case accordingly.
If you are to discuss it from a third party point of view, you have to look at it in a more holistic way. In case, the case is not specific in this regard, then you could assume the role of a third-party, look at the case objectively from all angles, and discuss it likewise.You will need to develop and present a framework.
Try to include SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; while discussing the case study. Identify the main problem in the case and its possible causes. At first you will have to understand what the problem is and exactly which the area you need to look at is.
On the basis of the problem, you need to come up with two to three possible logical and analytical solutions that you think will work for the particular situation. You also need to analyze the pros and cons of the solutions or suggestions you have made. Then finalize which one is the most feasible option to approach.
Don't forget to summarize in the end.
Case Studies For Small Group Discussion
- 1 What's happening in the community?
- 2.1 What is this about?
- 2.2 Why is this important?
- 2.3.1 Related Resources
- 2.3.2 Case Study Collection
- 2.3.3 Case-based ethics instruction: the influence of contextual and individual factors in case content on ethical decision-making
- 2.3.4 UK Research Integrity Office's Case Study Collection
- 2.3.5 Related Themes
- 2.4.3 Where
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- 2.4.6 Research Area
What's happening in the community?
What is this about, why is this important, for whom is this important, related resources, case study collection, case-based ethics instruction: the influence of contextual and individual factors in case content on ethical decision-making, uk research integrity office's case study collection, related themes.
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MBA admission: How to crack case-based group discussions?
- By:Surbhi Jain
- Date: 2018-11-27 14:13:32
Case studies or caselets are now an integral part of admissions to the MBA. Often, candidates should analyze small files during a group discussion (GD), instead of general topics. The idea is to examine the candidate's point of view, logical approach, quick thinking, and his problem-solving attitude before finalizing his/her candidature for the MBA program. The caselets do not require any prior knowledge of the subject. It is considered an effective way of judging the management qualities of a candidate required for admission to the B-School.
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Although the Top management institutes (IIMs) have suppressed the group discussions, various leading business schools still continue to conduct case-based GDs some of the institutes are- XLRI-Jamshedpur, SPJIMR, Mumbai and NMIMS, Mumbai, etc. So what happens in a caselet? Mentors will give 10 minutes to the candidates to read a case summary followed by 10 minutes to write whatever we understood after that there will be a group discussion of 20 minutes. Let us figure out more about GD-based case studies in management institutes:
A case study is all about analysis because everyone gives the same information and therefore starts from the same base.
The case study topics are mainly related to current affairs. Current socio-economic environment, government policies, innovations, global economic climate or socio-political debates prevalent in popular media. Learn about as many case study topics as possible.
The purpose of these case-based GDs is to judge the knowledge, communication skills, leadership qualities and the ability of the candidate to make logical arguments and convince the opposing party, qualities needed to be a good manager.
Read more- GD/PI Tips for MBA Colleges in India
Here are some tips for solving case-based group discussions:
Refer to the topics covered in the GDs of your target institute. You can collect this information online or from coaching institutes. Take note of the topics covered over the years, it is very likely that the topics will go in the same direction this year as well.
Read newspapers, journals, magazines and watch current affairs programs to find out what's going on around you. Case-based GDs typically focus on business and economic issues that affect the social and political climate. Read editorials and articles based on hot topics, so you can use them while making your point of view during GD.
Meet up with your friends who are also MBA aspirants, form a group and hold a case-based group discussion. Exchange ideas, observe and develop confidence.
In case-based GDs, around five minutes are given to prepare, so use this time wisely. If the case is about a topic where the decision is to be made, quickly think of points to back your ‘to’ or ‘for’ stand and choose one. If the subject is such that a decision has already been made and the group has to decide whether it is right or wrong, re-choose aside after quickly weighing your points.
What should be the right approach?
Approach which can identify the crux of the problem, can logically analyze it and can suggest an alternate course of action to solve it, is the right approach. Know the steps that will lead you to solve it
Step1: Attentively read the caselet, following the important points Step2: Understand the objectives of the organization Step3: Get to the core of the problem and its causes Step4: Identify and focus on the obstacles and constraints of the issue in achieving the desired goals Step5: Find out the alternatives, analyze them and pick out the relevant ones. Step6: Filter all of the alternatives and choose the most appropriate one. Step7: Frame the course of action to implement the decision
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A few don’ts for caselet exercises-
- Do not be anxious and hyper even if you are not able to fully understand the situation or unable to identify the problem at first. read again it a little slowly, it will help you better understand.
- Do not jump on the conclusions; try to move step by step.
- Do not panic if you are unable to find an appropriate solution. Your analytical skills, the logical process of identifying the problem and the moving towards its solution will also be evaluated.
- Do not be in a hurry to speak without arriving at some logical analysis and solution strategy. When you speak, be relevant and to the point.
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