Sunday, March 7, 2010

Common Extempore Topics in MBA

Possible Extempore Topics


Summers Have Come

For this topic, you could focus on both the obvious interpretation of the topic i.e. the season of summer has arrived, as well as the metaphorical i.e. summers (or good times) have come into a person’s life.

For the first (the obvious) interpretation, one can speak about the features of the season of summer. These could include:
• Bright, sunny days
• Longer days and evenings for children to play outside for longer periods
• The heat and the sweat that people associate with the Indian summer
• The things that people wait for in summer: mangoes, ‘litchi’ fruits etc

But, in extempore topics, it would be great if you could go beyond just the obvious. You could interpret the topic in many different ways. Here you could say that ‘Summers have Come’ can be interpreted to mean that ‘Good Times have come into One’s Life’.

The phrase that ‘The sun is Shining’ is often used in this context. This is because light and brightness generally has positive connotations. On the other hand, the dark, cold, dull days of winter often have negative connotations. This is more so in the colder parts of our country and in the relatively colder countries of Europe, Russia etc where people wait for summers to come.

Hence you could link the topic to either ‘why the sun is shining for you’ (the positive things in your life) or for your country and its economy etc.

The main point here is that besides the literal interpretation, you can come up with alternative ideas/ interpretations of the topic.

“Make Hay while the Sun Shines”

This is a well known proverb. What it means is that you should make the best use of the situation. Hay cannot be made in the dark when there is no light available, but can only be made in the daytime when the sun is shining and the day is bright and clear.

Hence the proverb basically means that you should make the most of any opportunity that you get.

Sometimes, during Extempores, it is a good idea to start with a quote or proverb yourself. For this topic, for example, you may say that ‘Make Hay while the Sun Shines’ could be related to another proverb, “Strike the Iron when it is Hot”. This again means make the most of the situation and grab every opportunity.

After beginning in this manner (with the quote/ proverb and the explanation of what it meant), you could go on to give examples of situations where:
• You have exhibited this (i.e.’Made Hay while the Sun Shone’) and made the most of opportunities that came your way (This also serves another purpose-you could highlight your achievements in front of the Panel members and impress them!).
• Examples where others have made the most of opportunities that came their way-these could be people you admire etc
• Your recommendations on what can be done in the future (in line with the topic). For example, you could state that ‘India could make Hay while the Sun Shines’ by increasing its stature while the rest of the world goes through an economic downturn

“Red vs Blue”

This topic is similar to some topics given in Abstract GDs. Once again, besides the literal interpretations of the two colours, you should try and come up with alternative interpretations.

You could again try and start with a quote. For example, you could say that as Shakespeare has said, “What’s in a Name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Similarly, what’s in a colour? Is there anything special about a particular colour?

Now you could go on to describe the various characteristics or emotions that people associate with different colours.
For example:
• People associate the colour Red with danger, anger, brightness, being fiery and energetic etc. A ‘Red Flag’ means danger. A Red Traffic Light tells you to Stop.
• People associate the colour Blue with calm, peace, tranquility. Think of the Blue Sky, the deep Blue Waters of an Ocean etc

So different colours do stand for different qualities. At the same time, in spite of Red and Blue being at different ends of the spectrum, they combine to form a beautiful rainbow. Hence, if the two colours can used together in an appropriate manner, then a creation of great beauty might be the result. This idea can be used in the context of ‘Unity in Diversity’. We can thus link this concept to India as a country, etc

You could also relate the two colours to the corporate world, sports etc. For example, Coke is associated with the colour Red and Pepsi with the colour Blue. Thus, the topic can be interpreted as ‘Coke vs Pepsi’, one of the great corporate rivalries.

Other companies are also associated with one of these two colours. For example, IBM is also associated with Blue-remember ‘Deep Blue?’

And you could relate the colours to sports. Manchester United vs Chelsea, for example. The Indian cricket team, as most of us know, are also called ‘The Men in Blue’.

Thus the possibilities are endless, and there is more than enough material to talk for a few moments!

“Question Mark”

This is an interesting Extempore topic! At the face of it, it may seem a difficult topic as you have not even been given a proper topic, in the true sense of the term. However, keep in mind that such topics are actually easy, for they are open-ended, i.e. you can say anything you want.

Keep in mind that the points you make should be structured.

You may first talk about the many connotations or thoughts that a Question Mark evokes. You could make the following points during your Extempore:
• You may start with a quote and say something like: “I have five friends who have helped me through life. These are: Who, What, Why, When and How”
• Related to the above quote, a question mark at the end of a sentence means that something has been asked or someone is trying to find out something. This reflects the desire to know. This desire to know or to seek knowledge is extremely beneficial as it helps people to learn more things.
• You may give examples on how this desire to know or seek explanations led to great scientific discoveries. For example, Newton asked himself on seeing the apple fall from a tree as to why it fell to the ground.
• Asking questions also helps mankind to progress. For example, we should always ask the question: “Can we do this better or faster?” or “Can we improve on this further?”
• At the same time, questions might also convey doubts or apprehensions. For example: “Will this work?” or “Am I right?” These have to be addressed to move further.
• A questioning attitude is the right attitude therefore, to learn and progress.

You may add a couple of interesting points. For example:
• The shape of a Question Mark is like a light bulb. Just like a bulb lights up and spreads brightness, similarly asking the right questions can dispel the darkness of ignorance.
• The shape of a question mark, coincidentally, is like the shape of the map of India. Particularly the dot below the question mark, is like the island of Sri Lanka below India!

“Electromagnetic Induction”

You are sometimes given Extempore topics that ask you to speak on a particular subject in science or Economics etc. Thus this topic has been given as an illustration of what you could state when given any such ‘academic-related’ topic during your Extempore.

One point here is that to make your speech/ extempore interesting, you could add a short anecdote/ humourous story etc about the topic or any related issue if you know one.

You could do the following during your Extempore:

1. First, define the topic. In this case, you could summarise (in brief) what electromagnetic induction is.
2. You could mention who discovered this phenomena and how it was discovered. If you know, is there any interesting story behind this discovery.
3. Why is this phenomena/ discovery/ application important? Where all is it used?
4. Are there any particularly interesting applications of this concept/ discovery?
5. If the topic/ subject has been in the news lately for any reason, you could mention the context
6. You could speak about the latest applications of this scientific phenomena/ subject.
7. You could mention any future uses of this that you foresee.

Some unsolved topics :

1 “Green vs Red”
2 “Electromagnetic Induction”
3 “The World is Flat”
4 “Today’s public servants do not always serve”
5 We need to eradicate Poverty
6 Stop, look and go
7 “Straws”
8 “Summers have Come”
9 “Make hay while the Sun shines”
10 “Newton changed the World”
11 “Indian scientists have not got their due”
12 “Nuclear Energy: Boon or bane?”
13 “To be or not to be”
14 “Well begun is half done”
15 Is the glass half full or half empty?
16 Diamond vs Graphite: Two sides of a Coin
17 Carbon: the most Important material known to Mankind
18 “You”
19 “Question Mark”
20 “Exclamation Mark”
21 “To stay in one place, you have to run very fast”
22 “Old is gold”
23 “Never Give up”
24 Freedom brings responsibility
25 Inflation
26 “India vs Pakistan”
27 The Government must step back
28 “Never ask for who the Bell Tolls”
29 “The Road not Taken”
30 “Albert Einstein”


  1. Some of the good topics wolud really help me to prepare for Extempore.

  2. This is really very helpfull....thanks a lot for giving all this information..

  3. What is an Extempore?

  4. Hi, extempore speech is taken by certain MBA institutes during their selection procedure. You would be given a topic and have to speak about it for a minute or two. You would not be allowed to ‘prepare’ for this topic, but has to speak on the spot. Thus, you cannot prepare the content and decide what to say beforehand.

  5. very good article .
    Thanks for it.

  6. thumbs up!!!! its very helpful and it will help me for my mba selection procedure...thanx a lot..

  7. wow man.........

    your ideas are so uncommon and refined

    the article was really nice and i would love to see more from you

  8. this article is definately goin to help for my extempore rd. thank you.

  9. very helpful........Thankyou

  10. it was truly helpful.........thnx

  11. thanx bdy........ it'll be really helpful for mba aspirants during their prep

  12. thnx for such intelligent tips...

  13. its tremendous helpful!!!!!

  14. Very useful article..thanks a lot.......

  15. very well explained.. it will make difference, i'm sure of.


  17. very helpful.thanks


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