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Can someone please evaluate my essays? Thanks! [#permalink]
04 May 2011, 10:02
Both are from the Official Guide for GMAT, 12th edition
The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:
"On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stored can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer."
The argument concludes that retail sales will increase dramatically within the next decade due to an increase number of middle-aged consumer who spend more than younger consumer in department store products and services. Moreover, the argument concludes that in order to capture this increase, stores should begin to replace some of the products intended for the younger consumers with product intended for the middle-aged consumers. The conclusion is based on the premises that the number of middle-aged consumers will increase dramatically within the next decade and that middle aged consumers devote 39 percent of retail expenditure to department store products and services, while younger consumers devote only 25 percent. The argument is logically flawed, however, because it depends on numerous assumptions for which no evidence has been given.
First, the argument assumes that there will be an increase in the number of middle-aged people within the next decade and therefore an increase in the number of middle-aged consumers. This assumption is supported by the common belief that the average age of the population is increasing. However, it is not clear how much this increase will be and to what extent an increase in the population will lead to an increase in the number of consumers for department store products and services. No data is in fact presented to support these statements.
Second, the argument ignores the possibility that the new generation of middle-aged consumers will have different habits than the current generation of middle-aged consumers. In fact, it is not clear the reasons behind this assumption since no data is provided. It is a matter of fact that habits change from one generation to the other; for example, the music that middle-aged people used to listen to 50 years ago is different from the music listened to by middle-aged people today. The same may apply to other fields including interests in department store and services.
Moreover, the argument fails to consider the possibility that younger consumers will change their habits thereby changing the current trend. It is in fact possible that in a generation time younger consumers will spend more than middle-aged consumers in department store products and services. In this context, historical trends would help to understand whether similar changes occurred in the past and if it is likely to expect similar changes in the future.
In conclusion, the argument that sales for department store and services will increase within the next decade is weak. Moreover, it is dangerous to recommend that stores replace some products intended for younger consumers with products for middle-aged consumers. If more information on the expected trend and on past trends were presented, then the argument would be strengthen. Absent this support, however, there is no reason to accept the argument’s conclusion.
"An advanced degree may help someone get a particular job. Once a person begins working, however, the advanced degree and the formal education it represents are rarely relevant to success on the job."
It is discussed whether an advanced degree may help someone get a particular job and whether, once a person starts working, this degree and the formal education it represents are relevant to success on the job. In this discussion, I shall present arguments favoring the statement that an advanced degree may be important in getting a job but it loses its value once a person begins working.
First, it is a matter of fact that an advanced degree helps getting some jobs, in particular those jobs where an higher education is preferred. Of course we need to exclude from the list those jobs where an higher education is required such as in medical professions; in these situations it is in fact impossible for someone without a degree to get the job. But in many other occasions there is a tendency to hire someone who has an advanced degree because the employer believes that this person will bring something more to the company. In my case, for example, I got a job in a big company because of my degree in engineering since they were looking for someone with advanced knowledge in the field of biofuels.
Second, once the person gets the job, it is true that after a short time the degree loses its importance and it gets more and more relevant how a person works. To go back to the previous example, I experienced this situation myself after I was hired in that big company. In fact, I started because of my knowledge in the biofuels field working on a project related to the implementation of biofuels on a container vessel. Very soon, however, the project was handed over to another department, and I had to start working on other projects not related to biofuels or engineering but more related to general management. From that moment on my “advanced degree” lost its significance and my performance became more and more important.
On the other hand, some may argue that people holding an advanced degree are more clever than people with a lower degree and therefore more likely to develop further in an company. From my experience, again, this is far from being true. What matters most in a company is experience and performance, much more that degrees. In my daily work, I see that colleagues with a lot of experience are one of the most valuable assets of the company because they are a well of information. And performance of employees, no matter if with an advanced degree or not, is what allows a company to boost revenues and reduce costs.
In conclusion, an advanced degree may help to get a particular job, in particular if a company is looking for a specific profile for a specific project. However, in the medium and long term, other factors such as experience and performance are more valuable than advanced degrees of any kind.