Can you please comment on my essay? : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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# Can you please comment on my essay?

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15 Aug 2012, 13:03
This is for the first time I wrote an essay for GMAT. Fortunately, the essay prompt was favorable for me, since right now I'm an undergrad business student. But I think I have lots of scope for improvement. What should I do to improve my essay, given that I don't want to invest more than four-five hours for AWA preparation? I am just two weeks away from my test. Thanks for your help and suggestion.

Read the argument and the instructions that follow it, and then make any notes that will help you plan your response. Begin typing your response in the box at the bottom of the screen.

The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum.

"The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

My response:

The argument says that a company, which is planning to enter the coffee industry, assumes that doing what other successful companies did in the past would give it the maximum benefit and would allow it to create a customer base. However, the conclusion of the argument depends on a few assumptions, vailidity of which can be questioned. Also, the argument fails to touch a few key points, such as the target market, its value proposition, and long term goal. The conclusion derived without considering all these is at most misleading.

Firstly, the company readily assumes that following the previously successful companies' strategies will be sufficient to be successful in the market. However, it should remember that the successful companies in any industry were successful only because they were able to create a Point of Difference. If the companies had just followed the strategy of others, they were likely to fail in the market. For example, Apple Inc. was successful in music industry because it identified a distintinctive value proposition and also took innovative strategies to popularize its products in the music industry. The argument also fails to consider that people's psychographic is changing first. What seemed right a few years ago may not be relevant at all in the changing business environment.

Secondly, the company, without showing any market research, claims that strategies, such as offering free samples, reducing prices, and discount coupons will attract customers to its brand. The company also understands that coffee is an expensive food item. But the company has probably missed that point that the target customers of coffee may be more interested about the premium feeling. In this case, if the company really undertakes these strategies, it can create a cheap image for its brand in the target market. Also, this can hurt its profit margin as well. The company will incur costs by undertaking these strategies, but it will also offer discounts, which will decrease its revenue. Therefore, the overall profit will be lower and the question arises whether the company will be sustainable in the long run undertaking these strategies.

Thirdly, undertaking these strategies will require lots of resources. The argument does not talk anything about its capabilities and resources, such as manpower, budget, etc. Without a cost-benefit analysis, the company can never decide about the strategies. If the budget of the company is low, it will be better off by focusing on fewer strategies, possibly only one, to attract its customers. But if the budget permits, the company may introduce more things to give its customers a true coffee experience.

After analyzing all these, we can say that the argument relies only on a few assumptions, which lack reliability and also seem inadquate. We need to know more about the long term goal of the company, value proposition, and demographic of its target market before proposing strategies for the company.

To conclude, the company's proposed strategies are based on its assumption that what worked well before will work well again. But there is no base for this assumption. Therefore, the suggestion made in this argument can be pretty misleading.
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15 Aug 2012, 20:00
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gmatda wrote:
This is for the first time I wrote an essay for GMAT. Fortunately, the essay prompt was favorable for me, since right now I'm an undergrad business student. But I think I have lots of scope for improvement. What should I do to improve my essay, given that I don't want to invest more than four-five hours for AWA preparation? I am just two weeks away from my test. Thanks for your help and suggestion.

Read the argument and the instructions that follow it, and then make any notes that will help you plan your response. Begin typing your response in the box at the bottom of the screen.

The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum.

"The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

My response:

The argument says that a company, which is planning to enter the coffee industry, assumes that doing what other successful companies did in the past would give it the maximum benefit and would allow it to create a customer base. However, the conclusion of the argument depends on a few assumptions, vailidity of which can be questioned. Also, the argument fails to touch a few key points, such as the target market, its value proposition, and long term goal. The conclusion derived without considering all these is at most misleading.

Firstly, the company readily assumes that following the previously successful companies' strategies will be sufficient to be successful in the market. However, it should remember that the successful companies in any industry were successful only because they were able to create a Point of Difference. If the companies had just followed the strategy of others, they were likely to fail in the market. For example, Apple Inc. was successful in music industry because it identified a distintinctive value proposition and also took innovative strategies to popularize its products in the music industry. The argument also fails to consider that people's psychographic is changing first. What seemed right a few years ago may not be relevant at all in the changing business environment.

Secondly, the company, without showing any market research, claims that strategies, such as offering free samples, reducing prices, and discount coupons will attract customers to its brand. The company also understands that coffee is an expensive food item. But the company has probably missed that point that the target customers of coffee may be more interested about the premium feeling. In this case, if the company really undertakes these strategies, it can create a cheap image for its brand in the target market. Also, this can hurt its profit margin as well. The company will incur costs by undertaking these strategies, but it will also offer discounts, which will decrease its revenue. Therefore, the overall profit will be lower and the question arises whether the company will be sustainable in the long run undertaking these strategies.

Thirdly, undertaking these strategies will require lots of resources. The argument does not talk anything about its capabilities and resources, such as manpower, budget, etc. Without a cost-benefit analysis, the company can never decide about the strategies. If the budget of the company is low, it will be better off by focusing on fewer strategies, possibly only one, to attract its customers. But if the budget permits, the company may introduce more things to give its customers a true coffee experience.

After analyzing all these, we can say that the argument relies only on a few assumptions, which lack reliability and also seem inadquate. We need to know more about the long term goal of the company, value proposition, and demographic of its target market before proposing strategies for the company.

To conclude, the company's proposed strategies are based on its assumption that what worked well before will work well again. But there is no base for this assumption. Therefore, the suggestion made in this argument can be pretty misleading.
Hi gmatda,

This essay gets a 3.

You have some good points, and a core of a solid organization, but you need some polish before you're going to score higher. In particular, work on your organization. Your first paragraph meanders, confusing readers abou what's concluded and what's assumed. Be very, very formulaic to keep things clear! "In the prompt above, the author concludes.... He bases his conclusion on..... and on ..... Unfortunately, he makes several unwarranted assumptions linking his evidence to his conclusion."

Similarly, keep your ideas seperate--one to a pragraph! You start solidly in the sentence begining "secondly," exploring a serious issue--could they make their product seem cheap? But then, instead of finishing your incomplete analysis of this important point, you bring up a completely unrelated point about profit margins!

Stick to the template, to make sure your ideas don't get confused with one another, and you'll improve.

Regards,
_________________

Eli Meyer
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21 Aug 2012, 19:23
[/quote]Hi gmatda,

This essay gets a 3.

You have some good points, and a core of a solid organization, but you need some polish before you're going to score higher. In particular, work on your organization. Your first paragraph meanders, confusing readers abou what's concluded and what's assumed. Be very, very formulaic to keep things clear! "In the prompt above, the author concludes.... He bases his conclusion on..... and on ..... Unfortunately, he makes several unwarranted assumptions linking his evidence to his conclusion."

Similarly, keep your ideas seperate--one to a pragraph! You start solidly in the sentence begining "secondly," exploring a serious issue--could they make their product seem cheap? But then, instead of finishing your incomplete analysis of this important point, you bring up a completely unrelated point about profit margins!

Stick to the template, to make sure your ideas don't get confused with one another, and you'll improve.

Regards,[/quote]

Hi Eli,

Thanks a lot. These are all wonderful comments and will help me a lot for my exam, which is coming very soon. I will practice those in my next essay and hope to get wonderful feedback from you again. Btw, I have a question regarding the examples. Can I give examples from the business sector of my country? I am afraid that the reader may not be familiar with the market of my country and hence may find it difficult to correlate.
Re: Can you please comment on my essay?   [#permalink] 21 Aug 2012, 19:23
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