Please Rate My AWA : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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Manager
Joined: 19 Aug 2013
Posts: 74
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
Schools: Anderson '16 (M)
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30 Aug 2013, 04:33
Hi guys, my GMAT exam is scheduled on Sept 6. I would appreciate it if you can rate/comment my essay below. Many thanks in advance!

The following was used as part of an internet advertising company's appeal to businesses: Furniture Depot employed our internet advertising company to help. Since then its sales increased by 10% over last year's totals. Furniture Depot's success demonstrates how using our internet services can increase your profitability.

Describe how well reasoned you find this argument. In the 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 argument's conclusion. You may also address possible changes in the argument that would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

The argument suggests that using the particular company’s internet advertising service can help to increase a business’ profitability. In doing so, the author uses Furniture Depot’s 10% increase of sales after using the internet advertising service as an example. However, this argument is faulty. This is because the some assumptions required to come into the conclusion is very strong, namely equating increase of sales to increase in profitability, referring to unsupported statistics, and using ambiguous language.

Firstly, the author mistakenly equates an increase in sales with an increase in profitability. It is not always the case that an increase in sales would result in an increase in profitability. For example, Furniture Depot might have cut prices to a level that erodes their profit margin in order to increase sales and increase their brand awareness. Also, we have to assess the cost of using the internet advertising company against the increase in profitability, if any, from to the 10% increase in sales in order to see the net profitability effect.

Secondly, the author uses unsupported statistics as an example. The author mentioned 10% increase in sales out of the blue. The 10% increase in sales may be due to many different factors and not necessarily from using the advertising company alone. For example, there might be a 10% increase in the raw materials used in Furniture Depot’s products and Furniture Depot merely pass these cost increases to the consumers with no change in quantity sold, therefore increasing total sales but not profitability.

Lastly, the argument uses ambiguous language in its conclusion. The argument suggests that the 10% increase in sales by Furniture Depot is a success. However, success is not clearly defined. We have no gauge of whether 10% increase in sales is good. It may be considered a success if last year’s sales grew less were stagnant over the previous year’s sales, but may not be considered a success if the previous year’s sales grew 25% ! over the previous year’s sales.

All in all, the argument is not very well reasoned considering the faulty assumptions required to come about to the conclusion. The argument could have been more convincing if the example of Furniture Depot’s increase in sales also includes the increase of profitability figure. Next, the author should have explained that the 10% increase of sales is due to new customers who came to Furniture Depot as a result of seeing the internet advertisement. Furthermore, the author should have clarified what he meant by “success” by providing an example as a benchmark to compare the result of using the advertising services against what it was previously.
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