My exam is in one week and I would greatly appreciate any feedback I can receive on my essays. These were taken from a Manhattan GMAT
CAT. ANY help is appreciated. Thanks in advance. Analysis of an issue
ESSAY QUESTION:Analysis of an argument
"Since key personal traits that make a good leader are formed during one’s childhood and youth, formal training can only refine rather than cultivate true leaders.”
Explain what you think this quotation means and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with it. Develop your position with reasons and/or specific examples drawn from history, current events, or your own experience, observations, or reading.
The author states that true leaders are created by the traits that one learns during his childhood, and that formal training can only improve these traits rather than create true leaders. I disagree with this statement as I believe true leaders emerge everyday based on their experiences, not just the traits they learned during childhood.
Leadership is an important skill that can be learned from a variety of means. These different means put together form a mastery of the skill that is greater than any individual part alone, otherwise known as synergy. A good leader learns from his reading about the subject, being led by a superior leader, and actually executing his leadership skills on others. Each one of these methods is helpful in becoming a leader, but put together, form a great leader. Furthermore, each one of these methods is experienced after childhood and provides additional support to my argument that great leaders can be created and refined during formal training.
As a child, ones maturity and mental capacity is not nearly as large as an adults. For this reason, adults are more inclined to pick up more advanced skills, such as leadership. Children who demonstrate leadership skills may be doing so without realizing it, while an adult who is actively aware of his actions might try his best to demonstrate his leadership skills. Formal training is rigorous and allows an adult to experience situations that he may not have experienced before. Children who formed good leadership skills during childhood may not have experienced these situations and as a result will be unprepared if the situation actually does arise later in life.
During my childhood I was often shy and never stood out as a real leader. Today, I am the exact opposite and volunteer to lead people. I've had many leadership experiences through my class projects and internships. In the latter, I was formally trained on exemplifying good leadership skills. This training was invaluable in my development as an aspiring leader.
For all of these reasons and more, I disagree with the author that good leaders are people who learned leadership traits only as a child. I am able to support my statement through the observations and experiences I previously mentioned.
The following appeared in a trade publication for the insurance industry:
“Each generation of Americans has lived longer that the ones preceding it, as the national life expectancy has approached 80 years old in recent years. The progress of medical technology shows no sign of abating. Therefore, we can confidently predict that most children born in America in the next decade will live past the age of ninety.”
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.
The argument states that the current average life expectancy of Americans is eighty years old, and that within the next decade, average life expectancy will increase to over ninety years old. I believe that the author's logic is flawed for many reasons that I will explain below. His lack of evidence discredits his statements and does not allow one to draw a valid conclusion.
First, the author supports his conclusion by citing that the progress of medical technology shows no sign of slowing down. This statement makes the assumption that medical technology alone is responsible for the increase in average life expectancy. Without any further information this statement is insufficient, as it is not supported by any evidence. The current increase in average life expectancy could be due to any number of things such as a decrease in disease, a less polluted environment, or a better knowledge of nutrition.
Second, the author assumes that based on the current progress of medical technology, the average life expectancy will surpass ninety years old. Even if all advances in average life expectancy were due to progress in medical technology, the author assumes that within a decade, average life expectancy will increase by over ten years. This implies that the increase in average life expectancy is linear and that each year, average life expectancy will increase by one.
Third, the author assumes that all future progress in increasing average life expectancy will occur at the same rate that it does today. The author even goes on to say that we can confidently predict this increase in average life expectancy. The future is uncertain and nobody knows what it will bring. War, famine, and disease are just some of the things that could happen over the next decade. The author makes the assumption that even if these life changing events occurred, the average life expectancy will still increase over the next ten years.
Based on the above assumptions, I find that this argument is flawed. The author's lack of evidence makes me doubt the credibility of his statements. Having sufficient evidence is essential to supporting the author's claims.