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Intern
Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 1

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29 Jul 2012, 08:38
Hello,

I'm getting a pretty consistent score (5.0 - real GMAT 1, 5.0 - real GMAT 2, 5.0 - GMAT Write 1, 4.0 - GMAT Write 2) for my AWA. I'm using a template for the argument essay (structure, phrases), thus all my essays look very similar to each other. Since I'm using the same template and getting pretty much the same consistent score, it makes me believe that there is some common flaw in my template/approach that does not allow me to get a higher score.

Here are two of my recent essays that were graded by GMAT Write. I would appreciate if someone suggests on how my template/approach/structure can be improved:

GMAT Write 1:

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."

The argument above states that in order to gain customers for its new coffee brand, the Excelsior Company should repeat what Superior company did before: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reduction, and discount coupons. The argument is based on several unsupported assumptions and, therefore, fails to be persuasive.

First, the argument is rooted in the assumption that the current coffee market is similar to the market when Superior introduced its newest brand of coffee. This assumption is faulty. It is possible, that Superior introduced its latest coffee brand many years ago, when there were no established brands of coffee on the market. Hence, people were interested in the new product and were willing to try it. However, nowdays the market already has multiple well-known brands and, therefore, Superior's old startegy might not work for Excelsior.

Second, the author assumes that the level of customer's awarness about the Excelsior brand is the same as that of the Superior brand. However, the author provides no evidence to support this assumption. For instance, currently Excelsior might a company that produces software. Thus, most of the coffee customers do not know anything about Excelsior. Superior, at the same time, is the leading company on the coffee market. Hence, people might want to try a new product from the industry leader, but will not want to do the same for the company that they haven't heard about. Therefore, the author cannot assume that the strategy that worked for Superior will work for Excelsior.

To make the argument persuasive, the author needs to provide more evidence to support his key assumptions. For example, the author might provide some statistical data to prove that the level of customer's awarness about the Excelsior brand is the same as that of the Superior brand. Furthermore, the author might demonstrate that the strategy that his proposing has already worked for the Excelsior brand in a certain small region.

Without such evidence the conclusion of the argument remains unconvincing.

Total Score: 5 (Analyzes the issue:5; Supports ideas: 4; Organizes a coherent idea: 5; Language control: 5)

GMAT Write 2:

The following appeared in a report to shareholders of Watchweek, a popular news magazine:
"Over the last few years, Watchweek has had trouble retaining employees, and few employees are being promoted to higher management positions from within the company. To improve employee retention and advancement, the board of directors recently hired a new Managing Editor, Norman Wyman. For the past few years, Wyman has been the Creative Editor at Pattycake Publishing, a leading publisher of children’s books. Mr. Wyman plans to employ a new management philosophy that he developed while at Pattycake Publishing: he gets employees actively involved in their work through an increased use of interactive computer technologies and collaborative group projects. This approach encouraged creativity and resourcefulness in Pattycake Publishing's employees, and it will surely convince more of Watchweek'semployees to stay and advance within the company."

The argument above states that applying Norman Wyman's management philosophy is going to improve employee retention and advancement at Watchweek. The argument is based on several unsupported assumptions and, therefore, fails to be persuasive.

First, the argument is rooted in the assumption that the low employee retention and advancement is caused by the lack of everyday tasks that require an active involvement, creativity and collaboration. However, the author provides no evidence to support this key assumption. One can assume that the low employee retention is caused by some other factor. For example, it might be caused by bad working conditions or non-competitive compensation package. Hence, by making an employee more involved in his or her work, Mr. Wyman will not be able to address the main problem and, therefore, will not be able to convince employees to stay and advance within the company.

Second, the author assumes that the management philosophy that worked for a children's book plublishing company will work for a news magazine company. This assumptions is faulty. For instance, collaborative work on a book for children can be entertaining and fun, while collaborative work on a news article that covers war events or some weather disaster can be the opposite. Thus, one cannot assume that practices that encourged creativity and resourcefulness among the employees at Pattycake Publishing will cause the same effect at Watchweek.

To make the argument persuasive, the author needs to provide more evidence to support his key assumptions. For example, the author might explain that the main reason for leaving among the ex-Watchweek employees was lack of projects that required active involvment, creativity and collaborative work. Moreover, the author can demonstrate that Wyman's philosophy had been adopted in other news magazine companies similar to Watchweek and produced positive results.

Without such evidence the conclusion of the argument remains unconvincing.

Overall Score: 4 (Focus and Meaning: 4; Content and Development: 4; Organization: 4; Language Use and Style: 4; Mechanics and Conventions: 4)

Thanks,
Michael

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Intern
Joined: 20 Aug 2017
Posts: 38

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 5

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27 Sep 2017, 07:20
mnarinsky wrote:
Hello,

I'm getting a pretty consistent score (5.0 - real GMAT 1, 5.0 - real GMAT 2, 5.0 - GMAT Write 1, 4.0 - GMAT Write 2) for my AWA. I'm using a template for the argument essay (structure, phrases), thus all my essays look very similar to each other. Since I'm using the same template and getting pretty much the same consistent score, it makes me believe that there is some common flaw in my template/approach that does not allow me to get a higher score....

Thanks,
Michael

Michael, hi. Here is a GMAT Write attempt I just made for the Watchweek example. It gave me a score of 6, though I didn't really use a template. I'm a little confused as to why I received a 6 overall when my 4 individual scores were 6, 5, 5 and 5. Any thoughts? Anyway, perhaps this will help.

In order to address challenges with retention and employee advancement, Watchweek has brought on Norman Wyman, previously from Pattycake Publishing, publisher of children's book. The rationale given for this move is that Mr. Wyman's management philosophy, centered around getting employees actively involved in their work, would help Watchweek's keep employees and advance more of them from within the company. The argument provided lacks evidence is full of holes and is ultimately unconvincing.

Firstly, the company is trying to address a problem without having arrived at an understanding of its root causes. Nowhere in the report do the authors discuss why retention has gone down and why few employees are being promoted to higher management. One cannot address a problem without understanding its root causes. If in fact the root cause is understood to be that employees are insufficiently involved in their work, this fact should be mentioned as a premise. Instead, it's an assumption that is likely false, especially around advancement. Studies have shown that hiring for leadership positions from within correlates directly with the development of employee skills, which is not addressed by the company's plan. Also, the authors imply that sometime in the past retention and advancement were not issues for Watchweek. Therefore, it would be wise of Watchweek to understand if what worked well in the past could be applied to the current situation.

Secondly, the report states that the challenges faced by Watchweek are company-wide. However, the Managing Editor role does not oversee all employees. Therefore, at best, this hire would impact a subset of employees. A better approach would have been to hire someone who could impact or oversee the entire organization.

Thirdly, there is an assumption that what worked in the children's book market would work for a watch magazine. This is flawed as the children's book market is about delivering creative content, whereas Pattycake focuses on reporting watch industry news. The author provides no evidence that what worked at Pattycake will work at Watchweek. Producing children's books is more suited toward collaborative group projects than reporting on the latest industry news, technology and styles in the world of watches. Moreover, the author's fail to mention that the approach used by Mr. Wyman even impacted retention or advancement at Pattycake. The inclusion of Mr. Wyman's past results around retention and advancement would add some credibility to the decision to hire Mr. Wyman.

Fourthly, hiring someone from outside the organization for a leadership role to help address lack of advancement is paradoxical and flawed. A better approach would have been to hire someone from within for this role, thereby immediately beginning to address the advancement challenge. This alternative approach would also have the benefit that the internal hire would bring experience and knowledge of the existing culture to help turn things around.

In summary, while Watchweek claims that its decision to hire Mr. Wyman will help the company in two important ways - keeping employees and hiring from within - the report provides little evidence that this approach was well thought out or will work.

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 5

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