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Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay

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Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jan 2017, 10:03
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One of my (anonymous) students wrote a 6/6 essay (as graded by GMAT Write) in response to an official GMAC essay prompt, and has kindly allowed me to share his work on GMAT Club for the benefit of all.

The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of research and development at Ready-to-Ware, a software engineering firm.

The package of benefits and incentives that Ready-to-Ware offers to professional staff is too costly. Our quarterly profits have declined since the package was introduced two years ago, at the time of our incorporation. Moreover, the package had little positive effect, as we have had only marginal success in recruiting and training high-quality professional staff. To become more profitable again, Ready-to-Ware should, therefore, offer the reduced benefits package that was in place two years ago and use the savings to fund our current research and development initiatives.

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.


Your Response:

The argument presented by the Ready-to-Ware company has some validity in theory, however it lacks key information that would assist in identifying if the reasoning is truly valid. Their stance is that the current benefits package is too expensive and is a possible reason for a decline in company profits. Additionally, they believe the benefits package is unsuccessful in recruiting and training high-quality staff and that by offering a reduced package, they can increase profitability by reallocating funds to their research and development. There are a few key assumptions they are making in their argument that require additional information to be validated. Without this additional information, this argument rests solely on assumption and not fact.

The first key flaw with this argument is around the idea of their decline in profitability. The argument heavily implies that the benefits and incentives that is currently offered is a reason for the company’s decline in profits. Without any factual evidence to back this claim up, it simply cannot be taken as a fact. There are many reasons why the Ready-to-Ware company may have declining profits. These could include rising costs of hard goods, higher competition, a change in leadership, and many other factors. A few questions that would be helpful to have answered are the following. Does your competition have a similar benefits and incentives package, and if so, are they able to maintain profitability? Was there a loss in revenue over the last two years? Was there an increase in hard costs, regulatory costs, or any other type of cost that could be impacting the bottom line of the company? And per employee, what is the cost to the company of offering better benefits and incentives? If those questions were answered we could draw a better conclusion in regards to the relationship between the company’s profitability and the introduction of the current benefits and incentives package.

The second key flaw with this argument is around the assumption that reallocating funds from the benefits and incentives package into research and development will result in increased profitability for the company. There is no evidence presented that a current lack in research and development funds is holding the company back from maintaining profit margins. It is very possible that research and development would, in fact, help increase profitability. However, it is equally as likely that the existing research and development team does not have the right employees leading their projects and an increase in funds in their department would not yield a significant gain to the company. One would need to answer some key questions in order to draw a direct conclusion from this assumption. These include the following. Has the research and development team been lacking funds in recent years? Is research and development accepted as a key area for increased revenue in this industry? Is the current research and development team staffed appropriately? Do other research and development teams offer very attractive benefits and incentives programs? Without answering those key questions, this portion of the overall argument relies completely on assumption and not fact.

The third key flaw with the argument is in regards to the history of the benefits and incentives packages. Without understanding why the change was made to a more attractive program two years ago, one cannot assume that their previous program was acceptable. It is very possible that their previous benefits and incentives program was a detriment to the company and resulted in employees leaving for competitors who offered better programs. This could have resulted in a turnover period that required the company to hire and train new staff, potentially impacting profitability. Without any additional information in, the argument presented is simply an assumption. One would need to to answer many questions regarding the previous plan in order to draw a final conclusion. These questions would include: What was the reason for the change to the benefits and incentives program? What types of programs do your competitors offer? Was Ready-to-Ware losing employees because of the benefits package two years ago? Without answers to these questions, we are left with assumptions, and cannot fully judge the argument.

While on the surface this argument may make some logical sense, it lacks a great deal of information that is integral to identifying if this is a valid argument. The company certainly needs to make some type of change in order to regain profitability, however the benefits and incentives program could very well have nothing to do with the decline in profitability. The additional questions that have been presented in my analysis would allow us to gain a greater understanding of the facts, and thus make a better decision regarding whether or not the actions proposed would solve the profitability problem. Until those questions are answered, this argument rests solely on assumption.

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Re: Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2017, 14:14
Well structured. Helps.

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Re: Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay   [#permalink] 28 Dec 2017, 14:14
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Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay

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