Looking for feedback on AWA Essay

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Looking for feedback on AWA Essay

by mcalderone » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:17 pm
Hi Everyone--I recently began studying for the GMAT and this is my first practice essay. I was wondering if anyone would be generous enough to provide any feedback, suggestions for improvement, and what they think it would score. Open to all feedback, both positive and negative. Thank you in advance!

Prompt:

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery: “The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.” Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Response:

This report from the directors meeting is flawed for several reasons. The individuals presenting this idea of manufacturing delays causing a reduction in profit, and in turn, offering a suggestion to replace the current purchasing manager, omit several key components which hinders the argument. Furthermore, the suggestions presented rely heavily on assumptions which simply cannot be made to offer an appropriate solution.

First, this report falsely assumes that the falling revenues of the company are a direct cause of poor planning in the purchasing of metals. However, this claim has no strongly supported evidence, despite the directors’ attributing the falling revenues and a delay in manufacturing. Given that there are several components within the manufacturing process, each which could be a leading attribute to the delays in question, one cannot simply point to one of these facets within the manufacturing process as being the leading cause without further review. In addition to this assumption, the report also incorrectly assumes that the falling revenue is a direct result of the manufacturing delays. In actuality, there could be several other leading causes of this decrease in revenue—for example, the company offering inferior quality in their parts or other manufacturers offering a much more competitive price for these manufactured parts. One final assumption that this report makes is in their recommendation that hiring a scientist from the research team to become the purchasing manager would mediate their issues due to the research scientist knowing more about the metals. We cannot assume that the scientist would know anything at all about the metals being purchased, however, as there is no mention of his specific background. If the scientist’s background was related to research involving the technology used at the company, he or she would likely not be knowledgeable at all in the properties of metals being bought, and in turn, not a helpful replacement.

This report is also weakened by the fact that it uses vague language throughout its argument, making it impossible to determine its accuracy. One example of this would be in discussing the current purchasing manager’s background. The directors claim that the manager knows very little about the properties of metals. How exactly would they quantify this knowledge of the purchasing manager and how does it affect the overall purchasing process? This knowledge of the purchasing manager also does not provide a benchmark. For example, does the purchasing manager know very little relative to other similar purchasing managers at competing manufacturers, or are they comparing him/her to the world’s leading experts on metal properties? If the purchasing manager knows enough about the metals in order to make a sound decision on which to purchase, that would be a valuable attribute. The purchasing manager might also not need to have this knowledge if he or she has a team of subject matter experts assisting him with the process.


Further review would be necessary in order for these directors to accurately support their argument, including determining all influences that would affect the manufacturing process and the company’s falling profits. By bringing in additional factors, the directors can more strongly predict causes of their falling revenue and offer suggestions based on that. An additional suggestion would be for the company to do a complete analysis of how their current purchasing manager is doing in the role. The information gathered from this would help determine if the recommendation to replace the purchasing manager is warranted. In summary, the findings in this report and the coinciding recommendation is inconclusive and merits additional information.

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