MBA pay is falling, right?

January 15, 2013
Lucas Weingarten


If you have not yet started reading and you are interested in pursuing a graduate management degree, then you need to start

right after you read this blog post.  It was actually one of my Kaplan GMAT students who first turned me onto it and it has been a regular feature in my internet reading ever since.

How about the Wall Street Journal?  Have you ever heard of that?  I know, I know… absurd question.  Here’s the problem, though: according to founder and regular contributor, John A. Byrne, WSJ is promulgating some unfortunate misinformation.  As popular as I know P&Q is, Mr. Byrne’s article, titled “Silly News,” will reach a very small fraction of those who have read the WSJ article it is attacking.

In sum, the Journal makes a classic argumentative flaw; one that is tested profusely on the GMAT.  It is called ‘representativeness.’  For those of you who have studied Critical Reasoning questions, specifically those CR questions within the argument family (aka, the assumption family), you may well have heard of this flaw.

We know that when we are presented with an argument on the GMAT, we will always be given two of the three component parts of an argument.  We will always be given a conclusion and we will always be given evidence that presumably allows the author to reach that conclusion.  What we will never be given is the author’s assumption(s).  They are of course inherent in the argument, but we can only derive them by using the primary core competency tested by the GMAT: critical thinking.  Incidentally, representativeness is such a common flaw, pattern recognition (another of the GMAT four core competencies) is all you’ll need after this and several other flaw types are on your radar.

Basically, if an argument uses statistical data as evidence to drive a conclusion, your immediate question should be, “Is the group studied representative of the group in the conclusion?”  Think about size of the study, time duration of the study, who specifically was studied, and whether there might be any inherent biases in how the study was set up or conducted.

In the real life example provided by the exchange between WSJ and P&Q, John Byrne identifies a mismatch between the group in the study and the group in the conclusion.  I want you to read both articles.  In fact, I want you to read the WSJ article first and try to derive the critical question that weakens the argument.  In other words, try to identify how John Byrne is going to attack it.  This will be excellent practice for making predictions—a requisite skill for Critical Reasoning question success!  Then, read the article.  Finally, come back here and post your comments!!

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten is a full-time instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and he loves preparing GRE students for Test Day. The classroom is Lucas’ arena. When he cannot be found in one of Kaplan’s cage matches of learning, he is very likely dancing around DePaul University’s College of Commerce/Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago professing various courses offered by the Department of Management, up to and including monikers such as: “Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship Strategy,” “Strategic Managements and Analysis,” “Human Resource Management,” “Recruitment and Selection,” and “Foundations of Business Thought and Theory.” (Although that last one was cancelled just before the quarter started and he’s still not gotten over it.) Lucas spent most of his formative years in North Carolina, but hit the long road as soon as he was able. A world traveler with a currently expired passport, he has lived on and wandered around three continents with the expressed intention of finishing the job. He holds a BFA with a concentration in sculpture as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. When not challenging standardized tests to a duel or wondering how to corrupt the business students of America, Lucas can be found brewing delicious beers, riding-then-fixing-then-riding his motorcycle, hanging out with dogs, pretending he’s a good cook, and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have such a fantastic wife and endlessly amazing young son. He’s in Milwaukee now, but is in Chicago often. Email him anytime about anything at:

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