Company president: Most of our best sales representatives came to the job with a degree in engineering but little or ...

on May 17, 2022

How is A wrong?

I still don't know why B is correct. B to me looks like it's strengthening the argument.

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Emil on May 21, 2022

Hi Tyler808,

(A) Tells us that some of the best reps got their engineering degree while at the company. The argument hinges on a "most" so even if it is true that some of the reps earned their degree after being hired, this does not undermine the "most." If 95% of the top reps had engineering degrees when hired, and 2% earned them after being hired, that surely does not undermine the fact that most were engineers. The "some" in (A) means that it fails to weaken the argument.

(B) Suggests that the top performers are simply representative of the general population of sales reps. Let's say that 90% of the sales reps hired are engineers, and 10% are trained salesmen. Of the top reps, maybe 90% are trained engineers, and 10% are trained salesmen. Does this prove that engineers are more likely to succeed than trained salesmen? Not necessarily- the greater proportion of trained engineers merely reflects that hiring was already biased toward engineers.

We could use a common real-world example;. While the overwhelming majority of CEOs (I don't remember the exact stats, but I think its north of 70%) of public firms are men, does this mean that men are more likely to succeed as CEOs? No! Rather, this is primarily because the talent pool from which CEOs tend to be drawn currently and historically skews male, reflecting current and historical biases.