GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

81. No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or get rich in business by conforming to conventional practices or ways of thinking.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


Whether a conformist can achieve lasting success or get rich in business primarily on the type of business involved. Iconoclasts rise to the top in newer industries and in those where consumer demand is in constant flux. Conformists ultimately prevail, however, in traditional service industries ensconced in systems and regulations.

In consumer-driven industries, innovation, product differentiation and creativity are crucial to lasting success. In the retail and media sectors, for example, unconventional products and advertising are necessary to catch the attention of consumers and to keep up with the vagaries of consumer tastes. Those who take an iconoclastic approach tend to recognize emerging trends and to rise above their peers. For example, Ted Turner’s departure from the traditional format of the other television networks and the responsiveness of to burgeoning Internet commerce propelled these two giants to leadership positions in their industries. And in technology where there are no conventional practices or ways of thinking to begin with companies that fail to break away from last year's paradigm are soon left behind by the competition.

However, in traditional service industries-such as finance, accounting, insurance, legal services and health care - lasting success and riches come not to non- conformists but rather to those who can deliver services most effectively within the confines of established practices, policies and regulations. Of course, a clever idea for structuring a deal or a creative legal manoeuvre may play a role in winning smaller battles along the way. But such tactics are those of conformists who are playing by the same ground rules as their peers. Winners are just better at the game.

In conclusion, while non-conformists tend to be the wildly successful players in technology-driven and consumer-driven industries, traditionalists are the winners in system-driven industries pervaded by policy, regulation and bureaucracy.

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