Lisa began exploring different careers while studying for a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the University of York. As she had already decided against pursuing a career as a psychologist she approached a careers adviser to help find alternative careers. Several options were offered, and of these, market research and analysis were the most appealing to her.
Many elements of my psychology degree were well suited to the role of market researcher. I found that in particular the research and analysis I had undertaken at university were relevant. The primary research skills I developed and the ability to analyse results have proven invaluable in this role. Additionally, I often undertake a literature review to provide context to a situation so the experience of doing this for my degree was also useful.
I applied for the position of market researcher after seeing it advertised online, although my role has developed from that original position. I take responsibility for some areas of our company's workload and now manage a part-time member of staff. An increasingly important aspect of my role is time management and ensuring that projects are planned out to allow enough time for all of the research elements to be completed.
The role is varied; typical tasks include managing online surveys, analysis of secondary data, web-based research, competitor benchmarking, primary research e.g. focus groups, visiting clients, helping to create proposals for tenders. I enjoy the variety; because the company I work for is small, we have a number of projects running for a range of clients, so the work is different from day to day rather than constantly doing the same tasks.
I particularly like that I work for a small company so I am involved in projects from start to finish. Working for a smaller enterprise means that I am more active in administration activities than may be the case in larger companies that have dedicated administrative staff, but I don't really see this as a negative. As I have a wide number of different tasks to do in any one day, I often have the flexibility to choose what I do when, of course ensuring that everything is completed for the required deadlines.
I enjoy my role and hope to progress upwards. I have completed qualifications from the Market Research Society (MRS) and I am in the process of finishing off my Masters in services marketing this month. I think it is an interesting and varied career. I would advise students to look at the role as a way to use the research skills, communication and teamwork they have developed during their degree.
For people applying to market researcher positions, my advice is that you need to show that you can think 'so what…' when looking at data rather than just describing it, as this always adds value to the client. Excel skills are also vital, as is the ability to use online surveys, so if this has been part of someone's undergraduate study then they should emphasise this in their application form and at interview.
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