Market research as a career – Introduction

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Marke Research as a Career
Tags: , , ,

Forrester Research, A Global Research & Advisory Firm

In this summer, I was really lucky to intern at Forrester Research, one of the most reputable global research and advisory firms. This is my first market research experience out of school, inspiring me how market research is like as a career. Honestly, it was not an internship that I would say is very enjoyable (you might find some reasons below in this post), but it didn’t change my dream of being a future market researcher and recently I realized that what I learned at Forrester is even more that I imagined.  I’m planning to share all the valuable experiences I had during those 3 months little by little in my future posts, making them into a series called “Market Research as a Career”. In today’s very first post for this series, I’d like to begin generally and share with you some of the keywords (or phrases) of market research as a career.

Forrester and Me

Challenging, Intense, but Exciting. I don’t need to explain how many advantages of having your first internship at a big name firm in a field, but believe it or not, there are also a small number of disadvantages, especially in the market research industry. The main reason is that it is a super challenging and intense profession. And the firms, especially big firms, always have high expectations on their employees, even on the interns like me. That is because, as an industry of great intelligence and power, market research firms are  “required” by the clients to always be the best. So, it’s normal that you feel stressful and unadaptable at the beginning of your market research career. When the first time I saw the schedule of my supervisor (Mr. TJ Keitt, Senior Analyst on CIO Research Team) is full from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., I really had no idea how he would handle it.  I saw him immersed himself in the endless interviews for new research reports, inquires by current customers and request for proposals (RFP). However, he enjoyed it, so did other analysts on our team I observed. Market research as a career has its magic: be the first one to identify new trends that might change an industry, be the hero (or heroine) who save your clients out of terrible situations, be the one who is respected by thinking logically, critically and comprehensively. Nobody can ever say that is not exciting!

Communication is the KING. There is no doubt market research is a teamwork. As I talked in the previous post, it’s all about solving problems, a market research project always has a long process (10-12 steps) and it is very continuous and inter-related. In industry, due to time and budget limit, it is impossible for one single team or department to handle all the steps. Survey design, sample selection, data analysis would be assigned to different departments, or even be outsourced. Though the tasks is in the charge of different teams, the results must be logical and consistent. Therefore, effective communication to other teams is the king for working at a market research firm.

Attention to details. This is quite self-exploratory. Market analysts always work with huge datasets and complex data analysis. Even an small error in data entering will make the output nothing but garbage.

Aggressiveness makes a good researcher. I was quite reversed during my internship at Forrester. When you a newbie surrounded by super smart analysts in a meeting, it’s too hard to bravely speak out the ideas in your mind! However, you have to! TJ told me that in a market research firm, almost no promotion is caused solely by how long you have been working. The “shortcut” to become a experienced and respected researcher is to voluntarily ask for various kinds of work. In other words, be aggressive.

Like my keywords for market research as a career? What are yours?

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Comments
  1. Xue says:

    Interesting to learn… You will be a good researcher 🙂

  2. I found this article well-presented, interesting and enlightening. Many blessings for all your future endeavors!

    • Thanks for your comment, Anne! I’m so glad you like it and I appreciate your encouragement. Actually, you are the first one who give me a comment other than my friends! As I mentioned, I’ll write more about this topic in the future. You are welcome to RSS my blog or follow it by email! Hope to talk to you again!

  3. Cynthia says:

    wow…. I’d like to say……you had an AMAZING intern this summer!!! and i think these keys words are not only your experience sharing, but also are very good suggestions for us. yes everyone in this industry should be good at communicating with others, either your co-workers or your clients. then we have to be careful, as you said, details sometimes lead to fatal errors. At last, you should be confident and aggressive! don’t be afraid, you really did a pretty good job! I think you are a very promising market research!

    • Cynthia, I really appreciate the thoughts you shared with me. You made a great point that these keywords may not only for market research professionals, but also for communication practitioners who center on PR, marketing, advertising, etc. I’m glad you found this article inspiring and I’d like to thank you for naming me “a promising market researcher”! I’m so flattered!

  4. 尚方剑 says:

    我来捧场了

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