Posts Tagged ‘hands-on#8217;

2
Dec

Imagen1Seven months ago I was about to begin the third (and final) semester of my master’s in Market Research & Consumer Behavior. I was full of anticipation. Not only for what this last semester would bring, but about what would happen after the master’s. Where will I go? Who I will be working for? What will I be doing? Will I be happy? At times, I had so many questions bouncing around in my head it was hard to stay focused.

Being new to this industry and using the master’s as a first step in shifting my career, I found it challenging to demonstrate I had the right skills and knowledge to perform the jobs I was applying for. Many companies probably overlooked my resume as I did not have that one thing they look for, experience. Of course I had 4+ years of great work experience, but not in the areas I was currently applying for. I kept thinking if I could get a hiring manager on the phone or send her an email, she would understand how well the MRCB master’s had prepared me to go from the classroom to the office. On those occasions, I took every opportunity to share ample examples of working through business challenges with real clients from research phase to results presentation phase, applying learnings to critically evaluate research, developing research proposals, and learning from amazing professors that came from companies, such as Kantar Media, P&G, Millward Brown, Nielsen, and Google.

One day as I was discussing my plans to return to Boston with my professor, he mentioned that his company, Kantar Media, owns a market research agency in Boston. He offered to put me in touch. I immediately started preparing for the phone call with Human Resources that I hoped would come, and it did. For some reason this interview felt different. If I could demonstrate to this woman through my experiences during the MRCB program that it was worth putting me in contact with the hiring manager, I was that much closer to landing a job. What resulted was a great conversation about MRCB and many of the courses I had taken over the past months. Needless to say, she was quite impressed with the level of depth and quality of the courses that I had received. As we finished up the call, she was already talking about next steps…an interview with the hiring manager!

A couple days later I was on a Skype call with the hiring manager learning all about Millward Brown Digital and laughing about search marketing acronyms. I had to pause after that call and reflect on when I started my master’s I would never have been able to speak to that level about topics, like search marketing and consumer psychology. This only served to reassure me that the master’s had truly prepared me for life after MRCB. To be a professional who can go into the working world and start contributing immediately. The next step in the hiring process was to meet the rest of the team and deliver a presentation based on client data. Those next few days proved stressful as I poured every free minute I had into perfecting this presentation. I kept reminding myself to be confident and trust in what I was doing. The minute the interview/presentation started (again on Skype) I could see the faces of my soon-to-be co-workers smiling and nodding. When we began to chat more, they asked me in detail about my experience with the MRCB master’s. As I was talking through the different courses and real-life business challenges we had gone through, they were fascinated. I still remember one co-worker who mentioned, “Outside of this interview, I would make sure you list ALL of that experience on your resume. I never would have known the extensiveness of your master’s – sounds like a great program.” I thought to myself, finally, I was able to transmit what I had learned and how well equipped I was to become a professional in market research. The day of graduation, I received the exciting news; Millward Brown Digital was offering me a job in Boston!

On my first day of work, just three months ago, I expected to feel nervous. I was going to an office, meeting my boss and co-workers in-person, and was now “on my own.” However, I found myself more excited to be in this new environment and see what I would be able to accomplish. During those first few weeks, I met with many people to learn about client relationships, our online consumer panel, how we manage our data, and what the goals and strategy of the company are. At each meeting, I felt things clicking together. I kept hearing familiar words and phrases, as I was encouraged to dig deeper into areas I had questions. It is hard to put into words, but I could clearly see direct correlations between my master’s and what I was now learning in this company.

Today, I continue to learn. Every day I discover something new about search marketing and spend time on a wealth of sites devoted to the topic (one of our main performance goals is to educate ourselves on the industry). Who knew that search marketing had so many nuances? I continue to have moments where I think: I took a class in SPSS and I am comfortable with this output or I can apply what I learned about survey writing to help with this or looking at our data I know what the sample size must be to be reportable. At times, I find myself saying numerous times a day “oh I learned that in my master’s.”

As I have said before, it is truly hard to explain how the learnings in the classroom have so easily translated into my work life. They appear to be seamlessly intertwined. I have found I am less nervous when making decisions at work or trying to analyze something different. I continue every day to push myself to look at things differently, as our professors always encouraged us to do. The MRCB program prepared me for real life, one where you have to deal with ambiguities and not having all the information all the time. The few things that I have learned from my time here at Millward Brown Digital are: understand what your client’s objectives are, explore the best ways to answer those objectives, follow the data, and weave together a meaningful story. I have learned you will never have all the answers, but I do believe I could not have asked for a better program to prepare me for this career.

By: Alison Robart ’13, USA

21
Feb

MB tools  Towards the end of the first semester, things got busy with group projects and final exams. Between these hectic days we got the great news that we were going to visit Millward Brown, one of the world´s leading research agencies. We had been taking a course on Focus Groups and In-depth Interviews taught by Pepe Martinez, the Millward Brown Ibeira Managing Director; and now him and his coworkers wanted to show us their day-to-day activities at the office.

At first we thought it was going to be a visit to see the office and some of the research tools they use, but then they told us it was time to get to work. We had the chance to use and experience the latest research tools that are being used in the agency to test real marketing campaigns and visual ads. Then, we were able to try them on each other and collect our own information on current and future campaigns. It is always great to be taught theory in class from an expert or someone who is in the field, but it is an absolute pleasure to actually be able to experience it and apply the theory yourself. I believe it enriches the learning experience and ensures theory sticks with students through this type of hands-on experience.

MB workshopThe visit started with a quick workshop that included the agenda, an introduction giving us more details on what we were about to see and how the visit will take place. Everything was planned perfectly; they divided the class into two different groups rotating each on the research labs to make sure that each student would get the chance to experience every tool themselves. It was an excellent visit and our tour guides were very insightful; they had already been in the agency for few years, worked with several global clients and encouraged all students to ask questions. Moreover, we learned that Millward Brown is the only full service research agency with a dedicated global neuroscience practice. We were able to see the importance of this practice through several neuroscience research solutions they offer such as Facial Coding & Eye Tracing tools. We were also exposed to the different projective techniques the agency uses to measure brand positioning or address several clients’ research questions.

Finally, the whole class was brought together again to recap on everything we saw and reinforce the occasions each tool is used for. So far, this was one of the best experiences in the program; not just from the practical stand point but also witnessing the culture and environment from the employees was inspiring and motivating. Therefore, this visit has not only taught us a lot in terms of the latest research tools and techniques but also showed us the great advantage of working in a place where you get to do what you love.

Written by: Hanzada Youssef, Cairo, MRCB ´13

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