Why is the question that has been crossing my mind since arriving in Madrid, Spain

Written on October 11, 2013 by MRCB Staff & Students in News

Why is the question that has been crossing my mind since arriving in Madrid, Spain to be a part of the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior (MRCB).MCC MVM MRCB OPEN 2013 102

Why didn’t I do this sooner?
Why did it take me so long to get here?

There are so many reasons that I’ve used to talk myself out of this in the past:

1)     It’s expensive. What happens when the exchange rate doesn’t go my way?

2)     I work in finance. How do I apply this to market research?

3)     I have been out of school for a few years. Do I even know how to study anymore?

4)     I don’t have any ties in Europe. Will I be lonely?

5)     It’s a big change. Can I handle it?


I’m sure that if you’re reading this you’re also having some of the same circular frenzy going around in your mind.

Let me be the first to dispel all of your worries one-by-one.

First and foremost, this opportunity is an investment in yourself – your future. As cliché as it sounds, if you set your mind to it, then you will find a way to make this happen. I did a lot of research into other schools with comparable programs. There were a few one-year programs in the United States that would have been around $80,000, including all expenses for the year. Depending on the fluctuation of the dollar/euro conversion, you’re going to end up paying less for an education abroad, even when you include living expenses.

There are also the intangible assets – the things that money cannot buy – that come along with being a part of a program with an international scope. A new language, a new culture and a new way of thinking surround you. I can already feel myself being molded by the experiences that I’ve had in Madrid. You truly have the world at your fingertips. All you have to do is take a look at the people in your classroom, and you can feel that the world becomes a little bit smaller and everyone more interconnected.

Before coming to Madrid, I worked in the financial industry. My role was to create marketing materials – brochures and website content – as well as maintain a rapport with clients. I considered myself a brand manager of sorts. Now, how does all of this relate to market research? It took me a while to see how my piece fit into the puzzle. Once I really broke down the components of my job, I began to see how a lot of what I was doing was actually market research. I was looking for relevant articles for clients to keep them informed on market trends and outlooks. With each event that we held, I was creating follow-up emails with questionnaires to benchmark client engagement and loyalty. It was my job to maintain the customer-centric image of the group and stay two steps ahead of other financial teams. That requires a lot of research on current markets as well as potential markets. I know that with this program, my notion of what a typical market research analyst is was challenged. You’ll come to find that market research professional doesn’t fit into a specific mold – we take on many forms and wear many different hats.

Another major concern of mine was figuring out how to get back into the swing of being a student again. I completed my undergraduate coursework a few years ago and have convinced myself that I have lost the kind of discipline it takes to study and prepare for tests and major projects. However, I have to give myself some credit. I have been in the working world for two years and working odd hours in finance. It’s almost like I never left college – late nights working on prospectus plans and cramming for a presentation the next day. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve lost your “mojo,” but I don’t think it ever truly disappears, especially if you’ve been working in a position with strict deadlines. Your life hasn’t changed much. You’re actually still operating your life under a similar structure. The transition back into academia will not be easy, but it’s certainly nothing to be afraid of.

Transitioning from work to student is not the only major change that you’ll be going through. You’ll also be leaving friends, family and everything that gives you a sense of home. Just having gone through this transition myself, I can tell you that it was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. However, in being here for the past 2 months, I’ve found that I have a bigger support system than I ever knew. It’s amazing what kind of passion you tap into with other people when you take a chance of this magnitude. You’re not only living out your dreams, but you’re giving others a chance to vicariously live theirs through you as you begin this amazing journey of self-discovery in the MRCB program.

There will be days when you miss home and just need a touch of something familiar. That’s when you find you become closer to your classmates, because we are all in the same boat. Those are the moments when you remember why you’re here and become excited about what the future holds for you.

We are being given the chance to do something that so few people allow themselves the opportunity to experience. We have a chance to pursue a road less traveled and to take our future in our own hands.

By: Cassie Hoz ’14, USA


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