Archive for the ‘Student Life’ Category


Looking through kaleidoscope of optimism: life at IE

Written on September 5, 2014 by MRCB Staff & Students in Student Life

While I write this blog, it is raining heavily in New Delhi. With each drop of rain, and its tip-top voice falling into my ears, all I am getting reminded of is how with each drop of water, a sea transforms into an ocean. I know I should be thinking of something very fragile and nice. But as my mind wanders a little further, it takes me to a question, or more so a situation, that what if it keeps raining continuously for the next sixty days orRachit so?!

Of course, a very obvious situation would be that of a flood like situation, that water level would rise and it would be a difficult scenario to live routine life. But that is obvious! And given this situation in reality, a lot of people would simply swing into awry. But my question is not what would happen; it is rather: what could we do to live in such a situation.

Would we go snorkeling, just swimming, or sailing to live? My idea is whatever way, you got to live and live with hopes of better things to happen in future. I would go sailing although! That is what metamorphosis is: a transformation into something really different of a particular procedure. As a drop of water gets metamorphose into a sea and a gigantic ocean one day, life lived with hope and attitude of rising from setbacks metamorphose into a life led successfully with grandeur.

Now as I reverse my mind’s gear to come to reality, I have come to realize why I am thinking about transformations and why each drop of rain is reminding of seas and oceans and not a cup of coffee or something really crispy to eat!

Actually all this is just like the journey, and I am sure for many too, of getting into IE. Each drop of rain getting transformed into sea is like each moment of life getting together to put forth a strong candidature to get in, and then the conversion into a gigantic ocean is like getting transformed from a rational human-being into a person full of apt knowledge and set to succeed and create difference in business world after graduating.

As I get my kaleidoscope of optimism out, I am really looking forward towards my life at IE with a lot of hope, knowledge, friends, fun, and explore the beautiful city of Madrid.

Written by: Rachit Kapoor, India, MRCB ’15


I consider myself extremely fortunate having been selected by IE, and ESOMAR, a worldwide association for market researchers, to attend the Qualitative 2013 conference in the beautiful city of Valencia, Spain. The two-day event centered upon the theme of “Brilliant Transformations,” and brought a number of the brightest minds across the industry together, in a forum to share innovative projects and ideas. I participateESOMAR IE Studentsd in the conference as a Networking Facilitator through ESOMAR’s Future Talent Meets the Industry initiative, which aims to educate and expose future market researchers to the current talent.

Before the conference started, a fellow MRCB’er, chosen by ESOMAR, and I traveled to Valencia a couple days early to explore the city. This was one of the best decisions I made that week! Our hotel stood right on the foot of the breathtaking Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a linear architectural complex based in a former riverbed. This series of modern structures provides a fascinating contrast to the much more historic city center. After exploring both of these areas (during the day and night), we ventured to La Malvarrosa Beach, and enjoyed some Valencian beer, made surprisingly enough, with seawater. Although it sounds strange, it was delicious, and offered the perfect compliment to the seafood paella we enjoyed overlooking the water.

When the conference began with a networking session of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres I learned my position technically entailed helping with logistical matters; but the ESOMAR staff was so incredibly well prepared, that I spent the majority of my time mingling with others. It was unduly refreshing that the staff’s main priority was to allow the five Facilitators (three from IE, and two from other Spanish Universities) to network and learn from the exceptionally diverse attendees. I must admit, as a student with no prior experience in the field of Market Research, approaching some of the participants was quite intimidating. However, I quickly found out that qualitative researchers are some of the most open and welcoming professionals, which seems obvious as their job usually entails these traits. This stereotype apESOMAR presentationplied to both the participants who ESOMAR selected to share their research papers, and those who were simply present to hear their peer’s thoughts. Many levels of management were present, but there seemed to be a great deal of participants who assumed leadership roles in their companies, whether by ascension or creation. During the first session I was privileged to meet the CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation, Gayle Fuguitt; Stacy Graiko, Director at Firefly Millward Brown; Ray Poynter, Director at Vision Critical University; Jack Ramsey, Social Strategist for VisionsLive, and also reconnected with IE Professor Andrew Vincent, founder of Waves Research UK. Thirty-five countries and seventy-five companies were present, yet regardless of an individual’s background, everyone seemed happy to share insights about navigating the industry.

Perhaps the most salient portion of the conference occurred when the 250 participants split up into roughly twelve groups to discuss topics pertinent to the current market researcher. Our group depressingly received, “What are the biggest threats to qualitative research, and how do you see this affecting the industry?” Initially, I watched, fascinated, as such a diverse group of individuals attempted to communicate, and then related their strategies to my own group work at IE. Age does not change the fact that working with others is, at times, difficult! However, my group eventually agreed that the biggest threat to their industry is convincing upper level management and C-suite individuals of the significance of qualitative research. This was not exactly an encouraging development, but as one fellow member told me, “It’s your job to overcome this perception.”

Her words resonated with me, and I think summarized the broader implications of this conference. I was there to learn about the industry, both the good and the bad. Consequently, it is now my responsibility to utilize the knowledge gained in conjunction with my own ideas to situate myself within this exciting profession.

Skylar Elisberg, MRCB ’14, USA 

Skylar in Valencia


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


Words of Wisdom from a MRCB Alumna

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

Two months after graduation, we had the chance to catch up with Saswati Saha Mitra, MRCB ’13 alumna, to give us some words of wisdom for the upcoming 2013-2014 intake. This is what she had to say!


I wish I knew these…

In any new staSaswatirt, there are certain things you know about the journey ahead and many things which you don’t. It’s always a leap of faith but unlike in other aspects of life, in MRCB you have the alumni to share some of their learning. So, when Lilian asked me to share a few things, I wish I had known before I started the program, it got me thinking….


Each one of you will come to IE with very different motivations. Your motivations will also change in the course of the year. So whether your aim is to experience living in Spain or doing well in school, you have to understand your own motivations first, and if possible, discuss it as a group each term as you work with new people. I wish I had known this before because it helps you review where you stand vis-à-vis your goals every 3 months- do you want to explore something else or how are you gaining from this experience at a personal level? It also helps you understand better where your teammates stand and what they are willing to achieve and what kind of a coping strategy will you as a group, need to adopt when perceptions begin to change, diverge or even better, converge.


Treat the business challenges seriously. As soon as you graduate and hit the job market, in most Research or Marketing profiles, you will be asked to show some of your work as a part of the interview process. In such situations, what you do in the business challenges might often form a crucial part of your portfolio. Due to NDAs, you may not be able to share your exact findings but the fact that you can talk knowledgeably about a sector and its challenges, will go far in gaining the interviewer’s confidence. So really, do everything you can to produce your best work in these challenges because it will serve you in the long run and in the short run, why not enjoy the best seats in Bernabeu or a brand new phone for your efforts.

Venture Lab

Amidst all the course work, it will be very easy to ignore the Venture Lab but ignoring it will be a big mistake. It is one of the most unique things about IE, where you get so much assistance to develop a business that you will not realize what a resource it is till you try to do it all on your own or learn that no other European business school has such a strong venture development program. Make a little time, push yourself a little bit and give this a shot. You might walk away in 10 months with a company of your own and then recession or no recession, you will still have work to do.

And for more “wish I knew” or any other help we can provide you, join us on Facebook in the IE MRCB Alumni group.


An Evening of Creativity and Innovation

Written on September 9, 2013 by MRCB Staff & Students in Student Life

TEDx Team

Ideas are a dozen a minute, but truly great ideas need time. The idea of the inaugural class of students in IE’s Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior was to organize a TEDx event at IE. Inspired by the possibility of what great thoughts may arise from Spain in these interesting times, 18 students set out in November 2012 to put together the very best of ideas on the topic of “Creativity in Times of Adversity”.

After seven months of diligent curation of speakers, hectic sponsor search, and planning the event to its smallest details, the show that unfolded on the 15th of July.  It was simple, elegant and left its attendees with several moments of inspiration. Whether it was Eva Herber’s focus on positive psychology for greater workplace resilience and success or Ricardo Reis’ encouragement to have more fun, Martin Boehm’s importance of differentiation in business or Paris de l’ Etraz’s call to take risks, the young and the experienced speakers enthralled the audience with the diversity of their views and a unified passion for their vocation. An equally enthusiastic audience participated whole heartedly in the interactions during the breaks and a brilliant moment of letting go, conducted by the actress, Patricia Morales.

Ending the evening with a networking event at IE’s Shigeru Ban Paper Pavillion, the organizers hoped that the event will be continued next year by the incoming group of students

Written by: Saswati Saha Mitra, MRCB ´13 Alumna


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