David ElsterDuring my first year as an MBA student, I had the good fortune of working closely with Professor Dee Warmath of the Consumer Science department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For 13 hours per week, every week, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in research within the academic world of consumer science as a student consultant.

More specifically, my research responsibilities dealt with advancing a field of study that is primarily concerned with the economics and management of the home and community.

One of my high-priority projects was a survey-based study with a goal of uncovering new insights into the drivers of financial well-being for couples, as well as a particular focus on the role of perceived ownership of money and power in spousal relationships. Findings from this study will likely support the development of effective education programs, financial products, and policies to support better financial decision-making in households.

While completing a research study in itself is rewarding, the true value of this assistantship was difficult to measure, even for a researcher like myself; however, five notable experiences were especially significant drivers of value in my student consultancy:

  1. Refining analysis tools that I will be use during my marketing research career.
  2. Further developing my ability to derive insights from analysis.
  3. Learning how to apply marketing research methodologies to solve problems outside of the business world.
  4. Managing research and panel vendors to develop a study.
  5. And, last but not least, learning from and working for Professor Dee Warmath-an esteemed researcher in the academic and corporate world.

This year was packed with incredible learning experiences, but none compared to the hands-on experience I was provided through my student consulting project.