Stewart SlipherEvery semester, the students and staff of the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research have the tremendous opportunity to interact, learn, and grow in partnership with its External Advisory Board here on the University of Wisconsin campus. As a student, I felt that these meetings have been one of the most-value added experiences that extended my passion for the marketing research profession far beyond the classrooms at Grainger Hall.

This spring, the External Advisory Board meeting was certainly no different in the great value it provided to Wisconsin’s marketing research community in terms of growing student relationships and exploring the most prevalent industry trends. Throughout the two day event, the Board convened to discuss the continual transformation of the A.C. Nielsen Center as well as bring together the leading minds of the marketing research profession to best navigate the uncertain future of business. One of the key overarching topics presented was Wisconsin’s pivot towards the future of the marketing research industry. This topic included discussion on how to best rebrand the A.C. Nielsen Center to attract talent for the future and best reflect recent industry changes towards data and analytics. Furthermore, business professionals, students, and staff collaborated on perfecting the new Masters of Business Analytics program to maximize the effectiveness of future leaders in harnessing growing amounts of data to drive business decision-making through effective insights.

A.C. Nielsen Spring 2019 AB Meeting

Though much of the External Advisory Board’s discussions focused upon the future, there were great opportunities to continue learning about present-day matters in marketing research. In addition to hearing the latest on prevailing company approaches to effectively managing their research function, participants also explored the ongoing endeavor to evaluate corporate equal opportunity and diversity initiatives in Dr. Markus Brauer’s discussion, “Approaching MLK’s Dream: Scientifically Tested Methods to Reduce Racism and Promote Inclusivity”. His charge to scientifically evaluate current corporate diversity programs and effectively measure their progress gave fresh new perspective on committing even more to truly inclusive workplace environments.

Throughout the event, students benefitted tremendously from networking, connecting with industry partners, and gathering as much mentorship as possible prior to excelling in internships and full-time jobs in the summer. It was a fantastic medium to get to know our leading industry experts on a professional and personal level while preparing to build upon the paths crafted over many years of experience and learning. I look towards graduation with great optimism that we as students and future business leaders are in good hands with the care and guidance that our External Advisory Board provides us along our educational journey.