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Specialization Spotlight: Marketing Research

by Sarah Kervin, Assistant Director of the A.C. Nielsen Center Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Marketing Research specialization is supported by the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research, where business leaders are trained to be the voice of the consumer. Students are given the business acumen to work in cross-functional teams, the research and methodological foundation to manage research projects and the marketing knowledge to translate the results into business programs that impact the bottom line.

Key Characteristics of Successful Students

Marketing researchers are curious, intelligent people who have a drive to get to the “why” behind behavior. They empathize with the consumer while having the analytical mind to decipher the data and the ability to tell the story effectively. Individuals who like to dive deep into data and those from a sociological, psychological, or anthropological background should consider Marketing Research as their specialization.

Roles After Graduation

Our alumni go on to be consumer insight specialists, marketing research analysts, global insights managers, directors, and VPs. Students who are more focused on analytics choose to go to firms such as Nielsen or Burke Inc. while others work for companies like General Mills, SC Johnson, PepsiCo, and Eli Lilly.

Marketing Research students at the Skittles headquarters

Coursework the Creates Expertise

To launch our students into their post-MBA careers successfully, we combine a mixture of core courses and marketing research specializations courses. Marketing Analytics is a particularly loved course that helps students recognize the different quantitative methodologies they need to understand the data and get results. Our Consumer Insights Consulting Class is action packed with real world projects from companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Kraft Heinz. Students pair up to tackle marketing research questions being asked by their company. The course mimics real-life projects with check-ins and brainstorming sessions with the rest of the “team” (i.e. classmates).

Similarly, we have our Current Topics course across all four semesters of MBA course work. This allows students time to learn current trends in marketing research direct from the companies themselves. This course also allows for hands on training to prepare students for their post-MBA positions starting on day. One example of this is our storytelling class. This time is dedicated to students learning the key skills that allow them to turn data into a meaningful business story. We bring in a marketing research firm founder and expert storyteller to take our students through and intense training that leaves them ready to take on the challenge of telling a meaningful story.

Applied Learning Opportunities

Our academics, hiring partners and alumni are all important parts to the A.C. Nielsen Center, but another particularly impactful part of our program is our External Advisory Board. This is a group of over 30 companies that guides the Center and our students. Each company is represented by an impressive consumer insights or marketing research professional. These individuals mentor our students, coach them, do mock interviews and dedicate time at least twice a year to come to campus for our External Advisory Board Meetings.

The A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research launches curious, data-driven people into the fast growing field of consumer insights. Our courses, applied learning opportunities and extensive network helps our students to have an impact starting on day one of their post-MBA career. Individuals who enjoy the pursuit of understanding human beings and harnessing the power of data should reach out to us to learn more!