“What can I do now to prepare for a career in market research?” she asked

June 20th, 2017 by Kathy Costello

A friend of mine is an adjunct professor at a local university, and recently invited me to speak to her qualitative methods class as part of a career day panel. There were tons of great questions, but one question in particular really got me thinking. ‘What should I do now to prepare for a career in market research?’ Wow. A great question but where to start?


When I look back at my own career I see lots of sensible advice I could offer, but it all really boils down to one thing. Find what you’re good at and what you enjoy the most, but don’t limit yourself. And by that, I mean explore the poles – do you enjoy statistics and data mining and telling a story with numbers? How about finding themes in the data that comes from talking to people as individuals or in groups? Do you have a preference for quant vs qual? Or, maybe you’re equally enamored with both.


Even if you have an affinity for a specific type of research over another, it can never hurt to learn everything you can about a variety of research specialties even if, or especially if, the methods and techniques aren’t typically utilized in your chosen research domain. I’m not suggesting that you need to become an expert in everything. The point is that a little bit of knowledge will give you an appreciation for how your peripheral research colleagues approach problems; and will ultimately make you a smarter, stronger researcher regardless of the path you choose.