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Career change from a marketer to researcher
posted on Sunday, 25 July 2010 17:31

Dear Career Doctor,

I'm currently working as a marketing executive for shopping malls in hk and have been in the communications and marketing field for years since my graduation.

I hold a degree in business management (overseas university) with a master degree in Journalism (local university) followed right after the 1st degree.

I'm approaching 30 this yr and am planning for a change in my career as a researcher, preferably market research (if possible) so as to minimize the risk and utilize my skills and knowledge gained in marketing before. My desire to opt for a change is that I'm tired of the unprofessionalism in frontline marketing (especially when it comes to the time in choosing creative or handling daily logistics, there're often no right or wrong, no ground or supporting facts, but solely subject to management's preference) and my personality doesnt really fit the field.

But I won't narrow myself to the market research field, I will try the research posts which are available in the market and of my interests, but will avoid Finance area which I'm not strong at.

To start off, I plan to take a diploma/certificate course in market research & data presentation with statistic analysis this Oct. Meantime, I plan to quit my job and fully gear up for the job search and career change. A few questions here:

1) I've tried to send several applications for researcher posts since June, but there's no feedback so far. I guess it's becos of my irrelevant past working experience and degree (even I did learn the research subject, but it's been years back which the employers won't really consider). Is there a better chance in getting a researcher job if I revisit the subject and take the course related to research and statistics? What's your advice? (I know it's risky to quit the job first, but I don't want to waste my time there anymore and it's hard for me to look for a new job and well prepared myself if I'm occupied by my current job)

2) I've done some research on the career as a researcher, but did not manage to get much info. What is the researcher career like (esp. market reasearcher)? How is the opportunity in the market? How's market researcher compared to business analyst? What kinds of task are mainly involved in the respective positions? What are the traits a person need to have, in order to be successful in researcher field?

3) What kinds of firm is good for a start-off for this career? And what's the career ladder?

I'm sorry for this long-winded background and questions. I'm at the cross road and very much appreciated if I can have your advice as early as possible.

Thank you very much.

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Anonymous's picture
Posted Friday, 26 November 2010 11:53 PM

There is indeed a bright side of solving your clients' problems as a market researcher. However, there are more of a time when you have the figures on hand but you are unable to use it (because you think it would surprise your client, or in your personal view, this is not the norm, this is also very subjective as well). To all your dismay, you actually are not much familiar with the industry than your client. You client would blame you why you have such results when my sales on this product is increasing? Most of your time as a junior researcher would be to move the figures from excel to powerpoint, checking tables (in excels). Changes the powerpoint reports all the time as your client would like to change the templates and all the tedious work you can never think of... My advice is you can easily get a job as a researcher and fully experience it before you decide whether this is the industry you truly want. Why do you think this industry is more professional? In my opinion, never imagine a job until you truly work for it. It could be a very boring jobs when you have immersed days and nights in figures, and would definitely be a very different industry as what you have worked before.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Thursday, 05 August 2010 01:24 PM

Hi Ivana,

I've been working in market research industry for 5 years after I opted to work at banks, I hope I can share with you some more info abt this industry.

I assume you are talking abt to work at research agencies, such as nielsen or synovate, right?

The main duty of a researcher is to serve your clients. You have to liaise with clients directly to understand their needs (usually have some ideas to plan a survey) and to communicate with other dept in yr company to workout the best solution for clients, including resources planning and budgeting. Certainly, it is not easy to manage clients' needs, but you will find it interesting to solve problems!

Regarding person skills, it is not a must to be very sensitive to numbers (you can apply for qualitative posts if you hate numbers), but it is yr advantage if you are able to play around figures and to describe figures.

Post a reply if you wanna know more abt this very brilliant career, good luck!


Anonymous's picture
Oriental Management Consultancy
Posted Tuesday, 03 August 2010 10:29 AM

Dear Ivana, I share some of the comments made by Bart. There are however a few points. I wish to make. All aspects of marketing, and market research is no different, call for festivity and lateral thinking. Market research aims to provide solutions to clients helping them to sell their product or services. I also hope this helps. Yours sincerely, KFT

Anonymous's picture
Posted Sunday, 01 August 2010 02:53 AM

Dear Ivana,

Your second question makes me a bit worried for you. You are at this stage not sure of what lies ahead for you as a researcher yet you planned to quit your existing job?

Firstly, good jobs are hard to come by and it's not advisable to quit first and then job hunt.

Secondly, you may end up even more miserable as a researcher when you realise that the nature of work is not for you.

Suggest that you stay put in your current job while you try to understand more about the roles and responsibilities of a researcher, whatever type of research the job may involves. Even if you satisfy yourself that being a researcher is what suits you, it is still best to stay employed before quitting from your current job.

Hope this helps.

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