My BDRC placement experienceBy Selena Bowdidge
As I near the end of my placement year at BDRC Continental, I have been giving more and more thought to the things I’ve learnt and gained as a Research Assistant in the Finance and Business (FAB) team.
Flicking back through my notes on daily activities and tasks, I can immediately identify a real shift in terms of the level of responsibility (and difficulty!) that they entail. Whilst my work in the initial months consisted of mainly quantitative ‘data processing’ tasks such as data/script checking and charting, the last six months or so has seen me become more involved in project analysis, designing presentation slides and conducting research first hand (qualitative telephone depth interviews).
A particular job that I feel I’ve increasingly contributed to and become familiar with over the year is Landlord’s Panel, a quarterly online survey informing banks/building societies of findings and figures regarding recent landlord activity. For this project, I’ve recently given the presentation pack a bit of a revamp by designing sleek, more ‘up to date’ slides in addition to the usual charting of data and was able to attend insightful client-facing presentations.
Undertaking these duties has not only broadened my skillset but has also informed me of the relevance of market research to psychology as a discipline (my subject of study at university).
Gaining an understanding of powerful research tools such as ZMET® (a unique qualitative patented research approach involving in-depth, semi-structured interviewing to elicit metaphoric thinking), learning about producing effective online surveys and monitoring focus groups are immensely valuable for my final year of study and in deciding on a dissertation topic and the corresponding methodology. Since I will most likely be putting together a survey or questionnaire for participants to complete, knowing things like ‘seven point scales trump 10 point scales’ and ‘good questions are no more than 12 words’ will certainly allow me to conduct research to the best of my abilities.
To me, the most attractive aspect of working in market research is having the chance to immerse yourself in a wide range of on-going research projects (both quantitative and qualitative in the FAB team). What makes it rewarding is knowing that you helped produce something that gives a client genuine insight into a certain topic, how a business venture is going or how it should operate.
Being a placement student at BDRC has given me a wider understanding of how a market research company works from a very hands-on, involved role. It has also given me the freedom to relax and unwind at social events (my favourite being the summer day out to the Underground Cookery School in Week Two of my placement) and of course weekends – a luxury I may or may not have in final year of university! All in all, I’ve had an incredible time and have learnt a great deal from so many people – it truly was a worthwhile experience.