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Market Research Careers and Education


By Monica Zinchiak

Recently, the 2016 MRA Insights and Strategies Conference hosted a panel discussion which included industry leaders from CASRO, MRA, PMRG and QRCA which addressed training and education for the  newest talent in the market research industry. The question posed to those of us on the panel: In an ever changing workforce environment – how have associations changed their offerings for a younger generation of researchers? Have associations amped up educational resources and professional development?

Young researchers, getting their start in the market research industry, have more exciting employment opportunities than ever before.  These future leaders have more creative freedom, more academic achievements, more sexy tech to work with and they also have more introductions into the discipline of market research.  Big data and the “internet of things” now has firm roots in the quantitative market research landscape.  On the qual side, we are seeing the widespread adoption of user experience research outside of the tech world.  Hello user labs, customer personas, consumer immersion, corporate ethnography, journey mapping, and human-centered product design.

A great career map can be found here and shows both qualitative and quantities career paths in good detail.

Back to the question though… Have associations amped up education resources and professional development [for a younger generation of researchers]?  Absolutely.  Professional associations are always creating programs for every level of their membership.  One of my favorites is the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA.)  The QRCA is committed to investing in our future leaders through its Young Professionals Grant (YPG.)  The grant includes full registration fees to attend QRCA’s annual conference, the world’s leading qualitative research event, in Los Angeles, CA January 18-20, 2017. That means FREE!  10 promising young quallies, age 35 years or younger, will be given this opportunity. Applications are open until November 1, 2016 at

“The learning and networking opportunities as well as inspiration that came from the conference was unparalleled to other experiences I have had in my career thus far.  For some, this conference could be a launching pad for their careers, for others, this could be a catalyst in their already-developed career.”  — 2015 Young Professional Grant Winner

In case you don’t know us yet, the QRCA is a not-for-profit assoc. of more than 800 of the top qualitative researchers in the world.  We are moderators, ethnographers, UXers, social media experts, insight whiz-kids, branding authorities and more.

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