“So, what exactly do you do?”
That’s the question we received again and again from Holy Trinity High School students when we attended their recent career fair. It’s a good question: market research is neither as widely known nor as self-explanatory as some of the other professions that were on display at the fair. But C+R is committed to exposing young people to the field and getting them excited about college; so, it’s also a question that we were prepared to handle. We used engaging demonstrations – an example of an online qualitative platform and a quantitative survey created just for the students to interact with – to show students what, exactly, we do.
After we answered the students’ questions and showed them our demonstrations, we explained the implications of our work. Students seemed especially intrigued when we shared our experiences with seeing new ideas go from a concept to a finished product on store shelves, or watching an advertisement develop from a rough sketch to a polished spot in constant rotation. We think our industry is pretty cool. So we weren’t surprised when several students expressed interest in learning more. Some even mentioned that market research sounded like an industry they could see themselves enjoying, or that it fits nicely with their general interest in marketing and business.
At C+R, we understand how beneficial career fairs are for high school students – they expose students to a variety of different professions, including ones like market research that they had never thought about before. Career fairs also help them think about what steps they need to take to get the job they want. One of the things we really like about the Holy Trinity Career Fair is that it’s open to all students, not just juniors and seniors. We know that the earlier students start thinking about college and beyond, the more they can set themselves up for success.
C+R strives to help motivate young people to attend college and prepare for their careers in a variety of ways – not just by attending college fairs. Many employees at C+R participate in the iMentor program where they mentor high school students in preparing for college. We also participate in a work study program where a high school intern works in our Chicago office 1-2 times a week. As she helps with administrative tasks, she gets exposure to the market research industry as well as the day-to-day routine of working in any office environment. Programs like these can help students narrow down what they are interested in and what they are not interested in before they feel like it is too late to explore other options after they graduate.
Interestingly, many of the students we spoke with at the career fair already seemed set on a career. Some had a general idea of what they wanted to do, while others mentioned specific college and job paths. Those students might not be future market researchers, but we’re glad we got to share a little about our industry with them anyway. One thing we’ve learned from working on projects for a wide variety of clients is that it’s rewarding to learn about other industries – we hope these students felt the same way.