Marketing research grads highly coveted in job market
When the first class of students in MSU’s marketing research graduate program earn their degrees in December, they will be entering an industry experts expect to grow by double-digit percentages during the next several years.
The class of 19 students is the first to complete the new graduate program, which launched in January.
The program was created because there is a high need for students with skills in the market research industry, including how to manage and coordinate research projects for businesses or marketing firms, said Richard Spreng, director of the Master of Science in Marketing Research program.
“It’s designed to be a very practical program,” Spreng said. “We tried to build into it a lot of opportunities to apply what they’re learning.”
Graduates from this program are valuable because only three other schools offer similar programs nationwide — University of Southern Illinois, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Georgia — Spreng said.
“The industry folks we’re working with are very happy with it,” Spreng said. “This came about because people in the research industry need people like what we’re turning out.”
The marketing research program starts each January and takes a year to complete, with two semesters on campus and a required professional internship during the summer between the fall and spring semesters.
Upon graduation, students in the program typically work either for market research firms that conduct research for a variety of companies or get jobs working directly for companies in their research departments, Spreng said.
Diane Bowers, president of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations, said because of the low number of marketing research graduates around the country, such students often are courted by many different companies competing for their services.
“In most industries, students find the competition for jobs very difficult for them,” she said. “The reverse is true for students coming out of graduate programs in market research, because there’s a high demand for them.”
Graduate student Arturo Fausto, one of this year’s graduates, was hired by Ducker Worldwide — a research-based consulting firm based in Troy, Mich. — in the summer of 2010 before he began the program.
“(Spreng) talked to a few students in April or May of 2010, and I was about to graduate (from an undergraduate program), and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” Fausto said. “The opportunity presented itself. It just kind of fell into place.”
Fausto has been working for the company part time while attending graduate school and plans to return there full-time after graduation, he said. A promising job market was one of the reasons why Fausto became interested in the market research program.
“It was one of the few areas of business that is actually growing,” he said.
Bowers said the implementation of the new program at MSU is helping to aid growth of the industry.
“We think it’s terrific that MSU has started the program, and we would like to be involved and active in it,” Bowers said. “Those students who graduate are really considered to be very desirable by research businesses and also in the client sector.”