First 6 months in research…

Our class of 2015 Grads talk us through their experiences as new starters in the market research industry, and what they’ve learnt so far…

Starting a new job is always scary. What do you wear? How do you act? There are new rules to understand, a new environment to get used to and a bunch of new people to meet, all of whose names you’ve got to try and learn!


Starting on the Optimisa Graduate Scheme in September last year we had to cope with all these things and more, as we‘ve looked to find our way in market research.


Although at times challenging, our time at Optimisa has been fun, exciting and a complete learning curve. And on that note, here are the top 10 things we’ve discovered in our first few months…


    1. It’s not just going door-to-door with a clipboard – Okay, so we might not have joined the industry if we really believed in this familiar cliché, but it’s been great to find out about new and innovative methodologies, using things like WhatsApp and GoPro cameras to capture people’s in-the-moment behaviour.
    2. Variety – Research is all about discovery, whether it be identifying what drives consumer satisfaction at a retail bank or exploring ways to improve a city centre. No one day is ever the same which always makes coming to work enjoyable!
    3. Great people – Everyone at Optimisa has been incredibly welcoming and friendly and people are always free for a quick chat. Maybe it’s the industry we work in that makes us all so curious (nosy)?
    4. Qual versus Quant – As an agency which is evenly balanced across the two disciplines, we’re lucky enough to get to work across both, and see first hand how they work in tandem to solve research problems.
    5. Leeds and London – We’re really encouraged to work across both offices and not only does it allow for easy access to both the North and South during fieldwork, it can be a great excuse to go and visit another city. In Leeds, we’re perfectly situated by the Trinity Shopping Centre, whilst in London it’s great to be able to see some of the sights whilst exploring the Bankside and South Bank area.
    6. Living the values – Optimisa really lives by its vision and values: smart thinking, fun, fearless, nimble, whole hearted and together. It’s a great team to be part of and the values reflect how we work and enable us to get the most out of the job, both for ourselves and our clients.
    7. Creativity – Whether it’s thinking of innovative methodologies, brainstorming new ideas during analysis sessions or finding more interesting ways to display data, thinking creatively and trying new things is always encouraged no matter what level you’re at.
    8. A culture of constant challenge – Whether it’s shadowing groups, charting data or capturing short vox pops on the street during your first week. It all helps you feel part of the team from the very beginning and no-one pushes you into doing something you aren’t capable of.
  • It’s good to ask questions – We’ve come to learn that research is a skill, not something that you’re born with and there is no such thing as a ‘silly’ question when you’re learning.
  • It’s really rewarding – Market research is a profession where you can actually see the results of your work in action. Research findings provide a tangible insight into peoples’ perceptions and can help shape future decisions, which may come to affect us in everyday life, for example the naming and brand positioning of a new mobile app.


As you can see from our formative footsteps into the world of market research we’ve experienced many things already and we’re excited to see where our future at Optimisa takes us!