A frequent reader of my blog asked me the following question:
“I am graduating high school this year and i am interested in learning the requirments to become a Market research analyst. What is the job description? I heard that you get to test products before they come out on the market, is that true? What kind of college degree would I need to get?”
Some colleges might offer a specific market research degree, like I am doing with the Open University. However, if there is no direct market research course I would suggest studying some of the following subjects: marketing, economics and statistics. These are all key areas in a market research role.
Job roles vary widely between companies. However most roles are based upon analysing data. This data can be from different sources, like market research companies or the manufacturers own data. It most likely will include sales data (how much is sold, where and for what price), promotional data (during which period was the product on offer, where and for what price) and in some cases consumer data (who is buying the products, why are they buying it etc).
For most roles you will need to have good knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite, especially PowerPoint and Excel. Most reporting is done through Excel. Often data that you have analysed will need to be presented to others. For presentations you will most likely use PowerPoint.
Testing products is normally not a role for a market research analyst. It is more likely that this in the field of product marketing or production. Some manufacturers will have the option in their job role regarding testing products, but is quite rare.