Jennie Pearson tells her own story of how SRAM played a major role in her career development.
"More than four years after graduating from UNL with a master’s degree in SRAM and a minor in market research, I can say without a doubt that the SRAM program was a vital part of my career development and more than adequately prepared me for early successes right out of the gate. While each course was valuable, my favorite parts of the program were the hands-on experiences that gave students the opportunity to bring our coursework to life and see how it is applied in the real world. In particular, my two favorite parts of SRAM were the Internship and the professional seminars (prosems).
"My internship was amazing. I worked at the Nielsen Company in the Methodological Research group in Oldsmar, Florida. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of diverse methodological projects with very smart, accomplished researchers. I really enjoyed being able to apply what we learned in the first year of SRAM to solve real-world problems.
"I also really enjoyed the weekly prosems, especially around conference time; discussing articles with the other students and professors and prepping for conference presentations was a blast. But there is one thing that stands out above everything else and that is something Dr. McCutcheon told us about writing.
"We had an assignment to take some data from the Gallup World Poll and write an article similar to the kind that would be posted on Gallup’s website. I don’t think Dr. M was particularly impressed with many of our articles and toward the end of that prosem he told us that if we want to be successful in our next place of employment, we should find the person who is considered to be the best writer in the company and learn to write like them. That piece of advice stuck with me and when I got my first job that’s exactly what I did and it served me extremely well.
"After graduating from the SRAM program in 2009, I moved to San Francisco to work as an associate for a marketing research firm. Right from the start, I could tell SRAM had prepared me well for this career. As a first year associate (at the bottom of the food chain), I could make recommendations on improving questionnaires to reduce measurement error, find errors in survey skip logic that others had missed, conduct multivariate analyses and manipulate data efficiently and reliably. And because I ingratiated myself to the people who were the best researchers there, I started learning how to write and use the data to tell concise, compelling stories.
"After a few years my former boss and I decided to start a market research company of our own called Peerless Insights. In my current role as a research manager at Peerless Insights, I am responsible for overseeing each project from research design through the final report. But one of the best parts of my job is testing new product concepts with market simulators that we design and build. I love getting to see what new stuff companies are thinking of and having a part in influencing the final outcome of those products and services. It’s very challenging and also exciting."
-Jennie Pearson (May 2009), Peerless Insights, Consultant and Co-Founder