What is a typical day like at HRW, I hear you ask? Well, the beauty of working in market research is that no two days are ever the same, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to this role in the first place. I knew doing the same thing day in, day out would neither be mentally stimulating, nor great for my personal and professional progression and development. Therefore, joining HRW as a Research Executive was the perfect first step out of university for me. My days are incredibly varied, as I have the opportunity to get involved in different therapy areas all the time, as well as learning and being exposed to many different methodologies- some which are exclusively developed and used by HRW.
Having studied psychology and health psychology at university, market research was something I knew I wanted to follow on in my career, and particularly within the healthcare sector. However, even if your background is not healthcare or pharma related, don’t let that stop you! Quite a few of my peers (who really are more friends than colleagues) have such interesting and varied backgrounds: from zoology, economics, sports and exercise science to social anthropology. Particularly here at HRW, a lot of effort, thought and care is put into training via the HRW Academy, that is provided to ensure we are able to grasp all aspects of the role quickly and effectively. However, I find the best way to pick things up is to just get stuck in and learn by actually doing it- something which is highly encouraged and supported here!
So, what would a day look like for me when I walk into the office….
08.30am: I get to my desk! I normally like to arrive to work slightly earlier, thanks to our FlexiTime scheme, as I prefer the quiet in the mornings to just grab a bowl of granola and a cup of tea, and check and respond to the emails that have come in overnight. As we operate globally, with our colleagues based in our New York office, and fieldwork partners and analysts based anywhere from Spain to China, there are always emails to attend to – plus coming in earlier also means I can leave slightly earlier too (bonus!).
09.00am: My colleagues start arriving, and I check my calendar and see what meetings I have booked in, or what tasks I need to get done that day. I look for the ones that are a higher priority (e.g. have a deadline for that day), which I will need to start with first, and others which I can get to later on. Being able to prioritise and manage your time well is a key skill you pick up fairly quickly here.
09.30am: I see an email from a client with some feedback on research materials for a project. This is an important task, and I am often involved with the development of the materials we use in our research: such as the questions we want to ask the respondents during research (the discussion guide in qualitative research, and questionnaire in quantitative research); or a document to help us find the right types of respondents we want to speak to (the ‘screener’). I often feel a great sense of satisfaction when I see these materials, that I’ve helped develop, being put to use in my projects- especially when viewing qualitative interviews live in-person, which I often have the opportunity to do, both in the UK and abroad.
10.30am: Having updated the materials, I click back to my emails to see that we have received a brief for a proposal from a familiar client. When this happens, we organise a companywide brainstorm, where we get together and discuss how we would approach the research: such as the innovative techniques and methods to use to answer our client’s objectives, and what important learnings we can apply from similar projects and our team’s expertise. As Research Executives we are encouraged to participate in these brainstorms and contribute to writing the proposals- something which I find very exciting, as you get to see the ideation of the research projects that we work on. I accept the invitation for the invite and spend some time reviewing the client brief.
11.30am: Once I have attended to my more urgent emails and tasks, one of my projects requires me to moderate a telephone interview. I spend some time in advance prepping: making sure that I have everything set up on my laptop, that I have read through the discussion guide very thoroughly, ensuring that I really know the flow of the interview and how much time to spend on each section- so I feel confident going into the appointment. The interview goes well, and once it is completed, I save the recording and send a quick email to the analyst letting them know it’s ready for them to review. By the time I have finished this up, it’s already lunchtime!
2.00pm: After lunch, I spend around half an hour checking through my emails and instant messages to see what has come through whilst I was away from my desk, and then spend the remainder of my afternoon continuing to write a report from the previous day. The debrief or report writing process here starts with an analysis meeting, where the whole team comes together to discuss the key findings from the analysis. The team (including a Research Director, a Project Lead, and an Executive) then brainstorm ideas of how to communicate the key findings in our report and which themes are important to highlight. Being involved in the debrief writing process is one of my favourite stages of the project cycle, as you really begin to see everything come together- both in qual and quant. It’s a chance to fully immerse yourself in the analysis, and really tease apart the findings to understand how this will add value for our clients. It provides an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing, in order to bring the key insights to life. Being able to clearly and succinctly communicate key findings, both in the report and when presenting this to clients at their offices, is an important and valuable skill which I will continue to develop throughout my career here at HRW.
4.00pm: It’s a Friday today, so we finish up earlier than usual. We’re a very sociable bunch, and this also means we’ll grab a drink together (or two…) to wrap up the week. I really enjoy the social side of our business, and we’ve had some great company days and events recently. Having moved to London for this role, having such a welcoming team around me has been fantastic. This week, we’re welcoming some new graduates into our London team, so we take them out for a celebratory drink at our favourite pub up the road. I hope they find the role just as interesting and fascinating as I do. I’ll be sure to pass on my HRW wisdom to them!
If this sounds like a role that’s up your street, be sure to check out the ‘Join Our Team’ page on our website for current vacancies, and hopefully we’ll see you here soon…
By Kiran Pawar