Sarah Smith

By

Sarah Smith

Published on

March 19, 2019

Tags

agency life, professional skills

Upon accepting a Market Research Analyst position at the Washington D.C. office of LEWIS, I was simultaneously nervous and excited. I had experience with agencies in the past thanks to internships, but after graduating from college in May, this experience would be my first venture in the post-grad, professional world.


Despite my unease, I knew I would be armed with a can-do attitude, a willingness to learn, and of course, everything I learned in college after four years of studying business administration, marketing, and psychology. On my first day, I knew I had made a good decision. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming; I was confident that this choice was a great first step for my career. Here are a few highlights of what I learned in my first few weeks on the research team:

  1. Time management is everything.

Similarly to how I had juggled three papers, four final exams, and two presentations in the last week of school, I soon found myself working on a variety of projects and clients at LEWIS. Whether it was helping work on research studies for current clients, compiling findings into storyboards, or sifting through online databases to find market research on prospective new business clients, the skills I once used to get through college are what help me structure my days and get things done. My day planner is my best friend and check-lists help me make sure I’m delegating my hours and delivering great work on time.

  1. Ask questions.

There’s a lot to learn. While I am surprised by the amount of terms and processes I already understand from past classes, I don’t know everything. I’ve found that the cheesy saying “There’s no such thing as a dumb question” truly applies to my day-to-day. From minor requests such as “Can you help me set up my phone?” to more on-topic questions like “What’s your standard margin of error,” I’ve come to realize that asking questions is integral to success. Every team and company has a different set of rules or processes, whether it is related to running surveys, collecting data, or writing analysis, and I wouldn’t be aware of all of these unique nuances without asking questions whenever something felt unclear or unknown. I now find myself looking forward to tasks such as programming new surveys or conducting data checks, both of which I learned in my first few weeks.

  1. Say yes to new opportunities.

The best advice I received when I told family and friends I was starting a new job was “jump in with both feet.” I can now say it is a major part of my mindset every day when I come to work. When I was asked to conduct background market research on a potential client for the first time, I said yes. My experience pulling together this information and combining it with unique market insights and analysis led to me become the ‘resident expert’ of sorts for secondary research on the research team and thereby led to additional opportunities to join new projects.

These examples are just a small snapshot of the many things I have learned during my first few weeks at LEWIS, but I know I’ll take these three basic ideas and apply them every day moving forward. I’m continually learning from my colleagues and experiences at LEWIS every day and I look forward to what’s to come in this new role.

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