My student experience
"The course truly gives you a holistic view of the retail market. This is really important in my career, where having a broad understanding of all the moving parts of the retail market is essential."
What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey?
I was initially attracted to the University of Surrey because of the renowned reputation of Surrey Business School, and its lecturers, in the field of retail research. I also happened to live in Guildford at the time and having a world-class university of my doorstep meant I didn’t think of anywhere else!
What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?
My strongest memories are from discussions had with both my classmates and lecturers, both inside of lectures and outside. The broad diversity of nationalities and the international scope of the course meant I learnt just as much through talking with my peers as I did through my own studying.
What were the best things about your course?
The best thing about my course, MSc International Retail Marketing, was that it did truly give you a holistic view of the retail market, from store operations, to marketing, to logistics and a host of other areas. This was really important in my career, as having a broad understanding of all the moving parts of the retail market is essential, even if you are looking to specialise in a particular area.
What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
I am currently a Retail Analyst at Mintel covering both the UK and European markets. We write in-depth market reports around various retail markets combing both market analysis and consumer research. It is this ability to continue to conduct research, that I had always valued at university, that is perhaps most enjoyable about my current line of work. Working with the press, and occasionally appearing on TV, is also an added bonus!
How did you decide what career to go into? How did your time at Surrey help you to decide?
I initially wanted to pursue a career in marketing which is why I choose a marketing-based degree. However, the broad nature of the course at Surrey showed me that I didn’t want to be stuck in particular part, or discipline, of the retail market. I wanted to understand what drives consumers in different markets and sectors on a wider scale. I always loved the research aspect of my course and looked to further this by pursuing a career in market research.
What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?
It might sound obvious, but to work in market research you must first love research! A big part of being a successful market researcher and analyst is both understanding what is currently happening in the market but also what is likely to happen in five or ten years from now. To do this you must be comfortable being an authoritative voice in the field and often challenge the perceived way of doing things by always looking forward and suggesting new ways of doing things. Keeping to deadlines and the ability to write quickly is also essential; I essentially write a dissertation a month so a love of writing is essential!
What aspects of being connected with the alumni network are most important or of most interest to you and why?
Given my field of work, coming from a business school that produces world-class research is very important and inspires me not to be afraid to try new things and new ways of researching existing issues in the market. The alumni network at Surrey is full of people that have gone on to do amazing things and to be part of that gives me immense pride and inspiration for the future.