The Research Life

For this week’s blog, I would like to talk a little about my internship site and my workplace culture. I promise that I am not frolicking in Retiro or eating churros and tortilla española all day! One of my goals for this internship was to learn more about a different sector within the very broad industry of marketing. SCOPEN is a unique consulting firm that really combines all my previous internship experiences with some new, different work tasks.

SCOPEN has two sides of their business–the consulting portion and the research study department. The research SCOPEN conducts is not what most people think of when they think “market research”. We conduct research about marketer’s opinions about their current creative, media, and digital agencies. B2B market research is a lot different than traditional market research. My boss has mentioned that it is relatively simple find 50 women between the ages of 40-50 to interview, but try finding 50 brand professionals in South Africa who are in charge of their agency relationships and willing to sit 45 minutes with an interviewer. Also, some agencies hire SCOPEN to evaluate how their clients feel about their services and how their client support can improve. Their consulting side of the business goes into companies or agencies to give advice on business activities such as M&A and agency selection.


This type of research is especially interesting to me because I have worked inside of an agency before and have also worked for an internal team who hired creative professionals. When you are working for a client in an agency, you are constantly trying to manage multiple clients at once and keep them all satisfied. Normally, you get some feedback from your clients, but the ultimate level of feedback is whether the client renews their contract or requests more projects from your agency. SCOPEN´s studies are a way for agencies to evaluate their performance before they lose a large client or suffer an unhappy meeting. While working on an internal team, it can sometimes feel like the creative professionals do not care about your business needs. The clients and marketers from top brands also benefit from the research we conduct because they get an avenue to voice their opinions to their agencies and improve their account management team.

Since my time here, I have gotten to code open-ended responses that were all written in Spanish. I am also beginning to launch a study in South Africa! I think most students have a tendency to think that the market research industry is boring because it just involves being around data all day, but I am quickly finding that it is more than just data. The studies we conduct involve a lot of project management and attention to detail. For example, personal interviews require interviewers who are expertly trained and know the survey by heart. The interviewer brief is extensive and I had a chance to write a new and improved version for the South Africa study. Through this internship, I have realized that I like project management and would possibly like to work in that role in the future.

As for workplace culture, I’m sure that you imagine the Spaniards at my office take siestas and frequent breaks. The siesta is not a common thing anymore guys! It happens on the weekends or if you work right next to your house (rare). There is a concept of a second breakfast in Spain. In the workplace, some people get up for a cup of coffee and a snack at 11AM in the office or in a coffee shop next to the office. I have noticed that lunch breaks are more valued in Spain. For the most part (and this is a generalization), many people enjoy their lunches talking with co-workers or at least use actually plates and silverware to eat it at their desks. I do think that there is a benefit to stepping away from work for an hour and then being able to regroup after a good meal. With that being said, lunch is the main meal of the day (and extremely large) which can leave me tired for the last 2-3 hours of the workday. Additionally, I think that there are less meetings in my company than in my American internships. It seems like team meetings are reserved for launches of important projects. I think that American offices could benefit from less meetings, or more purposeful meetings.

I’ll give you more updates about my work adventures soon! I am staying in beautiful Madrid this weekend to explore more of the city.