Director of Global Research and Development Forecasting
The Nielsen Company
Larry Menke knew he needed to learn more about the world of business. His background in psychology gave him a strong understanding of people and why they do the things they do, but he needed business training to really move his career in a new direction. The Tippie Full-time MBA Program provided those core competencies and was instrumental in helping him move into a new and vibrant career.
Today, Menke's work as the director of Global Research and Development Forecasting with Nielsen is the perfect combination of his talents and skills. Nielsen, one of the most respected names in market research, is known for its ability to measure consumer behavior and then use those analytics for its clients' benefit.
But Menke's clients (if you want to call them that) are not the external Nielsen clients—it's actually the Nielsen offices and employees around the globe. As he explains it, his work is twofold.
"First, we have to look at our products and services and see if there are ways to improve upon those products; ways to make them work better, faster, and be stronger. Then, by working closely with our internal partners, we learn more about what the external client needs. It's our task to do the research, the exploration, and develop products and services that fit that need."
He goes on to explain that a product developed for one company in the U.S. may be useful for other clients in Europe or Asia.
The world of marketing research has exploded in the last two decades. Think of the impact that the Internet, cell phones, and mobile devices have had on the consumer. To be a leader in market research, Nielsen needs to measure every touchpoint where the consumer may be influenced. Understanding it all and then applying it to your business model is overwhelming and that is why many companies turn to Nielsen.
But, the challenging economy has made it harder for clients to have the resources for market analysis. The R&D forecasting team and their internal clients work hard to make sure that the products and services being offered to the client demonstrate the value of working with Nielsen.
Managing your time is one of the most important skills Menke has learned to develop.
"In my business, it's important to meet deadlines. We have to provide the services that our clients need in a timely fashion. And, we pride ourselves on doing the best job that we can. We provide fair and unbiased answers and our clients have come to rely on that from us."
Menke is a strong believer that the relationships you build throughout your career are valuable at all stages.
"It's important to develop a network of individuals who can help provide you with feedback and ideas on your career development. Today, fewer companies provide formal mentorship programs, so many times it is up to you to develop those relationships, but from my experience, they are certainly worthwhile."
When returning to campus to talk to students, Menke stresses that "Developing a full career map is hard. The economy has forced many companies to change drastically, so it's hard to predict what business will be like in 10 years. But, if you work hard, enjoy what you do, and are good at it, you’ll be successful."