Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 527 – IA Annual 2022 Conference Series: Pam Bracken, Department Head of Special Projects and Curriculum Development at University of Georgia

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Jamin Brazil: I am joined by Pam Bracken, University of Georgia. Pam, if you’ve ever been to any industry event, you have seen and met Pam. She has shaken your hand and greeted you with the warmest smile you have ever seen. It’s an honor to have you on the show, Pam.


Pam Bracken: Thanks for having me, this is fun.


Jamin Brazil: Some people might not know about the University of Georgia and their degree in market research. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about it.


Pam Bracken: The University of Georgia was one of the first, I think the first to offer a MMR degree, a Masters of Market Research program, and it actually got started I think maybe 30, 35 years ago, and it was because I think corporations recognized a need for that kind of graduate level education, and they were based out of Atlanta, and thought hey, let’s work with the University of Georgia. But then in the mid 1990s, research practitioners recognized hey, we hire a lot of great folks, but they may never had a market research or Insights course. How can we develop non-credit professional continuing education for folks that don’t want to invest in a graduate degree and so we have another market research program out of the center for continuing education in hotel. So I fall under public service in our reach where the MMR program is under the College of Business.


Jamin Brazil: That makes a lot of sense. Who attends?


Pam Bracken: Who attends our courses really researchers from all over the world. Typically they might have six to eight years’ experience and now they’re ready to maybe move up, move around, and they need to have some resources available to understand other parts of research they might touch. But it could be new folks that are using it as an onboarding tool. I even have folks with a PhD in statistics take the course. They know the stats part, but maybe haven’t been exposed to other parts of research, so it’s a foundations course helping them to be more knowledgeable about the different parts of research, and they converse with their clients and colleagues about different parts of research.


Jamin Brazil: Super interesting. Trends. We’re talking about trends, so market research have been through a lot of transition in the last three years. I’m presenting on trends tomorrow. What do you see as a trend in the space?


Pam Bracken: From my purview, which is education, training, professional development. What I’m seeing now in late 2021 and more so in 2022 is this re-investment of employees. The great resignation, folks changing roles, they need to reinvest in the folks. They want them to be happy, to be armed with the right knowledge, so I’m seeing a lot more investment in professional development and continuing education. So companies now are planning it forward. How can we reinvest in our folks, upskill? And so we’re seeing a lot more activity and attraction in attendance at conferences like this as well as online learning.


Jamin Brazil: That makes a lot of sense. You don’t really see the new entrance into the space attending these events right now, but I’m certainly seeing a lot of new blood coming into consumer insights whether it’s market research UX or CX.


Pam Bracken: That is true, and I actually have kind of observed all along because I’m not in the market research space, and I’ve always seen a lot of folks that support the research process or the insights process. That’s what I’m seeing. And those folks need to be conversant on research and insights.


Jamin Brazil: Pam, it’s been an honor having you on the podcast. If somebody wants to get in contact with you or somebody else from the University of Georgia, how would they do that?


Pam Bracken: You can reach me at pam.bracken@georgiacenter.uga.edu or look me up on LinkedIn. I’ll definitely be open to connecting with folks.


Jamin Brazil: It’s an honor having you on the show. Thank you so much.


Pam Bracken: Thank you, Jamin.


Jamin Brazil: Thank you for being such a big part of our industry.


Pam Bracken: Thank you, it’s a pleasure.