The Capstone Project, a core element of the MBA experience at UCD Smurfit, was complemented by the Leadership Development Programme through a master class on Market Research, facilitated by Martha Fanning of Martha Fanning Research. The session provided insights and practical advice on market research aimed at adding an additional layer of richness and quality to the final set of recommendations for the clients.
One big takeaway from the session: market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because they conduct regular market research to understand their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint realistic competitors. A well-designed market research can identify how customers and potential customers might view products, solutions, and offerings in a very competitive landscape, and can identify gaps in customer expectations. Having good market intelligence helps minimize risks when making key business decisions. Most of our Capstone Projects had some, if not all, of these goals associated with them.
The aim of market research is to gather information about a business’s buyer to determine the viability and success of the product or service. In the context of our Capstone project on talent management, scoped within employee recruitment, retention, and reskilling, the buyers are the employees themselves and the product and services are company offerings in learning, work opportunity, compensation, reward and appraisal systems etc. which build up the various levels of needs influencing employees to intrinsically partake in behavioral motivation and align with the company goals.
There were several factors that were considered while designing the research questionnaire and identifying the right surveying technique. Our approach was top down, starting with understanding what the company wanted and what they were willing to offer in exchange. Our approach was in alignment with understanding human nature and the innate hierarchical human needs responsible for motivation, how they could be transformed, and the social-political implications. The results from the research were structured into broad categories that looked into employees’ and potential employees’ opinion on a wide range of factors, which could be considered as building blocks or resources for success; for example, the unique work culture of an organization.
The reason why some companies outperform others is a result of an organization’s competitive advantage, emerging from a refined understanding of the factors that determine market attractiveness. Our research highlighted the importance of leveraging the knowledge and views of employees to both engage the workforce and to create a unique organizational strategy.
—Soumyajit Chakraborty, FTMBA Class of 2020