When I first started thinking about applying to graduate school, my intention was to expand my knowledge in quantitative methods and statistics in order to be able to critically think about the existing marketing research methodologies and to gain a more holistic perspective about survey research.
During my first year, I worked with Dr. Brady West and Dr. James Wagner in a project that studied the impact of financial incentives in the probability of someone completing a survey. That was such a rewarding opportunity, because I learned a great deal and I don’t think I would ever have that type of experience outside of the program. For instance, I only had a basic idea of what a logistical regression was before coming to the program and essentially what I had to do was to use logistic regression models to answer our research question. I remember asking Brady things that now, looking back, they seem very basic to me. Brady and James are brilliant, well-known researchers and they treated me as an equal in the team. It was great having the experience of working with them. Once that project was completed, I was afforded the opportunity to present the results of our work at the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR) Conference in 2017. That was also an enriching and exciting experience.
As a second-year student, I am currently working at the Survey Research Operations, in the Statistics and Sampling Methods Department.
Overall, the research assistantship offered to master students is an outstanding feature of the program and a very unique opportunity to work closely with the faculty. Also, for someone who comes directly from an undergraduate program, being a research assistant is particularly interesting, because it helps to expand your curriculum via hands-on projects while you are also taking your coursework.
Another outstanding feature of this program is the leeway that students have to select their electives and to take courses that will contribute to their own career goals. For instance, coming from a marketing research background, I have taken courses in the Ross Business School in marketing research, big data analysis and consumer behavior.
I have no doubt that coming to the Master Program in Survey Methodology was the right path for me.