OPINION5 July 2023

One day in the life of a Market Research Apprentice

Opinion UK

Sophie Tucker shares her experiences as a market research executive apprentice at The Walt Disney Company, just over a year after the apprenticeship launched. 

Apprentice taking notes

In my team at The Walt Disney Company, we provide the business with primarily quantitative research, as we have online tracking studies which run multiple times a year that help us to understand the behaviours of our core audiences 

We track the watching and purchasing behaviours of both children and adults, as well as the key performance indicators for our key characters and franchises. Each wave, we report out Franchise Health Checks which are discursive presentations with relevant stakeholders, that deep dive into each of our core priority franchises e.g., Disney Princess, Spider-Man and Mickey and Friends etc. 

The analysis is divided among the team so that each person has one franchise to present for each wave. This involves analysing survey data using Excel to find the key insights and better understand the trends, alongside additional desk research to further understand context surrounding each franchise 

It is important to make sure our presentations are easily understandable for all audiences across the business; therefore, we must keep them simple to read and visually appealing, which has allowed me to even develop my creative skills in PowerPoint. I have been able to rapidly improve my presentation skills such as storytelling, keeping an engaged audience, and the ability to answer off-the-cuff questions 

Alongside our trackers, we complete lots of ad-hoc projects. For example, stakeholders may ask us for data to support meetings with brands such as Lego or Pandora. We can assist by providing insight from our internal tracking studies as well as other third-party sources into a presentation to inform our stakeholder and their partners. 

This can mean that the workload can become more challenging between our scheduled tracker work, as well as ad-hocs, so time management becomes very important. 

Within the first six months, I have even been given the responsibility to design and conduct my own research project. An intern and I have created a research proposal on a topic of value to the business, designing an online survey, executing the survey process, and analysing the data to then report back to stakeholders. This has been a great opportunity to improve my skills in independent working, time management and work prioritisation.  

Despite using online surveys as our main form of research, I have been given the opportunity to take part in qualitative research by attending focus groups for the Disney Stage show team, in which I attended in-person focus groups and made notes on the key takeaways for each of the research objectives. 

Of course, working for Disney also means lots of exciting things are always going on. For example, we have had the chance to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in our office cinema, and even had puppies come in for mental health day- not to mention it was recently Star Wars big celebration day, May 4th, in the office! Finally, we have many opportunities to volunteer in the VoluntEARS programme, this can range from helping out with activities in the office to helping out at wish granting events with charity partners.
My apprenticeship takes up 20% of my working hours, therefore I usually dedicate one day a week to this work. However, this is a flexible working scheme – so this apprenticeship study time can be taken whenever works best for you.  

Occasionally, my apprenticeship work will consist of attending workshops with other apprentices, in which we have interactive sessions to learn more about our chosen apprenticeship, in my case Market Research Level 4, or I may be completing an assignment set by my tutor.  

There are lots of group sessions and even revision sessions run by the apprenticeship provider, which allows collaboration with like-minded people and really tests my knowledge. 

One of the most interesting things about being an apprentice is that there is a great balance of both on-the-job professional learning experiences, as well as off-the-job academic learning, helping me work towards a desired qualification. While working for The Walt Disney Company, I have been able to attend some amazing opportunities such as training days at BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) and Ipsos. The apprenticeship provider also offered me the opportunity to attend a conference on the metaverse, which was able to help me to develop my networking skills with industry leaders.