A Day In The Life of a... Research Assistant

Can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself, and your role in the agency?

I’m a recent graduate and, as far as I’m aware, the youngest person in the office. Aside from three years spent studying in Brighton, I am Manchester born and bred and really enjoying living and working in the city. Working as a research assistant at MHM involves a great many things: writing and proofreading reports; designing and drawing models; carrying out desk research; data analysis, project management…the list goes on. 

Can you describe a typical day in the office?

It seems a bit of a cliché to say ‘no two days are the same’, but they seldom are. Very rarely does my work-plan at the start of the week accurately reflect what I’ve ended up doing, but I suppose today was as typical as any other: the morning was spent producing some models for an exhibition evaluation on behalf of an Australian client; the next few hours I carried out some background research on a new project and drafted a Project Initiation Document; I wrote this article for our website and, later this afternoon, I intend to finalise an online survey that has been drafted for a programme of audience research we're designing for one of our favourite theatres.

What key skills do you think are most important to do your job?

Certainly you need to have a really good eye for detail and be as organised as humanly possible. But for me, being a fairly junior member of the team, I’ve found the most important thing is to ask questions, to listen and to understand as much as possible, as quickly as possible, about the business, our clients, and the sectors in which we operate.   

What background did you have before working at MHM?

Working in research is something I’ve always wanted to do. I studied Politics and Anthropology for my BA. Prior to joining MHM, my first job after university was in a project-based role at the Greater Manchester economic development agency. 

How would you describe working for MHM?

The most interesting and challenging thing I’ve ever done. It's an incredibly busy organisation so, as newish recruits, you are very much thrown in at the deep end. This is no bad thing, the work of MHM is unique and based around very specific pieces of intellectual property so all new recruits, regardless of seniority, have much to learn. And as the company is currently growing – with new team members and new projects appearing on what seems like a daily basis – it is an exciting organisation to be involved with. 

Joss joined MHM in 2012 and leads on the design and delivery of a wide range of audience insight...

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