Laura PaigeMarket Research Manager, Putnam Associates

Can you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

After completing my PhD in Psychology at Brandeis in 2018, I went on to work in market research, specifically within litigation consulting. Through conversations I had with Brandeis alumni during my job search, I realized that our work understanding decision making in the lab was easily transferable to consumer goods. I quickly fell in love with market research and valued how translatable my academic skill set was to product selection and preference research. Last year, I started a new job as a Market Research Manager at a life sciences consulting firm. Although I loved general consumer research, I missed the connection to the life sciences and wanted to conduct market research specifically within the healthcare space. Our clients are largely pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking to understand how people, from patients to physicians to hospital directors, select certain medical devices and treatment options.

What services and/or resources did you use while at Brandeis for your career search?

I am forever grateful to have had such a supportive advisor with whom I could have open and honest conversations about my career path. I knew early on in graduate school that I wanted to make the switch from academic to industry research, but taking the more unconventional path was certainly nerve-wracking. My advisor and fellow peers encouraged me to reach out to the expansive Brandeis network and I had the opportunity to connect with several Brandeis alum, specifically from the Psychology Ph.D. program. The hardest part of the job search was understanding the correct terminology to look for in posted position titles and job descriptions. The Brandeis network was crucial in helping me translate what it is that I hoped to do into concrete jobs that actually existed on the market.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

The most valuable thing I have gleaned from my Brandeis degree is a strong foundation in experimental design. Having a solid grasp of research methods and design is a highly coveted and sought after skill. Although industry research certainly has its nuances, all projects are grounded in psychological research methods. 

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their career exploration or job search?

It's never too early to start exploring career options! I underestimated just how many opportunities were out there and wish I had started networking and connecting with alum earlier in my grad school career. Another piece of advice is to never be afraid to network or connect with someone. People are almost always more than willing to answer an email, hop on the phone, or chat over coffee (in a post-Covid world!). I found that people were even more willing to network with me when the conversation was framed as purely informational, although that's not to say that a great chat over coffee couldn't lead to a job down the road!