Michael Searway, a 2010 graduate of The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, recently served as a featured guest on the School’s international policy and current affairs talk program, Back Talk Radio. Michael conversed with the hosts about his current position as a Senior Research Associate at Hanover Research, outlining his responsibilities in service of Hanover’s for-profit clients and detailing how his experiences at the Elliott School prepared him to succeed in this role.
Key excerpts from Michael’s discussion with the hosts of Back Talk Radio are featured below. A full recording of the interview is available at this link.
On how the Elliott School prepared him to succeed as a researcher at Hanover:
The Elliott School helps graduates develop a skillset that will enable them to thrive at an information services firm like Hanover. The ability to research, synthesize information, and then translate this information into a coherent report that makes sense and is useful to a client, are some of the many critical skills that I developed at the Elliott School.
I would say to any Elliott School student, ‘You are going to be well-equipped for entering the market research industry. Even if you think that you might not have a certain degree of expertise in that sphere, you will have the skills required to execute this research and will be in a place to use your knowledge of macro-economics to your advantage.’
On his role at Hanover and experiences at the firm thus far:
Market assessments and evaluations are a big part of our research work, and what I primarily focus on. If a client wants to explore a new market or launch a new product, I estimate the market size and evaluate market potential, trends, growth, the competitive landscape, and so on.
While I specialize more in qualitative research, I do work with some of our quantitative staff directly. I am learning how to integrate the knowledge I have gained from them into my perception of what a market is, how brands are recognized, and what the market structure looks like in different industries.
My broader international affairs education has proved useful when executing this research, as this background helps me to look at different regions of the world with an economic perspective. I can easily differentiate developed versus developing markets and help assess how certain markets might respond to new entrants based on different levels of development.
On how Hanover holds a unique position in the market research industry:
Hanover discovered that our competitive advantage affords us a unique position in the market research industry, and one that has not really been challenged to date. From my perspective, we have maintained this positioning through three different strategies: 1) implementing an innovative, partnership-based model, 2) establishing brand loyalty by ensuring that our product is of a superior quality that provides high value to our clients, and 3) continuing to expand, both by entering new markets and industries and by growing rapidly in headcount. As proof of our growth, we were actually on the Washington Business Journal’s list of fastest growing companies in 2014.
As customer data proliferates, companies are increasingly analyzing their data to consider whether their business strategy is sustainable, or whether they may need to enter a new market or change their approach. Hanover is providing custom research support to help these businesses explore that potential, and we are savings clients hundreds of thousands of dollars per year without asking them to sacrifice anything in the way of product quality.
Want to learn more about Michael’s role or his experiences at the Elliott School and beyond? Contact him at email@example.com.
More information about Back Talk Radio is available via the Smarter Perspectives student organization site and Facebook group, and well as through the program’s corporate sponsor, Results International.
B.A., Political Science – International Affairs
M.A., International Affairs – U.S. Foreign Policy
The George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs
A native of California’s Central Valley, Michael joined Hanover’s Market Insight Center in fall of 2014. Previously during his time at Westmont College in California, Michael spent a semester in Brussels, Belgium, where he studied the government and politics of the European Union and interned for the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN), a non-governmental network that aims to strengthen both political and economic ties between the U.S. and the E.U. He later worked as U.S. Coordinator for TPN in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Michael completed a nine month research fellowship at the Trinity Forum Academy, where he examined issues at the intersection of religion and foreign affairs.