MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Speaker Series: Brian Kushnir

April 29, 2011
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Each Friday, the MHB program hosts an industry pro with insight into career opportunities, marketplace trends and new ideas who engages students for two hours of class time. On April 8th, 2011, the speaker series featured Mr. Brian Kushnir, the executive vice president and managing director of Added Value, a market research firm located in Los Angeles.

Mr. Kushnir provided an expansive and penetratingly informative view of market research, which he has been involved in professionally since graduating from the University of California in San Diego. His previous positions in the industry have included research management at Infoplan, strategy at McCann-Erickson Japan, consumer research at Gateway Japan and directive planning at BBDO Japan. He has lived and worked in Tokyo, so his expertise spans diverse consumer segments as well as cultural populations — a continuing influence on his job at Added Value, which has branched into international territories including Asia following its domestic success.

Mr. Kushnir examined the Added Value approach to market research, which goes beyond simple statistical analysis by providing consultative suggestions to its clients. Its ideas have inspired campaigns for Audi, Yamaha, Advil, Virgin and Levi’s, and it maintains a socially-active and environmentally-friendly workplace both here and abroad. He navigated the evolution from entry-level employment to management within the market research industry, which provided students with a model for future planning and relative expectations. Ultimately, Mr. Kushnir showed how personal pursuits — like his own passions for international relations and the Japanese language — can be effectively incorporated into a full-time career.

Continue reading for more on Mr. Kushnir, as well as his social media profile.



Speaker Series: Carrie Stojack

January 29, 2011
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Each Friday, our program hosts an industry pro with insight into career opportunities, marketplace trends and new ideas. In order to teach us essential real-world lessons and to increase our comfort with professional interaction, this guest lecturer engages with us for two full hours of afternoon class time. On January 21, 2011, our speaker series featured Ms. Carrie Stojack, a Managing Partner at Hall and Partners, a market research firm located in Los Angeles.

Ms. Stojack’s presentation, our first look into the world of market research, explored the ins and outs of the industry in which she’s risen to the top through her work at several companies. She explained how market researchers and creative marketers work together to help clients design a promotional initiative — and how the work of market research firms, which use qualitative and quantitative methods to gauge the potential efficacy of a given campaign, grants them a sort of veto power when it comes to approving ads. To give us a basic idea of marketing, Ms. Stojack presented a planning cycle concept composed of four elements: whether a company understands its target market; who represents the competition in that market; where an opportunity for targeting exists; and how a company can take advantage of such an opportunity.

In addition, Ms. Stojack taught us that companies need to be aware of their consumers and need to engage with them. Because consumer communication changes fast and utilizes different ways to make decisions — which Ms. Stojack illustrated with the example of her daughter choosing between backpacks using a cell phone and Facebook friends — companies need to rely on new methods to get close to customers. Participating in new-age communication, such as sharing information and giving opinions to consumers, is absolutely necessary, and companies needs to be open to what consumers want and need. At the same time, market researchers have also changed their means of measuring advertising over time.

Ms. Stojack is also a newly-minted member of NewMR, a professional association for market researchers that hosts an annual online conference to help shape the future of the field. She’s also an accomplished runner who has participated in Long Beach’s half marathon. Continue reading for her social media profile.

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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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