In our Staff Spotlight series, we get up-close and personal with the members of the Listen + Learn Research team to find out who they are and what their job roles involve.
Where are you from and where are you based?
I’m from Budapest, Hungary. After having lived 6 years in the UK (and a semester in Russia), I moved back in 2021. I love the city and I really enjoy living here: so many things and people tie me here, but that’s not to say that a move from here is not on
the table weekly. It’s complicated, living in Hungary.
How long have you been with Listen and Learn Research and what do you do
I started at L+L in December 2022 as a Research Manager and I’m currently the newest addition to the team. I’m still learning how to best work in this environment – but in broad terms, my job is to take responsibility for my assigned study from day 0
until debrief. And that includes a lot of stages: preparation, data collection, setting up frameworks for understanding and analyzing the data, working together with Research Analysts and Executives, and, then, very importantly, finding the relevant
narratives or stories that can become actionable insights for our clients.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually plan my day and respond to any emails first thing in the morning – with a cup of coffee in my hand. Then it’s really varied, but I try to set my meetings before lunch, so I can be more focused in the afternoon with the least amount of distractions possible. I really like crossing off all my tasks at the end of the day from my list – really satisfying to see that I was efficient that day.
What’s the most challenging thing about being a Research Manager?
I have this constant ethical/ moral dilemma when I’m creating a narrative: while we are unquestionably data-based, as an RM I have to, more or less, set the story, and it’s very-very easy to filter the world through your preconceptions. I’m trying my best
every day to fight them and stay open. It is also challenging, and it’s a very relevant concern for me now, when I have to come up with an open-ended and explorative type of study. It is all I love about research: the independence, the creativity – but, at
the same time, the necessity to create my own structure is overwhelming at first. And, of course, the visualization of my thoughts into appealing slides – very time-consuming for me.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I have to refer back to my previous point – the independence and creativity that research allows me is great. But also it’s so liberating when I have a lightbulb moment after looking at the data for days (weeks)! For me, it usually all comes
together into something logical in a blink of an eye – but waiting for that moment to happen can be excruciating.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
I’m really motivated if I see that my work is appreciated and/or new or exciting for the client. Finding value in what I do and expressing it is an important ‘client love language’ for me. But it’s similarly important that I am on good terms with my colleagues, particularly those with whom I work. I had some pretty toxic experiences with line managers in the past, so I am really careful about never turning into a rude or careless person. Thirdly, if I’m really interested in the topic that I work on, well,
that can only help!
Describe Listen and Learn Research in 3 words?
Friendly, helpful, trusting.
What makes Listen and Learn Research different from other places you’ve worked?
During my limited run at the company, I experienced a surprising level of positivity among colleagues and from the management. It’s really unusual to be thanked for your weekly work or to be praised for a well-run presentation. I really appreciate it and it should be replicated by other places.
What advice do you have for prospective Listen and Learn Research
Be honest about what you know, what you don’t know and about the person who you really are. It’s a small circle of people and it’s gonna be quite hard hiding any of those two things when you start.
What is your secret to making progress each day?
It’s my hand-written to-do list, my Google Calendar and my inner David pushing me to perform well. (It’s not a Severance-ish type of workplace, don’t worry!)
What are your hopes for our industry?
I hope that social media insights will become a core part of market research. It’s a developing and growing field, of course, but I strongly believe that it’s a form of modern, digital anthropology, too. It has its limitations, like all other market research
methods, but it brings many advantages to the table that are unique.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your job?
I like going to the theatre or watching movies. I won’t list Hungarian theatre ensembles, but Almodovar, Lanthimos, Östlund and Reitman are among my favourite film directors. I also discovered that I love hiking! I started this hike through Hungary, called ‘Kéktúra’, which is approx. 1200 km, and you have to collect stamps all along the way. I hope to finish it sooner or later. Exit game is something I get really excited about, that’s my kind of adrenaline rush. And, of course, travelling – most people tell me they love it, so I’ll add that I love the off-the-beaten-track experiences and countries – I particularly enjoyed my travels in Kazahstan, Iceland, Georgia or Cuba. I’d love to have a dog and a cat, too!
What did you want to be when growing up?
I didn’t really know, nothing romantic. I considered the idea of becoming a playwright or a psychologist or a person organizing trips and travels…. But they either fizzled out or seemed unrealistic somehow. When I had to choose what to study, I went with what I was interested in – cultures, travelling, understanding others, languages, and Social Anthropology was a reasonable choice. I would probably become a psychologist if I went back in time.
What children’s character do you relate to most most and why?
Hmm, I guess the only one I can think of now is Rabbit in Winnie-the-Pooh. I really enjoy(ed) his sarcasm, prickly and pessimistic humour and the way he behaves in this fairy land of a cartoon. He doesn’t pretend to be nice or to be constantly smiling, he’s like a normal person with complicated thoughts, anxieties and he is also slightly neurotic. Great counterpoint to Tigger.
Best fun facts about you?
I had two ferrets when I was a teenager. They aren’t the average pets most people have and there are many stereotypes around them….. but they are really clever and cute! (And no, I wouldn’t say they are smelly!) Their names were Athos and Portos, no idea why, I haven’t read the Dumas book.
What is something people don’t know about you?
The amount of time I spend in theatres and the number of random facts I seem to know about it? Maybe it’s not a totally unknown fact, but I do go to the theatre once a week and I listen to most related podcasts. I like to know what’s happening in the cultural scene and, drumrolls, I also enjoy the performances, well, at least, some % of them.
To find out more about our talented team of social intelligence professionals, sign up to our newsletter.