Alumni: Laura Tabor '97, Marketing Researcher

Still young enough to blend right into campus, Laura Tabor ’97 is now Project Director, Custom Quantitative Research at Greenfield Online, Inc. in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Here’s what she told

What did you study at Middlebury and what have you done since you left?
I was an American Literature major and a Math minor. Upon graduation, I moved to Greenwich, CT and spent a year working as a Research Associate at R.S. Carmichael & Co., a financial services consulting and research firm in White Plains, NY. The company had 7 employees and I spent most of my time cold-calling C-level professionals trying to get them to agree to talk to me about the financial services (trade banking, asset-based lending, equipment leasing, insurance) used by their companies. It was pretty terrible, but I survived (and I’m a better person because of it).

After a year at Carmichael, I secured a job at Greenfield Online, a small and innovative marketing research company. I was employee #25 and now, 2 years later, am one of 175 employees. The company is great–nothing stays the same for long and there’s not time to get bored. I never thought I’d end up in marketing research, I hardly knew what it was, but now I’ve found that it’s pretty cool to learn what consumers think about products and services, and my company is constantly working on new technology to help us collect and analyze data in the fastest and most effective ways.

Living in Fairfield County Connecticut is also a lot of fun. Contrary to what I thought when I moved down here, you can have a social life as a 20-something in the suburbs!

What did you learn at Middlebury that impacted your professional experience the most?
The most important things I learned at Middlebury are how to think and how to write. With those 2 skills, you really can do anything. It doesn’t matter if you studied American Literature, Chinese, Microbiology, or Women’s Studies, as a Middlebury graduate you are valuable to employers because you can learn to do whatever it is you need to do. Middlebury gave me the confidence to know that short of flying a fighter jet.

If you were to offer a few words of wisdom to a Middlebury student aspiring to enter marketing research, what would they be?
Keep an open mind. Marketing research isn’t that exciting and it isn’t rocket science, but the entry-level salaries are much better than entry-level salaries in advertising, and you learn a lot about the marketing and advertising industries.