GFK MARKET RESEARCH (GFK SE)
At the pivotal crossroads of rapidly advancing technology and business strategies to reach consumer-driven markets, we find GfK Market Research digital engineers and consultants. GfK Market Research advises global businesses using data and science to build world-class research powered by technology. They retrieve data, deliver knowledge, and ignite growth for their clients. GfK stands for “Growth From Knowledge,” and its teams are consistently described as intelligent and innovative; presenting original, industry-changing ideas backed by compelling evidence.
Ready to learn more about GfK Market Research? We’ve got you covered!
Firm Profile Overview (click to jump to section):
GFK CUSTOM RESEARCH KEY STATS
- GfK SE Market Research Website: http://www.gfk.com/en-us/
- GfK Global Market Research Headquarters: Nuremberg, Germany
- GfK SE Market Research Employees: 13K+ global employees
- GfK SE Market Research Locations: 21 U.S. offices, 100+ countries
- GfK SE Market Research Chief Executive: Peter Feld (CEO)
- GfK Global Market Research Revenue: 1.48 billion euros (2016)
GfK SE HISTORY
GfK SE, established as Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (Society for Consumer Research) is Germany’s largest market research institute. It was founded in 1934 by an association of university teachers.
GfK has undergone a series of acquisitions, merging the strengths of some of its top competitors into its own brand. In April 2005, the firm acquired NOP World, based mostly in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy. NOP World was rated the ninth largest market research business in the world. In May 2008, GfK went on to acquire an equity stake in Deep-Packet Inspection company Qosmos. This enhanced the firm’s ability to track and monitor Internet usage for marketing research (think that acquisition isn’t paying dividends 10 years later?). Furthermore, in December 2011, GfK acquired Knowledge Networks, based in Palo Alto, California – the home of Facebook. KN’s platform offered unique methods for measuring the effectiveness of a digital ad campaign with simple surveys and live reporting through the use of video streaming.
Due to the Great Recession, 2009 was a challenging year for the firm, but GfK bounced back to achieve record sales and income in 2010. By 2010, the company was the fourth-largest market research company by revenue. In 2014, the firm’s net income had reached 52.4 million euros. However, more challenges ensued in 2016, leading GfK into a series of management and project focus changes that the firm is still navigating.
Due to lower than expected contracts, in mid-2016, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) sought to acquire GfK SE. Takeover plans were approved in February 2017, resulting in KKR owning 85%+ of GfK’s share capital and voting rights.
During a tumultuous 2016, GfK refocused on key major media projects and also added strength to its digital business through targeted acquisitions including NORM and Netquest.
Amidst these change, in 2016, GfK CEO Matthias Hartmann left the company, as did Board Member and Head of Consumer Choices Gerhard Hausruckinger. In the aftermath, Peter Feld was appointed CEO and Christoph Erbenich was selected for the newly created role of Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer. Christoph was also named head of the Executive Leadership Team, and this move has advanced the firm’s resident knowledge in digital business and brand development, both with B2B and B2C clients. Entering into 2018, GfK is positioned to continue leading market research in the digital space.
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GfK operates with a supervisory board and a management board (or executive leadership team). The firm operates in six regions are: Germany, Western Europe/Middle East/Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific. GfK SE functions as both a holding company and operating unit.
- Brand & Customer Experience
- Consumer Panels
- Digital Market Intelligence
- Distribution and Supply Chain Management
- Market Opportunities and Innovation
- Media Measurement
- Mystery Shopping
- Online Pricing Intelligence
- Point of Sale Analytics
- Point of Sales Tracking
- Product Catalogs
- Promotion and Causal Retail
- Social Media Intelligence
- Trends and Forecasting
- User Experience
- Consumer Goods
- Fashion and lifestyle
- Financial services
- Industrial goods
- Media and Entertainment
- Public Services
- Travel and Hospitality
- Sunnyvale, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Cincinnati, OH
- Irvine, CA
- Oak Brook Terrace, IL
- East Hanover, NJ
- New York, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Burbank, CA
- Princeton, NJ
- Redmond, WA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Boston, MA
- Gardena, CA
- Westport, CT
- Wayne, PA
- Waltham, MA
- Arlington, VA
Below is the potential career progression one might experience at GfK:
Research Associate > Senior Research Associate > Research Manager > Senior Research Manager > Research Director
There are a variety of internship opportunities at GfK offices worldwide. Pay attention though: you’ll find that some are hourly positions (usually more research-focused) and some are salaried (the more client-facing roles). Although we’ve heard some former interns state that the lack of communication and expectation are disappointing, you may find the opportunity rewarding if you are a self-starter who doesn’t mind working with little direction.
GfK is different than management consulting firms in many ways, and one of the big differences you’ll see is in the exit opportunities. Many consultants end up leaving GfK and taking Director level roles in top global firms, but with a Market Research focus. If you want to move outside of the Market Research focus, you’ll have to show (through a powerful resume and proper networking), how you can apply the Market Research methodology you’ve learned to inform internal and corporate strategy.
GfK prides itself on its commitment to corporate social responsibility, and sees providing work/life balance as part of this social responsibility. To back this, many offices offer part time work, flexible hours, and remote working arrangements. The benefit to flexible working arrangements is that they allow consultants to effectively meet unique client needs. One of the biggest value-adds of working at GfK is the hands-on experience you receive in new research methodologies. The opportunity for growth and advancement is unclear; however, employees have been known to stay on for 4+ years, reflecting favorably on the firm (and a far cry from traditional management consulting, where the “up or out” system filters you out after ~2 years).
GfK is a team-oriented environment and values not only traditional diversity, but also diversity of background, experience, and expertise. The firm pays more than lip service to professional development – from day one, it recognizes you as one of its most important assets (as all smart employers do). The emphasis on diversity is especially noticeable in GfK North America, where you’ll find that the firm believes work results are greater the more diverse the team is. 80% of employees are based outside of the home country of Germany, and women make up half of the workforce and Management Board.
We’ve heard from some current and former employees that, as you might expect, the recent major management changes have negatively impacted the work environment, so be aware of this before applying.
GfK offers moderately competitive pay and a standard benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, dependent care flexible spending accounts, long-term disability, life insurance, supplemental life insurance, tuition assistance, 401(k)s, vacation, sick days personal days, and paid holidays. The firm also offers in-house training to its employees, which is one of GfK’s most popular benefits.
- Powered by passion
Growth opportunities for employees
- Excellence – An international management development initiative
- Fit4FBC – An international fact-based consultancy initiative
- International assignments – Designed for longer term international development
- International projects – Participation in international projects for key clients
- Path to Knowledge – An eLearning suite
- PMP – A global Performance Management Process
- The GfK Academy – Research and product training
- Andrew Franceschini, Senior Group Manager, Corporate Strategy and Market Research, Hyundai Motor America
- Sasha Richardson, Executive Director at EY Advisory
- KC Lee, EVP Executive Advisor at PK GrowthCoaches
- Paul Ghent, Executive Advisor at PK-TechVentures
GfK SE INTERVIEWS AND RECRUITING
The GfK application requests only a resume, following an increasing industry-wide trend where firms are moving away from requiring a cover letter. Expect the full process to take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to complete. If selected, an applicant may then receive a short pre-selection phone call from an Analyst or HR reviewer. Be sure to brush up on your elevator pitch beforehand!
Following the phone screen, candidates are invited to 1-2 in-person interviews. GfK prefers face-to-face interviews, but may also utilize phone or online capabilities to conduct interviews in rare cases. Interviews are ‘behavior based’, meaning the firm is more interested in your past experiences and evaluating your behavior through your responses. Again, this is a break from traditional management consulting, where the case interview is king. Furthermore, depending on the position applied for, you may have to complete some business and math aptitude tests. This can include a case interview or delivering a presentation in a group-interview setting.
U.S. Target Schools
- Rutgers University
- University of Chicago
- Baruch College
- New York University
- Boston University
- Hofstra University
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Cornell University
- The College of New Jersey
- Temple University – Fox School of Business and Management
- University of Phoenix
- William Paterson University of New Jersey
- University of Connecticut
- Columbia University
- Hunter College
- Montclair State University
- University of Michigan
- University of Albany, SUNY
GfK CUSTOM RESEARCH LINKS