Adam Warner is the director of the Market Research Center at Seton Hall University, a marketing professor and president of Warner and Associates Consulting. He can be reached at

There’s a book on my shelf called “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar” (by David H. Sandler). I love the title because it is so true. To learn how to ride a bike, you need to get on a bike – try, fall, get up and try again. This same philosophy works for learning marketing research. 

To learn the basics of research, there is no better teacher than experience. This applies in the classroom or in a professional setting. 

There’s another great saying: “See one, do one, teach one.” Most of us have never been to medical school. However, for those who have, you’ve probably heard this one before. I’m oversimplifying, but to set a broken bone you need to observe one, perform the procedure yourself and then teach others. I’m not a physician but this approach works wonders for those learning market research skills as well.

At Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., we conduct about 15-18 real-world market research projects each semester. These are semester-long projects, where students in market research courses are partnered with a business or organization to address a specific challenge. The projects are amazing hands-on learning opportunities for our students. The Market Research Center program is part of the Stillman School of Business and its mission of “transforming concepts into practice.”

While college is a great time for students to expand their knowledge and learn new things, often classes aren’t as interesting as they could be. One problem is that many teaching techniques have not evolved. Sitting in class, watching a professor review 25 PowerPoint slides for an hour and a half twice a week is just as boring as ever.

This is where the real world needs to come into t...