First Year in the ‘Real World’-Life in Chicago, Working for Nielsen

By Lindsey McCoy
Global Business Services (GBS) Emerging Leaders Program associate at The Nielsen Co.
B.S., industrial and systems engineering, University of Florida, 2010

Lindsey McCoy

As I approach my one-year anniversary with Nielsen, I realize how FAST this year has flown by. I attended a Leadership Summit last month and our CEO, Dave Calhoun, made a comment that stuck. He asked the group how many of us still spoke to our college friends, and I was happy to raise my hand. But then he asked how many of us spoke to them about their Industry, about their difficulties at work and the intricacies of their careers. Unfortunately, I could not raise my hand. I think to stay fresh in our industries (and our careers) it is pivotal that we, as Industrial Engineers, stay in touch.  Below is a snapshot of my observations and experiences over the last year.

The World of Market Research

When I chose to work for Nielsen, I had no idea how HUGE they were (and how complex selling data is). Nielsen has offices in over 100 countries and Nielsen data is used by most mid to large size companies. Under Dave Calhoun’s leadership over the last five years, we have become “One” Nielsen, with new executives, a culture of meritocracy, integration of many of our businesses, going Public, and a stronger emphasis on Leadership – e.g. the creation of the “Emerging Leaders Program.” I think Nielsen is on the edge of really impactful times. We are entering a decade where consumers are more demanding and our data can help companies decipher those demands. In addition, with the technology advances in cell phones and online usage, our clients are asking for more integrated data between Media and Consumer. This is crunch time for our industry to improve our infrastructure and create new, innovative product offerings.

The World of The Global Business Services (GBS) Emerging Leaders Program

Never in my life have I felt so challenged as in the last year. In my previous internship, a lot of emphasis was placed on problem solving and analysis. Along with the other University of Florida Industrial Engineers in the Emerging Leaders Program, I was completely shocked at how much focus is put on soft skills. At first I was frustrated. Downright confused that they weren’t recognizing our skills in VBA, excel and analytics. But I was wrong…The more that I work through my project and hit roadblocks, the more I see how imperative influencing, negotiation, facilitation and vision sharing are to being a successful leader. Both of my rotations have been completely virtual and I have had to manage meetings with people in the US, Canada and India.

The rotation I am currently in has been especially challenging because I am leading a team of 15 people (many of whom have been with the company for 15+ years and manage their own teams). At first, I struggled with this and had difficulty getting engagement from the virtual team. It took strategic moves on my part to get them more engaged by putting them on smaller, cross-functional teams and assigning them to more specific deliverables. Now, they are all working on specific initiatives and really driving the success of this project! I am so happy I got a chance to lead this team from formation to implementation. Delegation was one of the most challenging aspects, so finding the right work for the right people really helped me move forward.

The World of Chicago

My true love. Living in a city with so much history, culture and fun free events! I have a bucket list of things to do here and have checked off about 30 at this point! This weekend I went to Second City Comedy show, Ribfest, a house party on a roof and to a state park! I am on a sand volleyball team and have weekly Trivia Night at a local pub as well.

This Fall

In August, I will be moving to Stamford, Connecticut and working for 6 months in BASES, a Nielsen product that focuses on identifying the most profitable product innovations for our clients (I’ll be working for PepsiCo specifically).

Lindsey can be reached at