Bright Future, Big Opportunities

Operations Research (O.R.) and analytics play a role in nearly every part of our day-to-day lives. For students interested in math and science, who also want to make a difference, O.R. and analytics can offer endless opportunities for a fulfilling, well-paying career while making lasting contributions to the world around us.

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Want to learn more? Start by asking, "Who are O.R. and analytics professionals?"

People come to this profession by multiple avenues. Many have undergraduate degrees in industrial or systems engineering, business, or math, and then go on to graduate school. Some return to get a graduate degree after years of work experience. Most practitioners have at least a Master’s degree and most academics have a Ph.D.

What's one thing our members all have in common? They have great stories. Check out these What’s Your StORy? interviews.

So, which programs or fields of study best prepare students for careers like the ones I'm reading about here?

As an undergraduate, focus on classes in the business, math, and industrial engineering departments, emphasizing operations research, analytics, and quantitative methods.

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After I've finished my education, where will I find employment opportunities in these fields?

Almost everywhere. Because O.R. and analytics are methodologies, they can be applied to many diverse fields. Well known ones include healthcare, technology, logistics, finance, and defense – but O.R. and Analytics professionals are also employed in fields you might not expect, like entertainment, hospitality, e-commerce, and sports. Many top university business schools and engineering schools have O.R. departments, so academia is another popular path, offering different opportunities and lifestyle.

A track in Academia may suit you if:

  • You enjoy research and like the idea of narrowing your focus, adding to the body of knowledge in a specific area, or advancing a specific idea
  • You hope to share your knowledge through teaching, mentoring, and publishing
  • You like to have some freedom in your work
  • You plan to earn a Ph.D.

Sample Job Titles in Academia:
Graduate Research Assistant
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Department Chair
Dean/Associate Dean

A track in Industry may suit you if:

  • You enjoy working on many different projects and problems; you want to apply theory to real-world situations
  • You’re motivated by the opportunity to contribute to a business or organization’s mission and bottom line
  • You like working within hierarchical structures or on teams
  • You plan to earn a Master’s degree

Sample Job Titles in Industry:
Chief Scientist/Analyst
Data Scientist/Analyst
Research Scientist
Operations Research Analyst
Manager/Managing Director

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