What to Expect
Students in operations research are learning to help organizations run
at peak efficiency.
Anne Robinson took a PhD at Stanford University in the department of industrial
engineering and engineering management. She got interested in operations research
when she went to a conference titled, "What's a mathematician like you doing
in a place like this?"
"One of my sessions was OR, a topic I had never heard of," says Robinson.
"I thought it was great -- an application of math that was practical, but
that was not solely statistics."
She says one of the things she likes best about OR is "the practical application,
and the diversity of applications."
Christopher Anderson took a PhD in management science. He also got interested
in OR late in his studies.
"My interest in OR spawned from my engineering background, master's and
bachelor's, and job experiences doing environmental simulations," he says.
How to Prepare
Take all the math classes you can, particularly calculus and algebra.
"I think the most beneficial activities are going to conferences, and
reading professional and practitioner journals or magazines to get an
idea of the breadth of activities to which OR can be applied," says Anderson.
"Take some fundamental courses while in school, either through engineering,
business, stats or applied math, and then if they interest you, try and get
a summer job or work temp in an organization doing some OR."