Operations Research  Interviews


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dotWhat 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."