10 Reasons to Study OR

10 Reasons to Consider a Career in Operations Research

  1. You have the opportunity to solve real-world problems. These problems matter to organizations and have an impact. In areas such as healthcare, public policy, resource management, and disaster relief, you can truly change peoples’ lives for the better.
  2. You can use your analytical skills and your creativity. Whether your background is math, software engineering, computer science, or an industry such as healthcare, manufacturing, finance, government, or military, there is a job in O.R. for you.
  3. You have mobility across industries and careers. You can apply your core O.R. skills to almost any industry — pharmaceuticals, law enforcement, even entertainment — so you're far more recession-proof than if you focused on one cyclical industry. And with O.R. training, you can move into management consulting, operations, marketing, finance, or a number of other fields.
  4. You don't have to subscribe to a dominant worldview. O.R. has no single mode of professional practice, so you never have to get bored or pigeonholed into a specific technique or problem-solving approach that never changes.
  5. You become a better strategist. The O.R. discipline—looking at problems, creating models, and setting up analysis that points to better options and results—helps you make better personal and professional decisions, as the national bestseller Smart Choices by John S. Hammond demonstrates.
  6. You become an essential link between technology departments and organizational management. As an O.R. professional, you often act as interpreter between technical staff — operators, operations management, computer programmers, software engineers, and electrical engineers — and management, helping to abstract real-world needs into software or models, then translating the results back into better real-world outcomes and results. In many forward-looking organizations, projects cannot go ahead until they receive approval from an O.R.-driven department.
  7. You can make a great living. The average starting salary for an O.R. professional is $60,000 to $70,000, and it's easy to move up to $100,000. In finance, you can make up to $300,000 or more.
  8. You're not part of a fad. The diverse techniques of O.R.—including mathematical programming, simulation, decision analysis—are all proven with hundreds of successful case studies. At the same time, each application area is evolving, so you constantly have the opportunity to learn new things.
  9. You can have fun at work. In many professional careers, little of what you create is implemented. The ability of O.R. to have an impact—save millions (even hundreds of millions) of dollars—means that companies put its solutions to use. And when you've been part of a solution, it's a great feeling.
  10. You're extremely relevant today. Many organizations find themselves awash in data, with little understanding of how to leverage that data for better results. With O.R., you bring “the Science of Better”—tools and approaches for harvesting insight from data to make dramatic improvements throughout the organization.
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