Major Overview

Ever wonder how airlines keep track of the hundreds on flights coming in and out? Or how online stores ensure the right shipments go out to customers? Operations Research professionals analyze data and systems to ensure business operations in a variety of industries run properly and efficiently.

Students studying Operations Research learn the skills to pinpoint problems in logistics, sales, and production in order to create solutions and allow business to operate at maximum productivity. Classes in fields such as engineering, mathematics, quantitative analysis, computer science, software, and business will prepare students for a successful career collaborating with managers to improve business operations.

Required Skills

A strong background in math, especially statistics and calculus, is necessary for those interested in going into Operations Research. Professionals use different models that require an understanding of applied mathematic principles. Critical and analytical thinking skills will help professionals interpret data and determine solutions to operational dilemmas. Students must also be creative in developing solutions that aren't immediately obvious.

Operations Research professionals work fulltime in an office setting. Since they often work on projects that are of high importance, this career can be stressful as analysts work to meet deadlines. This can also cause professionals to work overtime. You will often be collaborating with others to meet goals, making communication and teamwork skills important.

A bachelor's degree will allow graduates to get an entry-level position, but most employers prefer to hire those with a master's degree. It is also common for operations research analysts to hold degrees in other areas, such as computer science, engineering, or advanced mathematics.

Careers

Operations Research graduates work in a variety of occupations. Since they have the skills to analyze many different types of data pertaining to business operations, they can easily find jobs in finance, engineering, and manufacturing. Those who decide to work for the government often find jobs in the U.S. Department of Defense.

There should be many jobs available to graduates after graduation as the field is growing at an average rate. Advancing technology and the desire to become more efficient in business operations may open more jobs for Operations Research graduates in varying industries.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Operations Research might open up.

Natural Sciences Managers
Operations Research Analysts
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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