Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions.
Operations research analysts typically do the following:
Operations research analysts are involved in all aspects of an organization. They help managers decide how to allocate resources, develop production schedules, manage the supply chain, and set prices. For example, they may help decide how to organize products in supermarkets or help companies figure out the most effective way to ship and distribute products.
Analysts must first identify and understand the problem to be solved or the processes to be improved. Analysts typically collect relevant data from the field and interview clients or managers involved in the business processes being examined. Analysts show the implications of pursuing different actions and may assist in achieving a consensus on how to proceed.
Operations research analysts use sophisticated computer software, such as databases and statistical programs, and modeling packages, to analyze and solve problems. Analysts use these mathematical programs to simulate current and future events and evaluate alternative courses of action. Analysts break down problems into their various parts and analyze the effect that different changes and circumstances would have on each of these parts. For example, to help an airline schedule flights and decide what to charge for tickets, analysts may take into account the cities that have to be connected, the amount of fuel required to fly those routes, the expected number of passengers, pilots’ schedules, maintenance costs, and fuel prices.
There is no one way to solve a problem, and analysts must weigh the costs and benefits of alternative solutions or approaches in their recommendations to managers.
Because problems are complex and often require expertise from many disciplines, most analysts work on teams. Once a manager reaches a final decision, these teams may work with others in the organization to ensure that the plan arrived at is successful.
Although applicants may need a master’s degree for most operations research positions, a bachelor’s degree is enough for some entry-level positions. Because few schools offer bachelor’s and advanced degree programs in operations research, analysts typically have degrees in other, related fields.
Although some employers prefer to hire applicants with a master’s degree, many entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelor’s degree. Although some schools offer bachelor’s and advanced degree programs in operations research, some analysts have degrees in other technical or quantitative fields, such as engineering, computer science, analytics, or mathematics.
Because operations research is based on quantitative analysis, students need extensive coursework in mathematics. Courses include statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. Coursework in computer science is important because analysts rely on advanced statistical and database software to analyze and model data. Courses in other areas, such as engineering, economics, and political science, are useful because operations research is a multidisciplinary field with a wide variety of applications.
Continuing education is important for operations research analysts. Keeping up with advances in technology, software tools, and improved analytical methods is vital.
Many operations research analysts who work with the military are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Some positions may require applicants to undergo a background check in order to attain a security clearance.
Analytical skills. Operations research analysts use a wide range of methods, such as forecasting, data mining, and statistical analysis, to examine and interpret data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models.
Communication skills. Operations research analysts often present their data and conclusions to managers and other executives. They also need to communicate technical information to people without a technical background.
Critical-thinking skills. Operations research analysts must be able to figure out what information is relevant to their work. They also must be able to evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative solutions before making a recommendation.
Interpersonal skills. Operations research analysts typically work on teams. They also need to be able to convince managers and top executives to accept their recommendations.
Math skills. The models and methods used by operations research analysts are rooted in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and other advanced mathematical disciplines.
Problem-solving skills. Operations research analysts need to be able to diagnose problems on the basis of information given to them by others. They then analyze relevant information to solve the problems.
Writing skills. Operations research analysts write memos, reports, and other documents explaining their findings and recommendations.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Decision, Risk and Operations Analyst||Jpmorgan Chase & Co.||New York, NY||Mar 16, 2016||$200,000|
|Trading Operations Analyst||Virtu Financial Operating LLC||New York, NY||Jan 10, 2016||$175,000|
|Decision, Risk and Operations Analyst||JP Morgan Chase & Co||New York, NY||Jul 15, 2015||$175,000|
|Operations Analyst||Facebook, Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||May 18, 2015||$147,261|
|Finance Operations Analyst||Google Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Jun 09, 2016||$140,000|
|Finance Operations Analyst||Google Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Mar 28, 2016||$140,000|
|PBM Operations Analyst||Rxadvance Corporation||Southborough, MA||Oct 01, 2015||$140,000|
|People Technology and Operations Analyst||Google Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Feb 16, 2015||$138,000|
|Finance Operations Analyst||Google Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Mar 06, 2015||$134,000|
|Staffing and Operations Analyst||Google Inc.||New York, NY||Jun 25, 2015||$132,558|
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