perations research analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with policy formulation and other managerial functions. Using analytical techniques, operations research analysts help managers to make better decisions and solve problems. The procedures of operations research were first formalized by the military. They have been used in wartime to effectively deploy radar, search for enemy submarines, and get supplies to where they are most needed.
Although some employers prefer to hire applicants with a masterís degree, many entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelorís degree. Although some schools offer bachelorís and advanced degree programs in operations research, many analysts typically have degrees in other technical or quantitative fields, such as engineering, computer science, mathematics, or physics. 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.
Operations research analysts spend most of their time in offices. Many also spend some time in the field, gathering information and analyzing processes through direct observation. Analysts may travel to work with clients and company executives and to attend conferences. 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 is successful. Because they work on projects that are of immediate interest to top managers, operations research analysts often are under pressure to meet deadlines. Almost all operations research analysts work full time