INFORMS in the News

US News Gives Top Rankings to Field of Operations Research

In 2015, US News ranked "operations research analyst" as

#4 Best Business Jobs

#8 Best STEM Jobs

#20 Hundred Best Jobs

US News, 2015

US News: 6 Hot Jobs for MBA Grads Includes O.R.

Graduate school isn't like undergrad when, in theory, you could take a year or two to choose a major and poke around different career paths. The process moves a little faster as an MBA student. You don't need to set your target job in stone, but you should have a solid idea or two in mind, so you're ready to make the most of your courses – as well as networking and recruitment opportunities.

The following jobs are well-suited for MBA graduates, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts hiring growth and solid salaries for each of them.

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6. ​Operations research analyst: These analysts use statistics to identify and troubleshoot problems usually relating to production, logistics and sales. It’s possible to find an entry-level position with just a bachelor’s degree, but higher-level operations research analysts usually have an MBA with a specialization in production and operations management. Consider top schools, such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at University of Michigan—Ann Arbor.

US News, March 17, 2015

US News: O.R. Seals the Deal for MBA Grads

Electrical engineer Ajay Mehta was working at Union Pacific Railroad in Houston, overseeing two dozen employees charged with testing, installing and maintaining the signal and road-crossing systems, when he decided to get an MBA to broaden his perspective and choices.

Armed with a business degree focused on operations research from Boston University School of Management – class of 2012 – Mehta today works for Ericsson Consulting in Dallas, helping a range of businesses solve problems and make decisions.

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The MBA grounded Mehta in business analytics, which entails mining data and using statistical modeling to inform strategic decisions. He relies on both to craft the best software and infrastructure solutions for clients to help them increase revenue. While data analytics in the business arena is often associated with tracking customer behavior and improving marketing approaches, "operations is the part of the business where the work actually gets done," Mehta says.

US News, March 13, 2015

INFORMS Panel: How to Build a Top-Performance Analytics Team and Organization

Harvard Business Review

Moderated by Harvard Business Review Editor at Large Julia Kirby
April 13, 2015 | INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research

The panel gathered industry leaders for a discussion on what’s top of mind for the business of analytics, specifically how to build and retain a top analytics team. The panel included leaders from Chevron, FICO, Gartner, IBM, and Schneider National.

Click here to watch the video

How Investors Trip Themselves Up

Parent trap. A third study found that investors put more money into mutual funds when the share price of the fund’s parent company is outperforming the market than they put into mutual funds run by companies whose share prices are lagging behind.

For most of the companies in the study, running mutual funds was a relatively minor source of revenue. That suggests that the inflow of investor money wasn’t driving the parent company’s share price, according to Clemens Sialm, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who co-wrote the study—which also included fund firms such as T. Rowe Price Group and Janus Capital Group.

The study, which didn’t include companies whose shares aren’t publicly traded, such as Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments, is due to be published in Management Science, another peer-reviewed journal.

Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2015

Stolen Data Worth Less Over Time

A new model examining cyber crimes adds an important way of examining the perishable value of stolen data so policy makers can plan against future hacks like the recent Anthem data breach, according to a study in the Articles in Advance section of Service Science, a journal published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

INFORMS is a leading professional association for professionals in advanced analytics.

"A Multiproduct Network Economic Model of Cybercrime in Financial Services" is by Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Nagurney is an INFORMS Fellow. It describes a computer-based model that captures the network economics of cybercrime activity and permits the policy evaluation of interventions.

A novel feature of the model is its inclusion of the critical time element and perishability of stolen cyber financial products with, as in the case of fresh produce, the value (and, hence, the black market price) decreasing over time. It also identifies different demand prices for different financial products, with certain credit cards being more valuable because of credit limit, expiration date, and continent of origin.

Forensic, March 11, 2013

Sustaining an Analytics Advantage

The use of analytics is increasingly commonplace in business — and as a result, it’s hard to gain a lasting competitive advantage from analytics. Nonetheless, there are companies that have done just that over time.

Peter C. Bell, MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2015

INFORMS Journal Cited in US Supreme Court Amicus Brief

Obergefell v. Hodges, which will bring issues related to same sex marriage before the US Supreme Court, includes a reference to Diversity and Performance by Feng Li and Venky Nagar, published in Management Science. Learn more about the case at SCOTUS Blog.

US Supreme Court, 2015

Negative effects of work stress highlighted in upcoming Management Science study

We’re working ourselves to death—literally—and spending billions of dollars staving off poor health in the meantime.

In a working study submitted to Management Science, researchers from Harvard and Stanford—Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and Stefanos Zenios—looked at 10 common workplace conflict areas, from work-life balance and shift work to unemployment and lack of health coverage. A common theme: The biggest things that cause stress are also the ones that heap on the most health care costs.

The biggest are lack of insurance, a demanding job, and work-family conflict.

Fast Company, March 4, 2015

Point/Counterpoint on Big Data: INFORMS VP in CNN Online

In his CNN opinion piece, "The Big Dangers of Big Data" , Konstantin Kakaes of New America raises some interesting points about the ways that designing certain types of Big Data projects could lead to bad societal results.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kakaes' column appears to be part of a larger narrative that is skewing the perception of the importance of advanced data analytics to economies, societies and families around the world.

Big Data is not merely the accumulation of vast amounts of information, but a collection of interconnected and interrelated data points that, when analyzed carefully, helps business leaders make decisions that lead to increased profitability and job creation, assists doctors and scientists in understanding critical factors about health care, helps policymakers better protect the public from potential terror attacks, and much more.

Marco Lübbecke, CNN Online, Feb. 12, 2015

Freakonomics: When Will Power Isn't Enough

One of the most compelling talks I saw at this year’s American Economics Association conference was by Katherine Milkman, an assistant professor at the Wharton School at Penn. She holds a joint Ph.D. in computer science and business, but her passion is behavioral economics — and, specifically, how its findings can be applied to help people in their daily lives. Milkman and her research are the focus of our latest Freakonomics Radio episode, “When Willpower Isn’t Enough.” …

In the podcast, we talk primarily about two of Milkman’s ideas:

1. “Temptation bundling”: the idea of tying together two activities — one you should do but may avoid; and one you love to do but isn’t necessarily productive. Or, as Milkman describes it in a research paper (co-authored with Julia Minson and Kevin Volpp), “a method for simultaneously tackling two types of self-control problems by harnessing consumption complementarities. The paper is called “Holding The Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling.” [INFORMS PDF from Management Science is here.) Among the examples Milkman gives in the podcast: “So what if you only let yourself get a pedicure while catching up on overdue emails for work? Or what if you only let yourself listen to your favorite CDs while catching up on household chores. Or only let yourself go to your very favorite restaurant whose hamburgers you crave while spending time with a difficult relative who you should see more of.”

2. The “fresh start effect”: here’s how Milkman and co-authors Hengchen Dai and Jason Riis explain it in “The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior” [INFORMS PDF from Management Science is here.]

Freakonomics Radio, March 13, 2015

Game Theory and Iran's Nuclear Intentions

What’s the best way to manage a secret project—one whose stakes, whether diplomatic or business, are very high? And what do your actions tell your opponents about your true intentions?

Those are questions that my colleagues and I asked two years ago in our paper “Managing a Secret Project,” which appeared in the journal Operations Research, published by the association INFORMS. They come up again now as Secretary of State John Kerry negotiates with Iran over its nuclear program and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterates the opposition to these talks that he sounded during a joint session of Congress.

Edieal Pinker, Yale Insights, March 2015

5 Job Related Stressors More Likely to Kill You than Second Hand Smoke: ManSci Study

Job-related stress can be even more deadly than secondhand smoke exposure.

That's according to a study being published next week in the scholarly journal Management Science. Work-related stress, the study finds, is partly to blame for up to $190 billion in health care costs. Specific workplace stressors contribute to 120,000 deaths in the U.S. each year -- more than the number of deaths from diabetes, Alzheimer’s or influenza.

Huffington Post, March 4, 2015

Organization Science on the Oscar Curse

Sure, it's the most prestigious award that Hollywood has to offer, but that coveted Oscar statue might also be a bad omen for some of the actors who receive it, a new study suggests.

Male Oscar winners are three times as likely as other actors to get a divorce during their first year of marriage, the study found. And the news is nearly as bad for the runners-up. Male actors nominated for an Academy Award are twice as likely as non-nominated actors to later wind up getting a divorce from their spouses within the first year of marriage, according to the study.

"We always think about status and moving up as something good, but we also observed all the misery that comes with certain dramatic increases in status," Michael Jensen, a strategy professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and the study's lead author, told Live Science…
The study was published online in the January edition of the [INFORMS] journal Organization Science.

Huffington Post, Feb. 22, 2015

UPS's Orion is Lavish O.R.-based Deployment

UPS won’t say how much money it has invested in Orion. But management and information technology expert Thomas H. Davenport, a distinguished professor at Babson College near Boston, believes Orion is the largest deployment of operations research, and that UPS spent $200 million to $300 million to develop it, excluding many years of investments in underlying driver technology and communications infrastructure.

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 16 2015

Marketing Science: Tension between sales and market managers

It all starts with the sales rep. He or she is on the front line of the battle for corporate revenue. They also are the first and sometimes last contact point a customer has with the company. So who better than to turn to about advice on said customers, correct, than the sales rep? For that reason, when the sales rep urge headquarters to come down a notch on pricing, their opinion should seriously be considered, right?

Maybe, according to academic research on the subject—but first have the sales reps strenuously argue the case as to why a price should be lowered.

So found a study that ran in the November issue of Marketing Science, a publication of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

The study, called "Why do sales people spend so much time lobbying for low prices?" was conducted by Duncan Simester, the Nanyang Technological University Professor of Management Science, and Juanjuan Zhang, Associate Professor of Marketing, both at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Computer World, Feb. 27, 2015

The Economics of Counter-Terror, by INFORMS Pres. Elect Ed Kaplan

How many good guys are needed to catch the bad guys? This is the staffing question faced by counterterrorism agencies the world over. While government officials are quick to proclaim “zero tolerance” for terrorism, unlimited resources are not made available to prevent terror attacks, nor should that be the case. Indeed, as with most public policy decisions, the appropriate staffing level depends upon both the benefits and costs of fielding counterterrorism agents.

 

How to operationalize the concepts described above is another matter, for unlike many production processes, it is not easy to observe the relationship between counterterror agent staffing on the one hand, and terror plot detection on the other. However, progress in this area has been made thanks to methods borrowed from queueing theory, which is applied widely to study staffing problems in situations ranging from telephone call centers to hospitals to manufacturing facilities to air traffic control.

Edward H. Kaplan, Oxford University Press, Jan. 20, 2015

Looking for Big Pay, Less Stress? OR!

Operations research analyst is another high-growth job in the business sector. These data miners can be involved in everything from logistics to manufacturing, looking to enhance a company's profitability and cost efficiency. In 2013, the typical salary was pushing $75,000 annually, but analysts in New York, San Jose and San Diego often earn more than $130,000.

Mainstreet.com, Jan. 16, 2015

Doing Good with Good OR - The CitiBike Example

David Shmoys (left, in beard) with Eoin O’Mahony (in sweater)

Citi Bike deploys 6,000 bikes throughout the city that are often taken on more than 10 trips each day. In the morning, commuters pick up a bike near home and drop it off near their job. Near home, supplies dwindle, while midtown stations fill up, sometimes leaving few places to dock. During the day, similar imbalances occur across town. The solution is to “rebalance,” using trucks to move bikes from crowded locations to empty ones. Managing the process “is a good part of my day-to-day,” said Michael Pellegrino, director of operations for NYC Bike Share LLC, the operators of Citi Bike.

David Shmoys [above, left], the Laibe/Acheson Professor and Director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, and graduate student Eoin O’Mahony [above, in grey sweater] have developed algorithms and data analysis tools to help rebalance the Citi Bike system as efficiently as possible.

O’Mahony described the system at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting, “Bridging Data and Decisions,” in November in San Francisco. He earned first place and a $1,000 cash prize in the Doing Good with Good OR student competition with his paper, “Smarter Tools for (Citi)Bike Sharing.”

Cornell Chronicle, Jan. 12, 2015

Air Asia Tragedy and Air Safety - Arnie Barnett Weighs In

What role, if any, the failings of Indonesia’s aviation system may have played in the crash of Flight 8501 may not be known for weeks. But in a country of 17,000 islands, where cheap flights are replacing the ferry journeys that Indonesians used to take across the archipelago, the chances of dying on an Indonesian plane, while rare, are unacceptably high, experts say.

Arnold Barnett, a [operations researcher] at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in airline safety, said that the death rate in airplane crashes over the past decade in Indonesia was one per million passengers who boarded. That rate is 25 times the rate in the United States.

New York Times, Jan. 1, 2015

Contact

Barry List
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barry.list@informs.org
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Twitter: @BarryList

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