O.R./Analytics at Work Blog

Introducing a new competition for tomorrow’s leaders in O.R. & Analytics

The International O.R. & Analytics Team Competition is a unique student competition that provides a real-world workplace experience.

Teams of students will use the same data set and software systems to solve a challenging business problem using an OR/Analytics approach. A panel of industry experts will judge their submissions.

It’s about gaining practical experience in the complete OR/Analytics decision process.  It’s about communication, leadership, and teamwork. It’s about innovation. It’s an opportunity to develop skills valuable to every employer. 

Join us for the inaugural year of the O.R. & Analytics Team Competition!

Competition details

Teams will be associated with a university O.R. or Analytics degree program. They may be made up of masters and undergraduate students. There is no limitation on the size of teams. 

All teams will be given the same business problem and data set(s) from the title sponsor (Syngenta in 2016) and the same software programs. Teams will be given two weeks to review the problem and, if needed, to correspond with company representatives with clarifying questions. Questions deemed not to be clarifying questions will not be answered. Teams will not have knowledge of the questions being asked by other teams.

All teams will approach the business problem as if they are employed by the organization. For example, the message to the teams would be: To assist the organization in understanding the approach your team has taken and the value of that approach, the organization’s upper management requires a report covering your:

  • Understanding of the business problem
  • OR/Analytics problem framing
  • Data – approach to its use, what additional information was needed (if any), determination of sufficiency, whether it was clean 
  • Methodology selection
  • Model building
  • Innovation brought to your overall approach
  • How you would model life-cycle management and deployment

Finally, each team must convince the panel of judges, acting as “management”, in a formal presentation why they should choose their approach. Members of other teams will not be allowed to view the presentations in order to ensure fairness for all teams. All presentations will be videoed so the winning team’s presentation can be shared. The presentations will be a maximum of 15 minutes including time for questions and answers.

Teams will be judged on:

  • Written report
    • OR/Analytics approach
    • understanding of the business problem
    • OR/Analytics problem framing
    • data approach and use
    • methodology selection
    • model building
    • innovation
    • approach to model life-cycle management and deployment
  • Team organization/planning
  • Presentation
    • Communication – effectiveness & clarity
    • Visual aids/visualization
    • Materials/handouts
    • Handling of and completeness of responses to judge’s questions

The competition will begin in September 2016 and end with team presentations at the INFORMS Analytics Meeting in April 2017. The winner will be announced at the conference.

Interested? Sign up here to subscribe to the Team Competition email list and receive timely updates:


Cash prizes and plaques will be awarded for 1st through 5th place teams. The winning team will also receive a “traveling” trophy for display at their university for the year, until the next winner takes it home.


Syngenta, the 2015 winner of INFORMS’ Edelman Award, is the title sponsor of this year’s competition.

What about your company? Attract the best students by showing your commitment to the profession’s future. Encourage the development of soft skills. Raise your company’s profile in the industry. Become a sponsor today.

For more information on sponsorship please email informs@informs.org.

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Ashley Kilgore
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