INFORMS Initiatives

Student competition, logo, aCAP & more

Student Analytical Scholar Case Study Competition

INFORMS will once again offer the SAS/INFORMS Analytics Section Student Analytical Scholar Competition, a scholarship program that will send the winning recipient to the 2017 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. Supported by SAS and sponsored by the Analytics Society of INFORMS, the competitive program will recognize one outstanding student who would like to learn more about the practice of analytics at the conference in Las Vegas on April 2-4, 2017. The scholarship covers the cost of attending the event and additional networking opportunities.

The purpose of the competition is to practice the process of structuring and presenting a compelling proposal for analytical work. Applicants will be asked to produce a “Statement of Work” (SOW) for a case study based on a real-life project. Such documents are usually created early in a project, after some exploratory work, but may or may not fully define the problem.

SAS will provide a case study. A discussion forum will be available Jan. 30-Feb. 10, 2017, for applicants, who are encouraged to ask questions and explore the problem definition in order to put together a viable, professional SOW. The winner will be selected based on the cohesion, proper use of assumptions and demonstrated technical and presentation skills in the SOW, as well as the practicality of the proposed approach to solve the business problem.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 13, 2017. For more information, visit:

INFORMS unveils new logo

During the recent 2016 INFORMS Annual Meeting, Vice President of Marketing and Outreach Laura Albert McLay unveiled a new logo that will officially begin to be used with the launch of the new INFORMS website in the spring of 2017.

McLay also previewed the new IOL (INFORMS Online), which is expected to go live prior to the 2017 Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in April.

INFORMS launches aCAP

INFORMS unveils new logo

The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) program has helped hundreds of organizations find experienced analytics professionals through a rigorous certification process. Now the program is helping organizations tap early career professionals with the launch of aCAP (Associate Certified Analytics Professional).

The aCAP provides a trusted and independent verification of analytics knowledge of someone who is in the early stages of their career, allowing hiring managers to more easily identify the best possible analytics talent that will continue to grow and contribute to their organization. Likewise, aCAP provides emerging analytics professionals with a competitive advantage over their peers with the distinction of a certification, while affording them the opportunity to build the experience and soft skills necessary for a full CAP certification.

Both the CAP and the aCAP programs are managed by INFORMS. For more information, visit

Carefully chosen words boost fundraising donations

A forthcoming study in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, based on the psychology of sympathy, shows that small changes in the wording of a fundraising letter can increase donations by more than 300 percent.

With more than a million registered public charities in the United States, fundraising for good causes has become more difficult than ever. Annual events like Giving Tuesday increase overall giving, but also increase the competition for funds around those events. For their research, the authors of the study, K. Sudhir of Yale University, Subroto Roy of the University of New Haven, and Mathew Cherian of HelpAge, India, found that leveraging psychological theories on sympathy when drafting a fundraising letter can increase donations enormously.

To test their hypotheses, the authors conducted a large-scale direct mail fundraising experiment on a cold list of about 200,000 potential donors across India and a warm list of more than 100,000 past donors on behalf of one of India’s most well-respected charities that serve the elderly.

The main findings were surprising. Donations changed dramatically based on key characteristics of the target of the donation and the appeal. On the cold list, donations went up by 110 percent if the target was a named individual versus an unnamed group, by 55 percent if the target belonged to the same religion as the donor versus a different religion, by 33 percent if the target fell into poverty versus being poor with an undescribed past, and by 66 percent if the annual donation was framed as monthly versus daily amounts. Combining all these tactics led to a 300 percent increase in donations.

2017 INFORMS Analytics Conference accepting submissions

The deadline for submitting proposal presentations for the 2017 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research is Jan. 15, 2017. The conference will be held April 2-4 in Las Vegas. Speakers selected through the approval process will receive a discount off regular registration rates.

The Conference Selection Committee welcomes proposals in all areas and all topics within the business analytics and O.R. arena. Both presentation content and speaking expertise will be considered in selection, with priority given to real-world business topics and high-quality academic work geared to real situations.

For more information, visit: