Issues in Education: Survey: Analytics student population continues to grow

By Irv Lustig

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The population of students studying analytics is increasing, according to an informal Princeton Consultants snapshot survey at the INFORMS Annual Meeting last November in Nashville, Tenn. Most students’ future plans are academic or research-oriented; for those who intend to become practitioners, consulting is the leading industry choice.

The non-scientific study involved 111 self-selected survey participants, all of whom were onsite at the conference. The participants included 73 students, 33 professors and five practitioners.

Princeton Consultants reported the following findings:

  • 23.6 percent of students said they intend to become analytics practitioners at for-profit or non-profit organizations; the remainder plan to remain in academia or perform research.
  • For students intending to work at a for-profit business, consulting is the most preferred of 14 industries, followed by financial services and healthcare.
  • 94 percent of professors said the student population in analytics at their schools has increased or remained the same size during the last three years.
  • Professors who belong to INFORMS teach analytics in a variety of departments and schools, led by Business Administration (MBA) and the Operations Research Department.

Participating professors answered the following:
In the past three years at my institution, the size of the student population that is studying OR/Analytics has:
See Figure 1.
I teach in the following department/school:
See Figure 2.

Participating students answered the following:
After graduation, my first preference is to:
See Figure 3.
Students who had selected working as a practitioner at a for-profit organization answered the following:
I would consider entering the workforce as a practitioner for a for-profit organization in the following industries (check all that apply):
See Figure 4.
Students who had selected working as a practitioner at a non-profit organization answered the following:
I plan to enter the workforce as a practitioner at a governmental or non-profit agency in the following area:
See Figure 5.

Irv Lustig is an optimization principal at Princeton Consultants ( and a longtime, active member of INFORMS.