Student Chapter Spotlight: MORSC

The CORS/INFORMS Montréal Operations Research Student Chapter (MORSC) was established in May of 2016 as an inter-university association for graduate students working on Operations Research and Management Science (OR/MS) topics in Montréal. The chapter was created to serve as a hub for knowledge sharing and socializing among students. We pursue the chapter’s goals by organizing student research seminars, panels, networking events, workshops and tutorials while developing and maintaining an integrated website (www.mtl-students.com) where members can stay up to date on the latest events, sign up to give a talk, and consult an online repository of tutorial videos and learning material. We also keep the chapter’s members up to date via weekly e-mail announcements, and a semi-annual newsletter that includes interviews with experts, news of upcoming conferences and information on the chapter’s activities.

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Figure 1 MORSC Inauguration Ceremony

MORSC has organized several events since its establishment. We held our inauguration ceremony with a guest speaker from FICO, MORSC faculty advisors, and professors from the OR community in Montréal. We also hosted a two-day Tutorial on Constraint Programming given by Prof. Chris Beck of the University of Toronto. With the goal of preparing members entering the job market, we organized a one-day Professional Development Workshop where attendees learned leadership, presentation and public speaking skills.

Among other less formal events organized by the chapter are the MORSC-Café sessions where students discuss pre-selected OR/MS topics over coffee and snacks and picnics at local parks and coffee breaks with faculty of the MIE department at Concordia. We have also co-organized student research seminars for those who want to share their more recent findings.

Collaboration with research centers such as the Group for Research in Decision Analysis (GERAD) and the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT) has played a major role for the chapter to achieve its mission. The “Joint Student Research Seminar Series” is one of the outcomes of this collaboration. These seminars, held at least once a month, provide a venue for students to both showcase their research progress and refine their presentation skills. Another result of this collaboration was the joint panel: Life after PhD, where five panelists shared their experiences as PhD students and the transition into faculty positions, postdocs and industry. 

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Figure 2 Constraint Programming Tutorial with Prof. Chris Beck

For 2017, members can look forward to more fun activities and interesting seminars and tutorials designed for some of the diverse needs that appear in OR/MS. We will carry on with the joint student research seminars with GERAD and CIRRELT along with special social and networking events such as a Speed-Networking Activity with experienced professionals from local OR/MS companies, coffee breaks with MIE Concordia, and a Pre-Canada day barbecue. The chapter will also host high impact tutorials given by experts in the field. These include a half day tutorial on using Calcul Quebec’s High Performance Computing resources, a tutorial on the use of SAS enterprise for data manipulation and visualization, and a two-day Advanced User Tutorial on CPLEX

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Figure 3 MORSC student seminar series

MORSC is committed to the future generations of OR/MS professionals, starting from the very roots. One event geared for high school students is The Operations Research Challenge (TORCH). This event aims to expose students to Operations Research problems by means of a fun, interactive all day competition followed by talks given by OR/MS experts. This event, co-organized with TORCH Montréal, TORCH Toronto and GERAD, will expose over 50 students in Montréal to the intricate world of OR/MS. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to promote its anniversary ceremony in May where we will highlight events of the past year, present the new executive committee, and host a distinguished guest speaker to discuss the impact of Montréal on OR/MS. This will be followed by a cocktail and networking event for the chapter’s members, faculty, sponsors, and industrial partners.

(Edited by: Emily Tucker)