INFORMS Early Career Practitioner Award

2024 - Winner(s)

2024 Winner(s)

Purpose of the Award

Committee Chair

Shantih Spanton
Manhattan Associates

Click here to view full committee list

The INFORMS Early Career Practitioner Award was created to engage and recognize early career professionals in the fields of operations research, management science, and advanced analytics for their exceptional contributions to business/industry, government, and consulting, and service to the profession.

INFORMS acknowledges the distinct needs of practitioners and has strategically prioritized addressing their professional growth throughout their careers. The award seeks to acknowledge individuals who have made significant contributions within the initial five years of their post-graduation employment, and currently working outside of academia.

Click here to view the application process & submit application.


  • November 15, 2023 - Applications will open.
  • January 21, 2024 11:59pm Eastern - Submission Deadline for all
  • March 1, 2024 - INFORMS announces the award winner(s)
  • April 15, 2024 INFORMS Analytics Conference - presentation of award at Edelman Gala


"Early career practitioner" refers to an INFORMS member who has no more than five years* post-graduation of highest degree (at any time during the calendar year), and at least two years of industry experience, currently working outside of academia (i.e., industry, consulting, government, non-profit, research labs, etc.). Applicants from any OR/MS or analytics related disciplines are eligible to apply. Full-time practitioners with adjunct academic appointments are also eligible to apply. Past winners are not eligible.

* If there are extenuating circumstances for applying beyond the timeframe listed in the eligibility requirements, it can be addressed within the submission process. Extenuating circumstances beyond an applicant's control include, but are not limited to:

  • Documented medical condition or serious illness
  • Death of a family member or friend
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Maternity/family leave

Application Process

Submissions will be accepted through both nominations and self-nominations. Nominators are expected to use INFORMS online submission portal and provide all relevant information including:

  • A nomination statement (1-2 pages) highlighting the nominee's contributions and their application of OR/MS and Advanced Analytics in their industry (inside or outside of their organization such as clients, multidisciplinary teams, etc.).
  • Up to 3 letters of reference supporting the applicant's qualifications, providing qualitative support for their contributions to their area of work. At least one letter of reference should be from outside of academia (and preferably, from the current employer of the nominee). Only one letter may be from an academic (e.g., faculty advisor or project partner).
  • Other supporting materials, if applicable, such as publication citations, media interviews, "Tell me about yourself" interviews, patents pending, etc.
  • Acknowledgment of the outlined terms and conditions in the portal.

Judging Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of professional accomplishments, leadership and service to the profession or
  • Quantifiable or demonstrable impact of work to influence practice, policies, and body of knowledge within the organization or industry.
  • Creativity - level of originality, novelty, or practicality of contributions
  • Demonstrable contributions to disseminating OR/MS and advanced analytics knowledge within the organization or industry.
  • Evidence of successful collaboration within multidisciplinary teams.


Up to two recipients will be awarded each year. The committee may choose not to present the award if no suitable candidate is identified.

The award includes a framed certificate presented at the Edelman Gala held at INFORMS Analytics Conference. Other forms of recognition, such as interviews for OR/MS Today or other INFORMS magazines may also be considered.

Apply today

INFORMS Early Career Practitioner Award Application Process

Apply today

Past Awardees

2024 Winner(s)
Cristiana Lara, Amazon