Operations Research Analysts

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Also known as:
Operations Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Procedure Analyst, Process Analyst

ABOUT OPERATIONS RESEARCH ANALYST CAREERS
Video transcript

Making a management decision requires hard data, along with wisdom and leadership. That information is supplied by operations research analysts. Operations research is also called management science, and that's what it is - the science of making decisions and solving problems.

It is a field that combines quantitative analysis, mathematical models, with strategic thinking. The goal is improved performance. Many methods used in operations research were actually developed during World War II, to determine where supplies could best be used. In fact, the Armed Forces continue to rely on operations research analysts, as does private industry.

These analysts deal with issues such as strategy, forecasting, inventory control, personnel scheduling, resource allocation, and distribution systems. In the 21st century, analysts will rely on computers as well as their own skills. So if you're interested in pursuing this career, a computer science background will enhance the expected master's degree or doctorate in operations research, engineering, business, mathematics, information systems, or management science.

While there are few openings in this highly specialized field, those who succeed will work among the top management of companies and government agencies, analyzing problems and finding solutions.

SNAPSHOT
Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decisionmaking, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, services, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.
Leadership
MED
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Develop and apply time and cost networks to plan, control, and review large projects.

Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.

Design, conduct, and evaluate experimental operational models in cases where models cannot be developed from existing data.

Break systems into their components, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them.

Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.

Educate staff in the use of mathematical models.

Present the results of mathematical modeling and data analysis to management or other end users.

Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.

Collaborate with others in the organization to ensure successful implementation of chosen problem solutions.

Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.

Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
TOP SKILLS
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Systems Evaluation Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.