Beth Schultz, Editor in Chief, AllAnalytics.com
As I shared a week or so ago, INFORMS, the leading organization for analytics professionals, has a great opportunity for analytics students. It wants to award one student a scholarship to use for attending its upcoming business analytics conference.
If you doubt the value of this opportunity, consider the experience of last year's scholarship winner, Alex Akulov. I caught up with Akulov the other day to get his advice for potential participants... and to find out what he's been up to in the year since winning the 2013 contest. (See INFORMS, SAS Name Student Winners .)
His advice for students is to participate, and his experience stands as the reason why
"There isn't a lot of opportunity, specifically in operations research and analytics, to distinguish yourself in a contest like this. So any opportunity to do that is a good one," Akulov told me in a phone interview.
Coming out of my undergraduate studies and into my Master's, I thought, "OK, with operations research, you gather some data, do some math, and then you get a solution." It's an optimal solution, so you present it to the manager and of course, he's going to say, "Yeah, let's do it because it's optimal." What I didn't realize at the time is, that's not how it works. There are different feasibility constraints and change management processes to consider, so the optimal solution isn't necessarily the best thing for this company.
It made me ask myself questions and forced me to think of myself as the client and to understand what I would want to see in a proposal. So it was an interesting experience and got me to rethink my idea of what operations research does -- in the real world, anyways.