People employed in O.R. are graduates with good degrees. O.R. is a multidisciplinary area where entry is not limited to people with particular qualifications. Whilst many have followed courses with a significant mathematical, statistical or computing content, opportunities can exist for people from other disciplines and those who move into O.R. from other professions.
Many employers will look firstly for quantitative, logical and communication skills and then provide any further appropriate training. In fact, graduates are recruited from many disciplines - and most O.R. Groups will have members contributing a variety of skills.
After graduating, the choice is either to seek employment straight away or follow a post graduate course. Many significant employing organisations do prefer candidates with an MSc in O.R. and a list of post graduate courses can be found on the Postgraduate Degree Courses page.
The breadth of O.R. work does make it hard to define. Consequently, identifying the personal and professional skills which are common to O.R. specialists is also difficult. Naturally, a solid grounding in mathematics is a real asset for a career in O.R. However, O.R. is certainly not just about mathematics, statistics and computing. For example, before launching into data analysis, it is essential to assemble and understand the information relating to the problem area. This often involves in-depth discussions with people at all levels. Good communication skills and business awareness are, therefore, crucial in winning co-operation whilst literacy, numeracy and computer literacy are vital in the execution of the work.
The OR Society offers a range of training courses that provide professionals with the tools required to develop their career in O.R.
As one experienced O.R. professional put it:
"People who work in O.R. use three key skills to work with clients to find practical and pragmatic solutions to operational and strategic problems, often working within tight timing constraints.
A. they identify and deploy appropriate Analytical techniques
B. they need to apply their understanding of the organisation's Business
C. and they need to have excellent Communication skills to explain their solutions clearly."