Hot MBA Jobs: Operations Research Analyst
In a recent post, we discussed Big Data and the Demand for Business Analytics Talent. We talked about how the study of complex sets of information and data science — something we call big data and business analytics — are both components of a rabidly growing industry. Correlative to the growth of big data is the spike of interest in big data jobs among contemporary MBA students.
Okay, quick refresher…
Big data refers to information sets that are so large and complex that traditional data processing applications aren’t enough. These challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying and information privacy.
Meanwhile, business analytics makes extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive modeling, and fact-based management to drive decision making.
One of the biggest reasons why these fields are gaining new prominence in MBA programs and curriculums is because of the job market — these are skills that employers are currently looking for. As management consultancy firms open new service lines that utilize new digital technologies, the need for data specialists has greatly increased. Gartner, a technology advisory group, estimates that big data created 4.4 million jobs last year.
From a career point of view, there are so many options available to folks focusing on big data and business analytics. Some of these jobs include: Big Data Analytics Business Consultant; Big Data Analytics Architect; Big Data Engineer; Big Data Solution Architect; Big Data Analyst; Analytics Associate; Business Intelligence and Analytics Consultant; Metrics and Analytics Specialist; Prescriptive Analytics; Predictive Analytics; Descriptive Analytics and Operations Research Analyst.
Operations Research Analyst? What’s that?
Like all things “big data and business analytics,” this job requires a little explanation.
Operations research analysts — also called operations analysts — are highly skilled professionals responsible for one or more aspects of performance problem-solving. Operations analysts must synthesize vast amounts of diverse information and often work closely with management and engineering departments.
Like other jobs in the field of big data and business analytics, job opportunities in this field are soaring. According to U.S. News & World Report, there is a projected employment growth of 27 percent for operations research analysts between 2012 and 2022. Jobs for logisticians are expected to grow 22 percent, which is twice the average for all occupations.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, operations research analysts typically have the following job duties:
- Identify and solve real-world problems in areas such as business, logistics, healthcare, or other fields
- Collect and organize information from a variety of sources, such as computer databases, sales histories, and customer feedback
- Gather input from workers involved in all aspects of a problem or from others who have specialized knowledge, so that they can help solve the problem
- Examine information to figure out what is relevant to a problem and what methods might be used to analyze it
- Use statistical analysis, simulations, predictive modeling, or other methods to analyze information and develop practical solutions to business problems
- Advise managers and other decision makers on the impacts of various courses of action to take in order to address a problem
- Write memos, reports, and other documents explaining their findings and recommendations for managers, executives, and other officials
With all of these roles and duties, operations research analysts are involved in all aspects of an organization. There is no one way to solve a problem or reach a solution, and analysts must weigh the costs and benefits of all approaches in their recommendations to managers. For example, they may help decide how to organize products in supermarkets or help companies figure out the most effective way to ship and distribute products; or to help an airline schedule flights and decide what to charge for tickets, analysts may take into account the cities that have to be connected, the amount of fuel required to fly those routes, the expected number of passengers, pilots’ schedules, maintenance costs, and fuel prices.