Operations Research Analyst



“BYU’s math department launched me on a very exciting career in  operations research – the application of mathematics to business management.”

“I deal with the modeling, mathematical theory and algorithmic aspects of inventory control,   production planning, production scheduling, forecasting and capacity management.  It has been fascinating to work with a mixture of very small, very large, and medium-sized companies.”

Operations research analysts are involved in top-level strategizing, planning, and forecasting. They use advanced techniques from mathematics, science, and engineering to make better decisions and to solve problems. These analysts help to allocate resources, measure performance, design production facilities and systems, manage the supply chain, set prices, coordinate transportation and distribution, and analyze large databases. They also have been used in wartime to effectively deploy radar, search for enemy submarines, and get supplies to where they are most needed.

Low End Salary:   $43,520/yr
Median Salary:   $78,630/yr
High End Salary:   $132,500/yr


Operations research analysts must obtain the minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree in an area such as mathematics. Most employers do prefer applicants with a master’s degree and computer programming skills. Keeping up to date with technological advances and improvements in analytical methods is essential.

Math Required:

College Algebra Trigonometry Calculus I, II, III Advanced Multivariable Calculus Linear Algebra Advanced Linear Algebra Linear Programming

When Math is Used:

Operations Research Analysts use math to solve a wide variety of problems. For example, it may be used by: • emergency medical services to plan the deployment of ambulances • governments to analyze the flow of patients through a health care system • hospitals to design blood banking systems or schedule staff and operating rooms • police departments to devise shift schedules that minimize response time and meet budget and human resource needs • railway companies to schedule and optimize the use of rolling stock • airlines to develop pricing strategies, schedule crews and aircraft, and develop disaster recovery plans • manufacturing companies to design or increase the efficiency of production systems • oil companies to evaluate prospective oil or gas projects • forestry companies to help decide how to manage large tracts of forest land • investment firms to manage risk and optimize portfolios.

Potential Employers:

Many operations research analysts in the Federal Government work for the Department of Defense, and others in private industry work directly or indirectly on national defense.


The Game theory, a part of operations research, was used to select a strategy for the Battle of Midway during World War II. The U.S. Navy was on one side of Midway Island, and the Japanese Navy on the other. We calculated our probability of winning in the four cases of our going north of the island or south of it, and the same for the Japanese. Game theory was then used to select the winning strategy.


  • http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos044.htm
  • http://www.bls.gov/oco/pdf/ocos044.pdf
  • http://math.usask.ca/document/netinfo/careers.html
  • http://www.princeton.edu/engineering/undergraduate/majors/requirements/
  • http://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/Content/RequestAction.asp?aspAction=GetHTMLProfile&format=html&occPro_ID=71002671&SNT_ID=25
  • http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152031.htm

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