Sue Merchant

When I was in my last year at university (1970) studying Physics, a career analyst  firm advised me that three possible careers were likely to suit me: Work Study, OR and Statistics. The university careers office gave me a pile of literature about OR which had been proactively provided to them by the ORS.

OR looked great, so I applied to several firms (including MoD, Met Police, Rowntree, and ICI Paints) and accepted an offer from MoD. I was posted to the Navy department in central London and had a fascinating time for several years before I spotted an advert in Inside OR for a vacancy in the Met Police.

I stayed there in a variety of posts for around 27 years, starting as an SSO and ending up as a department director. I was invited to chair the ORS’ Heads of OR Committee for a few years, which was really valuable experience and led to many good OR contacts. When I left the Met in 2002 (following a reorganisation) and became an independent consultant, through OR contacts at LSE, I started supervising MSc student projects there, and still do most years.

I took the opportunity to keep in touch with Met colleagues by helping to set up the ORS Criminal Justice special interest group, thanks to the very supportive ORS Manager and staff. I was lucky enough to become a VP and subsequently President of the ORS and met many useful contacts such as the President of IFORS, which resulted in a spell as a VP of IFORS and subsequently as a VP of INFORMS. Now I assist the president of the African Federation of OR Societies (AFROS)  in running its Executive Committee and helping to link up African OR analysts across the continent.   

So many thanks to the ORS for pointing me to an OR career and supporting me throughout my membership! 

Sue Merchant. Semi-Retired Fellow of the ORS.