2018 July Inside OR

This month, Sanja Petrovic shares ten good reasons to be active in The OR Society; we look at how R2 data labs are turning data into insights; and Conference Chair Graham Rand discusses opportunities for employers at OR60.

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Ten Good Reasons to be Active in The OR Society


This is my last article prepared for Inside OR in my role as the Vice President of The OR Society. My term will conclude at the end of the year after serving six years on the board. It looks like an optimal time for some personal reflection. Would I recommend being an active member of The OR Society, whereby ‘active’ means more than just attending the annual conferences? Yes, I would definitely recommend having an active role in the Society; be it a member of the General Council, Board or a member of a Regional Society or Special Interest Group, or some new instruments that the Society may develop. There are a variety of reasons for this. Here, I list ten of them which are important in my opinion.

  1. You will learn new things. I learnt very much from my participation in Board meetings. I learnt how to prepare for Board meetings, and how to write business cases to ‘sell’ my ideas in a convincing way. I also learnt from a number of past/current presidents how to chair meetings; they all have different styles and all brought something new to the meetings. I also learnt many things that are important in the governance of any organisation including a charity organisation as The OR Society is.
  2. It will give you an invaluable opportunity to meet operational research (OR) practitioners, to learn their ways of reasoning and their views on a variety of topics relevant to the governance of the society. Even more, you may end up writing an academic paper with them, as I did, which is a lot of fun.
  3. It will give you an opportunity to meet other academics from different universities and exchange views on the forthcoming REF, conferences to attend, etc..
  4. It will give you an opportunity to attend some training organised by The OR Society, in areas such as unconscious bias, well before universities started talking about diversity.
  5. It will increase your knowledge of OR-related subjects. You will hear about many topics before others. Just to mention a few recent things: you could hear about GDPR before you started receiving thousands of e-mails asking for your consent for everything (these are even more annoying than receiving unwanted e-mails); about the Bond maths review; a new publisher of your favourite OR journals published by The OR Society; a new Business Analytics journal; about MSc scholarships that the Society has recently started awarding, etc..
  6. It encourages you to develop your diplomatic skills.
  7. It will advance your orientation skills. If you join the Board, and come for the meeting by train, you will need to learn how to come to the Society’s office from the railway station on foot. Initially, you may feel embarrassed when you meet your colleagues who come from the same station approaching the office from direction opposite from yours. But do not worry, after a certain time you will learn different routes, you will be very proud of that and will feel confident to join a discussion which route is optimal with respect to different criteria such as distance, slope of streets, slipperiness during rain, traffic, etc..
  8. You will see a spacious, recently refurbished Birmingham New Street and a Queen Victoria monument on Victoria Square.
  9. You may develop a habit to drop in to a shop called All Greek, which is close to the station, and to buy the best halva with pistachios (by the way, I am not a Greek
    so this is not a biased opinion).
  10. You will develop a habit to read Inside OR.

Instead of conclusions, I would like to say a big thank you to all members of The OR Society whom I was lucky to work with during my term on the board.

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