Operational Researcher


    Operational researchers provide the quantitative and qualitative information that improves strategies, decision-making and processes.

    They examine the way an organization operates, using mathematical and analytical techniques to help it to develop better business practices and systems.


    Employers of operational researchers

    • Consulting and professional services firms
    • Transport and logistics companies
    • Financial organizations
    • Commercial and industrial organizations, such as engineering firms, retailers and technology companies



    • interviewing managers and staff;
    • gathering relevant hard and soft data from systems and personnel at various levels within the organization;
    • defining the problem and the results you would like to achieve;
    • collecting and analyzing data and developing models, often using spreadsheets, databases and pragmatic, numerical approaches to solve problems;
    • using analytical methods, such as simulation, network analysis, decision analysis, multi-criteria analysis, scenario analysis, soft-systems modelling, optimization, game theory and queuing theory;
    • using mathematical programming techniques, including linear programming;
    • using statistical methods and testing hypotheses;
    • identifying innovative and pragmatic solutions to clients’ management problems and testing these solutions;
    • feeding in results and helping to implement chosen options;
    • compiling a report of findings and making presentations to clients, often requiring clear and persuasive explanation of complex processes to a non-technical audience.



    You need to be a graduate to at least bachelors-level to become an operational researcher. Relevant degree subjects include:

    • business studies;
    • economics;
    • engineering;
    • life and medical science;
    • management science;
    • mathematics;
    • operational research;
    • physics;
    • statistics;
    • technology.



    • the ability to identify and deploy appropriate advanced analytical techniques;
    • a strong understanding of mathematical concepts;
    • the ability to turn raw mathematical data into meaningful information;
    • good interpersonal and communication skills to explain solutions clearly to both technical and non-technical audiences;
    • the ability to establish a rapport with colleagues and clients;
    • flexibility and the ability to pick up new ideas.