Best Operations Research program?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Oxford22, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Oxford22

    Oxford22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    This topic concerns life DURING the Academies, although I found no place neutral enough to cross over the various academy boundaries to ask this.

    I am looking to major in Operations Research, but have had difficulty finding sources that cite rankings for this program throughout various colleges in the U.S.

    I understand Princeton, Cornell, and Columbia all have fine programs for this major, but I am not quite sure how the academies compare. Does anyone have this information handy or could they elaborate on OR as its curriculum is compared both among the academies themselves as well as the academies and other top tier institutions? Thank you.
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    eagle36 should be able to answer this when he finds his way on here, he was a USAFA OR major!

    And, for some more perspective, one of our classmates (friend of eagle and me) majored in OR and is now at MIT getting her MS in OR there. So, I think if MIT thought the USAFA OR major was good enough to take into their grad program, it's probably decent. :D
     
  3. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm a USCGA cadet, and an EE major, but I seriously considered switching to OR. Lifestyle wise, OR majors have it made here because they don't have any labs or papers to do - they just have to do math so there's more time to do other things like sports or sleep.

    If you're interested in computer programming, our OR majors do some of that (although not as intensely as our EE's). The sky's the limit for a math major, so you'll have good grad school options like hornet said.
     
  4. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    342
    Just a personal view...

    If you're GOOD at EE...stay with it. In the civilian world, right now, EE's are not hurting like the others in jobs. There are EE jobs around the country (my wife is in semiconductors, LOTS of EE openings around the country, recruiters call HER) and most folks, if they're willing to "go where the work is" are not having much trouble finding positions.

    At least, from our view.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  5. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    2
    It's a really good major. Lot's of work and a bit difficult to understand, but I like it overall (just not my GPA). I'm going to stick with it though, because I know it's a much, much more valuable degree. And I like it.
     
  6. Oxford22

    Oxford22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    But I suppose OR can also be valuable depending on one's aspirations. It's definitely a sustainable major for someone who wants to continue serving even after 5 and assist the intelligence community. Right? :)
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,750
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    i don't see OR as being a huge part of the intelligence community...
     
  8. Oxford22

    Oxford22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    There is a lot of OR used here at RAND for analysis in the intel arena for the Army and AF. But this is RAND, not the military.
     
  10. Oxford22

    Oxford22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are there more useful majors for intel, specifically offered by the service academies?
     
  11. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Intel at USAFA is a major-neutral AFSC. Your major doesn't matter for selection. As far as usefulness, having talked to my friends in the intel field, languages are about the only thing that might be more useful depending on what you do.
     
  12. Oxford22

    Oxford22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    We may be discussing differing occupations. I understand there are those who gather intelligence (take photographs, translate text, interrogate, file papers, etc). But there are also those who analyze threats, needs, projections, models...

    Figuring out how many troops will need to occupy a country, how many operating bases will be necessary to sustain occupation, how many reinforcements to have on stand-by... predicting the destinations of ballistic weapons belonging to a radical threat. There are so many various instances in which statistics, mathematical modeling and especially optimization play a role, and they all succumb to Operations Research. Perhaps it's not what (MI) is primarily concerned with, but I'm looking for the branch that is.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,750
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    For the operations side of things, intelligence tends to annoy... unless it helps.
     
  14. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    It is places like RAND who do the Air Force and some of the Army's strategic analysis, not in house as much. The MI field is not the latter part of your message in reality. MI officers, at least in the AF, do not do much in the way of battle planning, they provide information on enemy threats and others make those decisions. If you are looking to do mathematical modeling, optimizations, simulations, etc., you really aren't going to be finding the types of things your looking for within the services. At least in my experience.
     
  15. AnneMartinFletcher

    AnneMartinFletcher Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sometimes longevity means a good program. I majored in OR at USAFA in 1980, when it was a new field, and got my MS in it at AFIT.

    The main thing about OR is that it is interdisciplinary--NOT just math. You will/should be expected to combine a wide range of knowledge and skills to solve real world problems. This might be decision analysis, such as how to prioritize budget request items; setting up war-games and analyzing the results; creating a better way to airlift critical parts into a combat zone as was set up during the first Gulf War; finding economical ways to schedule aircraft; where to stage aircrews; computerizing human heuristics; the list goes on and on. The most difficult job for a civilian OR person is convincing companies that this field can solve problems that their current folks don't even recognize. A true sigma 6 type attitude.

    And I spent waaaayy more time in the computer lab than the EEs and CS majors.
     
  16. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    2
    That's probably due to the fact that EEs and CS majors are much, much better at programming than OR majors are and don't need to much time to pump out programs :wink:
     
  17. AnneMartinFletcher

    AnneMartinFletcher Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    True. But can you COBOL, FORTRAN, Hypercard, LISP, and punch cards? Ha,ha, ha. Ancient, archaic knowledge that I didn't have to program in after graduation, either.
    Have fun with C++ and HTML
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,750
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    1980..... Is that when they were saying "computers are a fad....this is a basket weaving degree!" :biggrin:
     

Share This Page