Tuesday, 24 March 2009

How did you get started in O.R.?

For many O.R. scientists in the U.K., the route to that career was a simple one. After a first degree (3 years) with a BSc (Bachelor of Science) or BA (Bachelor of Arts) one took a one year Master's degree as a conversion course. That one year led to an MSc or MA (abbreviations as above). There were several universities offering such conversion courses. Funds for the twelve months often came from a government body, a grant-giving research council. They did for me.

Over the last few years, this funding has declined. And now it is to cease altogether. The research council argues that it should fund research, not training. But the O.R. profession has depended on the conversion courses. What will happen?

It looks as if, in the short term, the courses will continue. There are overseas students who want the British training programmes. There are a few students who will borrow money to follow the course. There may be businesses who will sponsor a recent graduate through the degree, but possibly as a part-time programme.

All in all, the route that I and thousands of other U.K. O.R. profssionals have followed is about to die.

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