Graduation will soon be upon us, so it seems as good a time as any to evaluate whether the skills we (university professors in operations research, aka O.R.) teach our graduate students match the skills industry practitioners want from their new hires.
I made a Wordle out of the required/recommended qualifications of 30 industry jobs on the INFORMS OR/MS Classifieds page. I had to clean the data a little since poor Wordle gave a lot of importance to words like "using" or "highly" otherwise, and I removed words like "training", "skills" and "experience", which don't add anything to the Wordle since their meaning depends on context. I could have cleaned the data more, but I didn't have time to make the Wordle look even better.
So, here it comes!
From this we learn that communication and team(work) are really, really important to employers - so a proven track record in communicating effectively and working well in teams could make the difference for new O.R. grads with advanced degrees!
The ability to analyze data using statistical techniques also seems much on employers' mind. Note that languages really refer to computing languages but computing was one of those words that I removed because they overshadowed the rest. (If you're surprised O.R. involves computing, hopefully you're not one of our graduates.) Employers also naturally care a lot about optimization - improving their strategy for the future, instead of only giving a detailed picture of the past.
Other words that pop up often (although they're a bit over-shadowed in the picture) are Excel, CPLEX, Java, SAS, C++ and SQL. Regression, time-series, SPSS also make an appearance.
And if you're a student but aren't yet graduating, you know what to work on!