As part of an initiative to improve the CS-Econ academic job market, this blog post is to provide initial information for Econ-CS students who are interested in applying to business schools and operations research (OR) departments. Special thanks for coauthoring this post are due to guest bloggers Itai Ashlagi (MIT, Sloan) and Jacob Leshno (Columbia Business School).
Business schools have a variety of groups, different schools are organized differently and groups differ by their names. The most relevant groups are in the area of Operations (such as Operations Management, Operations Research), Decisions (such Decision Sciences and Information Science), and depending on your research you might find connections to Marketing or Strategy groups. It is worthwhile to spend some time looking online and engaging your contacts to learn more about different places that might be interested in you. This post will focus mostly on the Operations job market although some information is related to all of these areas.
Job market candidates who have further questions that are not answered below are encouraged to email either of the authors of this post. Answers to any general-interest questions will be included in future updates.
When does the job market take place?
The typical recruiting process for Operations-like groups starts by asking applicants to submit a partial application due October or November. The early applications are used for conducting short interviews/meetings with candidates in INFORMS (a big annual conference in OR and Management Science which will take place this year on November 9-12). In addition to short interviews, departments will send to representatives attend talks of potential candidate who are presenting at INFORMS (information regarding the talk should be included in the early application).
Deadlines for “full” applications are usually after INFORMS (between Thanksgiving and January and vary quite a bit), and flyouts (campus interviews) take place between January and March. Applying early for short interviews is not a requirement.
Some Marketing groups have faculty that do quantitative research and may be interested in CS-Econ work. The Marketing job market begins very early (application deadlines are around August) and campus interviews are around October-November. We hope to collect more information about this market in the future.
How to apply?
Information about OR-like job postings can be found at Operations Academia. Also check the INFORMS website under “Build your career“. Groups such as Decisions Sciences or Information Sciences may also post their jobs on economics job listings such as the AEA’s Job Openings for Economists.
What can I read to be better prepared?
General advice about the job market in economics and some for OR is given in the links below. Although the economics job market is a bit different, much of the advice is very relevant to candidate going to OR-like jobs and is recommended to read:
- Operations Academia‘s advice for the Operations job market.
- The Stanford Economics Department’s advice for the job market.
- John Cawley’s A Guide and Advice for Economists on the U.S. Junior Academic Job Market.
- David Laibson’s Job Market Tips.
What should be my job talk/job market paper?
This is a tough question as the OR-like market is somewhere between economics and CS in several ways. CS candidate typically have many papers while economics students typically have only a few polished papers. The job talk/job market paper should showcase that you have an agenda, even if your results are dispersed between different papers. You want to convey that you have a well formed research direction and make your work relevant and interesting to your audience. To make your work relevant, remember that the audience of your talk does not necessarily have a CS background and so you should not assume they are familiar with CS methods or justification. You must explain why your result is a good result.
It is important to have a job market paper (see advice about job market papers for econonomics students).
When should I start preparing for this job market?
As early as possible. We would suggest to start to thinking about the job market (job market paper) at least two years before graduating. When you are conducting research, think how it will fit into a cohesive research portfolio. Going to conferences and communicating with colleagues from other fields will help you understand how to interest them in your research when you are on the market. Finding and working on more general materials (like applications, statements, etc.) usually happens after the summer of the year of graduation (or Marketing this begins before the summer). It is recommended not to wait until the fall to begin.
How do business schools “count” conference publications?
Different fields have different publication outlets. Business schools/OR care less about CS conference publications, although it is understood that candidates maybe come from different backgrounds. Journal publications are important and there are several top journals in the OR-like area. Common ones are Management Science and Operations Research. Top economics journals are also good. Other journals that are often considered good in different groups (such as Math or OR, Mathematical Programming, top economics field journals like GEB). It is in general good for students who are interested in such jobs to submit papers to good journals.
Are there venues to present work prior to the job market in order to increase visibility?
Yes. INFORMS is in the fall and MSOM (Manufacturing science and Operations Management) is in the early summer.
- INFORMS‘s call for papers is in the late spring and it is not very competitive. There are also organized (invited) sessions, typically there is a cluster on CS-Econ topics that is organized by someone in CS-Econ.
- MSOM‘s call for papers happens early in the spring and it is also not competitive. Submissions are just a summary of few pages. They have a mailing list one can register to get information not only about the conference (also many job postings are sent through this mailing list). MSOM has special sessions for job market candidates to give talks and these talks are recorded.
What are the main things that business schools are looking for in interviews that are distinct from CS interviews?
As in every interview, your interviewers are interested to learn about your work and to learn all your strengths. In contrast to CS interviews, they may not be familiar with some/many technical aspects of your work, so explaining your results may be more challenging. Business schools need people who can teach MBAs, and value the ability to communicate ideas in a non technical way. For example, your ability to clearly motivate to the (non-CS) audience of your job talk your CS methods can help demonstrate this ability. One-on-one interviewers will be looking for this ability as well. Also, candidates typically wear a suit to their interview.