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Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

The Early Career Professionals’ Network (ECPN) is a group designed to help recent graduates, soon to be graduates, or anyone newly entering the field of analytics/O.R. to build their professional networks and learn the practicalities of working in the field from experienced practitioners. The ECPN Workshop was created to reflect the fact that analytics work in the real world is challenging in ways that aren’t always taught in analytics and O.R. degree programs. The Workshop is held annually at the INFORMS Analytics Conference with a carefully selected cohort of attendees. Highlights from the program include how to land your first job, a panel of analytics executives giving perspective on their career and the marketplace, and a role-playing exercise working with “clients.”

All participants will be eligible to request a modest stipend to assist with travel and attendance costs. The actual amount will vary based on sponsorships and amount listed as needed on nomination form but in the past, it has been as much as a few hundred dollars.

We encourage everyone to also submit to present a poster at the conference. This is a great way to participate and network at the conference. Poster participants will also receive the presenter rate for attending the conference.

Learn More About Presenting a Poster

Nomination Deadline

Monday, February 19, at 11:59pm EST

Notification Date

March 8


Saturday, April 13

Sunday, April 14


Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (Orlando)


  • Participants must be enrolled in or have graduated from a graduate degree program in analytics, operations research, management science, or a related field.
  • The event is geared to master’s and Ph.D. students and recent graduates working in the analytics/O.R. field.
  • Participants must be nominated by their university program/department, a representative from their employer, or an INFORMS mentor.
  • A department or employer may nominate multiple students or employees. When nominating multiple students or employees, the department or employer should indicate a rank-order preference of nominees in the event that total nominations exceed the event’s attendance limit.
  • Important to note:
    • A maximum of 2 participants from each nominating university and employer will be chosen to participate.
    • Previous attendees of the IPC, ECC or ECPN are not eligible to attend.

Nomination Deadline:

Monday, February 19, 2024, at 11:59pm EST

Notification Date: March 8, 2024

Nomination Package: This should be completed and uploaded by the department chair, program director, or supervisor. Packages are due by 11:59pm ET on Monday, February 19, 2024, and must include the following information about the intended participant (nominee) in the format specified:

  • Letter of recommendation from the department chair, program director, supervisor, or INFORMS mentor.
  • Statement of purpose from the nominee including description of career and research interests.
  • Resume or CV.
  • Nominee’s name, mailing address, email address and phone number.
  • Other required information to include in the submission: nominee’s major field of study, expected degree (M.S., Ph.D., MBA, etc.), expected date of graduation, thesis/dissertation title (or area of concentration if nominee’s program does not require a thesis), and current employer and position.
  • Estimate of financial reimbursement requested.
    Note: Award amounts will be determined after sponsorships have been confirmed and will be need-based. If this request is not included in the nomination package, no consideration will be given for financial aid. Amount of aid provided will not exceed amount listed in nomination form as left to be paid by participant.
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals


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Sample Agenda from a previous ECPN event:

Note: This is just an example of what we have done in the past and is not the actual 2024 ECPN Workshop agenda.


Time Event
5:30–8pm Networking event – off-site


Time Event
7–7:30am Meeting Check-in & Coffee
7:30–8:15am Session 1: Introductions of Participants and Program Committee Members
8:15–9am Session 2: Perspectives on the Practice of O.R. & Analytics
9–9:45am Session 3: Data Revolution
9:45–10am Break

Introduction to executives

10:30–11:30am Small group discussions with executives
11:30am–12:30pm Lunch
12:30–2:00pm Session: 4 Role Playing: Develop an AI/ML/DS based product and GTM Strategy or an Enhancement to a Current Product for B2B or B2C
2:00–2:30pm Presentations from Role Playing exercise
2:30–2:45pm Closing Remarks
2:45–3pm Refresh and go to Career Fair

Testimonials from Previous Attendees

Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Kalbe Abbas Agharia, M.S.

Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University

Position: Associate Data Scientist, Best Buy

I was fortunate to receive the Early Career Professional Network Scholarship from INFORMS to attend the annual ECPN workshop, and it was truly an exceptional experience. Interacting with industry experts and gaining insights into the world of operations research and analytics was invaluable. The consultation exercise, where we mock interviewed employees from an ice cream company at various levels, allowed me to develop my skills in asking the right questions and navigating different personalities within an organization. Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to connect with fellow colleagues who were at a similar point in their careers, despite our diverse backgrounds. This workshop provided a platform to relate our experiences, exchange ideas, and build a strong professional network. I highly recommend this workshop to any aspiring professional in the field of analytics and operations research.
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Peyton Cline

Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics and MBA Candidate at Appalachian State University

In April 2023, I had the opportunity to attend my first INFORMS Conference and participate in the ECPN. The Early Career Professionals Network allowed me to connect with brilliant graduate students from across the country. Along with building connections with peers, I was able to network with and gain insight from professionals that I still keep in contact with today. I learned so much about building a career in analytics and would recommend this experience to anyone who is looking to expand their knowledge and professional network!

Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Jose Eduardo Oros, M.S.


The INFORMS Professional Colloquium is an all-around analytics experience. You are provided with the opportunity to interact with highly regarded experts in diverse fields of analytics, from groundbreaking research to managerial experts. Furthermore, the small size of the colloquium group gives you the chance to closely interact with speakers, and have one-to-one sessions with a senior mentor, assigned based on your interest and experience. It provides a unique chance to meet and network with peers from the best analytics programs in the country and exchange ideas, questions and contacts.
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Vijaya Priya Rama Vijayasarathy, B.E.

Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

The INFORMS Analytics Conference in Las Vegas (2017) was my first conference during my graduate education. I was deeply interested in connecting with young professionals from interdisciplinary backgrounds with an interest in analytics, operations research, and management science. The Early Career Professionals’ Network (previously referred to as the INFORMS Professional Colloquium or IPC) was a perfect platform that brought together 20 exceptionally talented students (graduate & PhD) with similar interests from across the U.S. & Canada. In addition to the exceptionally talented peers, the panelists were amazing, and the Career Fair was extremely useful. Most of all, the professional network at INFORMS IPC is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. I am still in touch with my cohort of IPC attendees. IPC has transformed my learning experience and inspired me to learn more through fun learning experiences. Thank you, INFORMS. I strongly recommend IPC to any career-driven, analytically inclined, and ambitious young professional. Good luck!
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Yulia Vorotyntseva, M.S.

The University of Texas at Dallas

I went to the IPC 2017 because I had too little exposure to the industry during my PhD program, and I wanted to learn about possibilities of research collaboration and career opportunities that industry provides. My colleagues who had participated in this colloquium in the past, highly recommended it to me, and I am happy that I took their advice. In just one day my perspective on the practice of analytics broadened tremendously. Most importantly, thanks to the comfortable networking environment, I met influential industry practitioners and enjoyed time with my peers. I strongly believe that participating in IPC is simply a good idea for everyone who is considering a career in a field related to business analytics.
Real-World Career Guidance for Practice-Oriented Early-Career Professionals

Nitish Ghosal

Data Scientist, Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation

I had the opportunity to be part of the ECPN colloquium last year and attend the INFORMS Analytics conference. The event provided me with an opportunity to not only connect with peers from the top analytics programs in the country but also a chance to gain insights & perspectives from highly distinguished panelists which included Edelman laureates, Analytics practice leaders from Fortune 500 companies & eminent analytics practitioners & academicians. Not only this, I also got to attend the Career Fair & Edelman Gala and listen to the track sessions which were hosted by industry experts from top organizations on the most cutting edge topics. Overall, I would highly recommend this event to anyone who is starting their career in analytics and looking to build a strong & influential professional network.

The co-chairs of the ECPN event are Heather Moe, Esri, and Qinglin Duan, Bayer Crop Science.

For more information, email