Careers Fairs Galore

Careers Fairs Galore

October (almost officially) marks the start of the academic year for university students. Whether you’re a first year attending fresher’s week or a final year already in the library, students are back with a vengeance.

For us, this means one thing – careers fairs galore!

As hopefully you will know (if you don’t, read my previous blogs:, we do lots of outreach work promoting Operational Research as a career as it’s predominantly made up by three main activities; maths workshops, career talks and of course career fairs. It’s the latter that at this time of year goes crazy.

Maths or science fairs, post-grad or undergrad, big or small we attend them all!

Some universities contact us directly, asking to attend their specific event – for example, every year Cambridge run a ‘Careers for Mathematicians event’ and this is specifically designed for maths students. We try and take along a few volunteers who have recently graduated and are now working in industry to give them a real life flavour of what O.R. is and what careers it can lead to (last year we had a few students from Cap Gemini present).

For other universities, we get in touch with them. Birmingham University have a large career fair every year and since we’re based in Birmingham, it seemed a no brainer to attend right?! (I thought it was so I emailed the careers lady and off we go - see you there). It’s a small amount from the budget that’s well spent and will (hopefully) increase our reach.

The first one we attended this year was the University of Surrey Autumn Careers Fair. This was held (unsurprisingly) at Surrey University and we had two wonderful volunteers attending (one from AWE and the other from Kenneth Porter Associates). Feedback from the event was really positive with the guys having a great time and running out of one of the brochures by 1pm! Next time, we'll pack even more.

Okay... so when we’re at these career fairs, what do we do (apart from chat and drink coffee)?! Well we explain what O.R. is, why someone should get involved and answer any questions they might have. Who do you work for is a common one. Now depending on the volunteer that could be GORS, CapGemini, Datatech Analytics or any other company that employs O.R. analysts. The second question is likely around what you do from day to day. Again, depending who’s present will depend on the answer. If it’s Vicki from NATS, she'll explain all about forecasting for the public safety zone at airports, whereas if it’s someone from the highways agency, they’ll likely talk about regulating traffic signals on traffic lights (and if it’s someone from AWE they’ll mention something about defence and brush past the question). A few more questions tend to arise around the pay (very good), progression opportunities (excellent) and the locations (nationwide). After that, students can help themselves to the leaflets - and more importantly freebies, and away they go, our job complete.

Today I’m heading to Coventry University (with other volunteers in Birmingham and York), to attend another career fair. Only yesterday I received an email from a member who wished they had found out about O.R. earlier on. Hopefully, with your help they will.

If you’re interested in volunteering for a careers fair, or happy to talk to students about what your career involves, please do get in touch:

Interested? Bored? Hopefully not the latter ….

Tweet us @ORinSchools or @TheORSociety or drop us an email:


Popular Posts