School of Mathematics

Careers and industry

Our Operational Research graduates go on to pursue a wide variety of careers and further study at PhD level.

Graduate destinations

The skill set of an Operational Research MSc graduate is very attractive to employers, including:

  • those looking specifically for operational research skills
  • those that  recognise operational research skills as valuable for non-OR related roles

Our graduates go on to a wide range of successful destinations, and our Student Development Manager is on hand to support our students to develop their employability and to transition into careers or PhD study.


Career paths following an Operational Research MSc can include:

  • Consultancy firms, for example Capgemini, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, McKinsey, Merkle Aquila
  • Big companies with dedicated OR groups, for example British Airways, KLM
  • Banks, for example Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Smaller companies who use specific OR skills, for example Moody's Analytics, Sopra Steria
  • Public sector organisations, for example HM Revenue & Customs, National Health Service within the Governmental Operational Research Service (GORS)

There is a lot of information on careers in operational research to be found on the website of the OR Society.

PhD study

In addition to entering employment, some of our graduates also choose to progress to an academic career by studying for a PhD in optimization and operational research.

Many students that opt to pursue a PhD stay on and continue their studies at Edinburgh as part of the Optimization and OR research group. 

Summer projects with industry

As part of the MSc, you have to complete a significant independent research project that takes place over the summer. Each year a number of projects are offered by industrial contacts and companies to our MSc students. This practical experience is highly valued by employers, and several industrial projects have led to job offers for our students.

Employability skills

We want to help you gain other skills alongside your strong academic profile to make sure you are fully equipped to maximise your potential in the global market.

To support our students, the Careers Service has a dedicated team of Career Consultants, one of whom takes particular responsibility for students in the School of Mathematics. They work closely with our Student Development Manager to put on talks and events including:

  • weekly sessions on career development ranging from CV writing advice and preparing for interviews, to applying for PhDs
  • employer presentations representing a range of industries including Lloyds Banking Group, Wood Mackenzie, Merkle Aquila and the Government Operational Research Service (GORS)
  • an annual careers showcase to network with alumni from our MSc programmes and gain insights into their current roles and careers
  • interdisciplinary challenges, such as the "Analytics Challenge" set by Edinburgh Airport, and run in collaboration with the Business School

As well as being available for personal appointments (booked online), the Careers Consultant offers a weekly drop-in session in the School of Maths during semester time.