UT Dallas-INFORMS Earns National Student Chapter Award

Monica Brussolo, Shreyas Kathi and Dean Hasan Pirkul

UT Dallas-INFORMS advisor Monica Brussolo (left) and then-president of the chapter Shreyas Kathi (center) received the Owlie Award last April from Jindal School Dean Hasan Pirkul.

The UT Dallas student chapter of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences — UT Dallas-INFORMS — capped a memorable 2016 by earning a Student Chapter Annual Award at the institute’s annual meeting in Nashville in November.

Earlier in the year, the chapter picked up a Jindal School Owlie (Outstanding Worthy Leaders Involved Exceptionally) Award for being one of two best student organizations of the year.

INFORMS bills itself as “the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (OR), management science and analytics,” and in line with that description, the Jindal School-based UT Dallas student chapter has a sizable base; membership stands at 150.

UT Dallas-INFORMS was one of 10 college chapters that earned cum laude level recognition at the annual meeting for being an active achiever. In November alone — before the November 14 award presentation — the group sponsored an Operations Management Poster Competition that included UT Arlington and Texas A&M University, hosted a workshop in R Programming and co-sponsored a supply chain panel and networking event with the Jindal School’s Career Management Center.

Rajarshi Dastidar

Rajarshi Ghose Dastidar

Chapter President Rajarshi Ghose Dastidar, an MS in Supply Chain Management student, leads a team of 25 officers. He describes the chapter’s mission as building “a networked society of industry professionals, students, individual consultants and faculties that [together] lead to greater knowledge sharing, an exchange of ideas and collaboration.”

“My vision of INFORMS at UT Dallas,” he says, “is to be the bridge between students and industry professional by which they can network to forge long-term strategic relations which can lead to career opportunities.”

Operation Management faculty member Dr. Monica Brussolo, a current officer in the INFORMS DFW professional chapter, says INFORMS college groups help students “get engaged in research and professional activities while pursuing their education.”

Kathryn Stecke

Kathryn Stecke

Brussolo became involved in UT Dallas-INFORMS in 2015 and now serves alongside Dr. Kathryn Stecke, Ashbel Smith Professor of Operations Management, as an advisor. Stecke has served in that role since the group’s inception in 2011.

Students come from a variety of degree programs. “Our members are not just limited to supply chain but also include students from information technology and management, business analytics, MBA students, marketing [and more],” Dastidar says. “Anyone interested in the fields of operations management, analytics, management science, and consulting benefit from being a part of the organization.”

The beauty of the INFORMS, he adds is that it “helps UTD students across all majors to develop their technical, professional and soft skills — communication, interviewing, problem solving, negotiation. Our guest-speaker events help students to learn about the latest trends and industry best practices. The workshops help them to polish their technical and professional skills. And the business-case competitions allow them to apply their skills to solve real-world business problems and prove their mettle in front of higher level managers from industries.”