The last couple of weeks have seen organisations like Concentra, Trilateral Research, DecisionLab, Ford and Tableau come onto campus to share insights into what graduates might expect and what a typical day involves if they were to join their organisation. There’s a really wide range of organisations here ranging from consultancy to technology and manufacturing but the one thing they have in common is they all use data science or operational research principles in their business.

Here we share some of the questions that were asked by students, along with insights from organisations, to support you to further investigate a career in this area. There are also lots of relevant events coming up (details are at the end of this blog).

What projects are you working on?

  • building a workplace planning module for an oil and gas contractor and looking at how to manage costs and volatility over time
  • using time series analysis engineering the future of cities
  • applying behavioural economics to a bank
  • doing an analysis for property services – eg. the number of security guards needed
  • budget analysis for HM Treasury
  • a strategic analysis of rail performance
  • forecasting air travel prices: fares and route planning
  • evaluating investments in charities and how effective they are – monitoring and evaluating their social impact

Why did you decide to pursue a career in this area?

  • ‘I have a keen interest in solving problems’
  • ‘I wanted to help individuals, companies and government make better choices and decisions’
  • ‘I was keen to work on a wide range of projects’
  • ‘I wanted to improve things’

What soft skills do you use?

  • strong data presentation skills – visual and graphic
  • simulation, optimisation and forecasting
  • presentation and persuasion skills – influencing others
  • advanced analytics and project management
  • team working skills – across different teams and specialisms and with others on projects
  • client facing and communication – help them understand the data
  • problem solving and coming up with solutions (you must have a passion for this!)
  • curiosity – an interest in unknown things
  • a desire to help people manage uncertainty

Are there any helpful software skills?

  • Simulate – you’ll need to learn this!
  • Sas and Sequel
  • Excel, VBA or another linear program to understand logic
  • Simulation, time series, data mining and forecasting are all key skills but can be learned
  • R and SPSS all show you have knowledge and can apply that way of thinking
  • you may be given an Excel test but should get in-house training to help you understand a particular organisation’s approach


If this sounds interesting then LSE Careers has some useful events coming up:

We look forward to seeing you at one of these events soon! If you’d like to talk though your career options and plans, you can also book an appointment with one of our careers consultants.