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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Rachel Purkess MSc Operational Research, 2015, 2015

Graduate Consultant, CORDA (part of BAE Systems)

Rachel Purkess's Photo

Rachel obtained an MSc in Operational Research with Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

The course gave a good overview of Operational Research (OR) and the summer project provided an opportunity apply the skills I had learned to a real problem. The MSc was a great stepping stone between my undergraduate degree and a graduate role in OR.

Where do you work now, what is your job title and what does your job involve?

I work as a Graduate Consultant for a company called CORDA, which is part of BAE Systems. At CORDA we do modelling and analysis work for defence customers, helping them to make sense of the information they have to make better decisions.

How does your postgraduate degree help you in your job?

The course taught me the basis of a wide range of operational research techniques, which helps me in my job day to day. Particularly, some of the software and coding skills that I learnt on my course are really useful, as well as the writing skills.

What attracted you to Southampton?

The reason I chose to come to Southampton to do my masters was its strong reputation for operational research.

What inspired you to do your postgrad course?

After completing my undergraduate degree, I wanted to learn how to apply my theoretical mathematical knowledge to ‘real life’ problems. OR as a field really interested me, and the MSc seemed the perfect way to learn about the subject and prepare for a career in that area.

What did you enjoy about the course?

The core course gave an overview of a wide range of topics related to OR, which was helpful for getting a feel for what I was most interested in. There was also a variety of optional modules to choose from, so I was able tailor the course to my interests.

Were there specific projects that you enjoyed on the course?

I really enjoyed the dissertation project over the summer because it gave me the opportunity to work in a company environment and apply the skills I had learned to a real problem. My project was for the RNLI, designing a tool to find the best routes for maintenance technicians to travel around the coast to different lifeboat stations.



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