The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Operational Research graduates make a difference through summer placements

Published: 4 May 2016
CORMSIS MSc Operational Research
L-R: Prof Chris Potts, graduate Julie Stanzl, Mark Powell (Heathrow Airport) and John Beasley (Arup)

Talented MSc graduates from Mathematical Sciences are already making an impact in the business world. Five former Operational Research (OR) students received prizes for their dissertations at a ceremony in Southampton following their three-month summer placements at companies and organisations around the world.


Julie Stanzl was awarded the Boeing Prize for Maths for her project dissertation.

“We got far more than we expected from our project,” explained Mark Powell from Heathrow Airport. He set Julie a challenge to examine how the airport operates its baggage reclaim halls, and to suggest better ways to allocate bags from arriving flights to the carousels.

“It sounds easy but it isn’t. Julie analysed the situation, developed an algorithm to make the system more efficient, gave us new insights into the whole process and made us rethink our plans for improving the operation of the hall.”

Julie, who now works for British Airways, said: “It was a fantastic project and I enjoyed being based at the airport.”

“I chose to study OR at Southampton because I wanted to learn how to apply my undergraduate maths degree in the business world. The three month placement brought it all together.”

Other prizewinners were Laura Bown for analysing long-haul schedules for holiday firm TUI; Navjot Kukreja for using IT in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy, Felix Mattman for modelling customer referrals for Carnival UK and Emma Chambers for probing the value of different sales channels for airline seats and holidays.

University of Southampton Pro Vice-Chancellor, International, Professor Mark Spearing, said: “This is an excellent example of the University’s strong links with business.

“Our students make a tremendous contribution to companies and organisations around the world.”

The placements were organised by the University’s Centre of Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS) based in Mathematics and the Business School.

CORMSIS has been organising placements for students for more than 30 years.  For more information contact



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