Operations Research and Industrial Engineering Careers

Welcome to Columbia! I am incredibly excited to be working with such an incredibly diverse group of students, both in academic and national background as well as in career interest. Our goal during the students’ time in our department is to help each and every student maximize their potential by translating their skill set and expertise to an industry match that actualizes their hopes and dreams for the future. I do this working hand-in-hand with the other members of our career staff who have great connections to varied industries including finance, consulting, technology, marketing and media, energy, healthcare, fashion, manufacturing, construction… and the list goes on! The strength and beauty of the graduate OR and IE curricula lies in the flexibility and customizability to meet the specific needs of each student. Interested in healthcare but not sure you want to work in a hospital? Take the Healthcare Operations course to see if it’s a good fit. Like the fashion industry but not sure what you can do in it besides being a designer? Do an internship with Louis Vuitton, Cartier, or any of the other companies who have employed our students in the past. The world is your oyster, and the career team is here to help prepare you with the tools to pry it open and see what’s in store!

Your career journey with IEOR starts before you even arrive. Below is a roadmap to this journey, with various different signposts and markers to guide you. The most successful journey will involve careful attention to all of these signposts and only you, the driver, can make sure you hit them all.


In the summer before you start your studies in IEOR, you will receive an email from us asking you to do a little bit of research before you arrive. We ask for your current resume, information from you based on your career interests and your own industry research, as well as an opportunity to prepare an “elevator pitch.” Look for this email in early June, to be completed by August before you arrive.


Starting during orientation and throughout the fall semester, we offer a Professional Development Course (IEOR E4579) which includes lectures and workshops to develop your resume, cover letter, interviewing skills, networking skills, LinkedIn profiles, and give you various resources to begin your career preparation. All students wishing to take advantage of IEOR’s career services must take this course.


All staff members are here to work personally with each and every student in a one-on-one capacity. Throughout your studies in IEOR, you can meet with us during our office hours  or schedule an appointment with us to go over your resume, cover letter, conduct a mock interview, or just talk generally about your career interests and job search process.


While half of our job consists of working with students, the other half of our job involves working directly with employers. We have an employer database of hundreds of industry contacts, many of whom are alumni, to help you with your internship or job placement. During any given week, you have access to the following:

  • Job postings direct from employers, emailed out on a daily basis.
  • On-campus recruitment including employer info sessions (often in our own lecture halls), on-campus interviews, and alumni roundtables (a sort of “speed dating” for job networking with alumni)
  • Off-campus events such as alumni networking socials, as well as on-site employer visits.

In addition, we collect resumes of all students actively looking for jobs and put them in our resume book and make this book accessible to every single one of our employer contacts.

To stay current on our events, check out our events calendar on a regular basis.


While it’s not required for OR and IE students to choose a concentration, doing so can help you make smart course choices based on a particular area of interest. OR students can choose from one of our 6 concentrations:

Or one of two IE concentrations: Systems Engineering, and Regulated Industries. If you are not entirely sure what you want to do yet upon entering, consider taking one unique course from each concentration until you find your match!


While completing an internship in not a required curricular component of the IEOR programs, the majority of our students complete at least one during their studies in the department. Most students complete them in the summer after their 2nd semester (when classes don’t get in the way of working really hard), but some take internships during the academic year as well. Check out our placement page for more information on where students go.


Gainful employment. That’s what almost every student in the IEOR is seeking upon graduation. It’s the last stop on our career journey roadmap, and getting here is much easier when you’ve hit all the other stops during your 2-3 semesters of study.  The good news is that nearly 100% of our graduates who are actively seeking employment after graduation do, in fact, find a job regardless of industry or background. You can find more details about where students go on our placement page.


There is a commonly held misconception that placement for international students is different from placement for domestic students (i.e. U.S. citizens). While there are some visa restrictions that require extra leg-work for international students during hiring, the actual search process is no different. You still have access to the same resources, and our placement statistics are the same for both groups. We work closely with both employers and Columbia’s ISSO to make sure you have the information you need. If this is your first time studying in the U.S., you won’t be able to do an internship until after completing two semesters of study, but that falls along the typical timeline of most students. In addition, as a student in a STEM program, you have more time to find a full-time, sponsoring job than your compatriots in other academic fields.

Mercedes Gomez
Career Placement Officer

OR & IE Placement Statistics

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