5 Wildcard Sessions for INFORMS

One of the dilemmas at INFORMS is trying to figure out which sessions to attend. Usually, one fills out their schedule with topics that adhere closely to one’s research/teaching interests. But for those spaces in your schedule where there isn’t a clear fit, we look for wildcard sessions, ones that may not fit direct interests. Often, the heuristic I use to decide my wildcards is the following: “Which sessions will supply insights that one could not gather via reading papers, books, or websites?” For those newer at INFORMS, here are 5 sessions that may fall outside your typical INFORMS interests but will give you unique information.

  • Achieving Professional Success by Managing Work/Life Balance. Many of us may be wondering if we’re properly balancing the two, but it’s hard to voice those concerns. No one wants to say out loud that they are neglecting their family or health, or worst of all (just kidding!) neglecting their research. I attended this once years ago, and it was quite valuable to consider what work/life balance might look like throughout one’s career, not just in the now.
  • Academic Job/Industry Job Search Panel. Even if you’re completely satisfied and happy in your position, there’s a great deal of value to hear what is most sought for in the market at this time. And if nothing else, this enables you to give fresh insights to colleagues/classmates/students when you return.
  • Plenary, Historical or Futuristic talks. These vary year to year, but just one hour of a focused talk can save hours and hours of personal reading. I personally find that hearing such talks also is more intellectually stimulating for research than merely reading.
  • Journal Editor talks. Here’s a great way to hear directly from editors what they value. As well, because these sessions are spoken, not written, you will get a more direct, clear look at best practices for paper submission. TC03 is the overall INFORMS one, but there are others that are more subsection specific.
  • I’ll cheat for this one. You tell me, what’s a session that falls outside a research category, but is of general value?