San Francisco 2014
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California #INFORMS 2014 Calling

by Tarun Mohan Lal on November 6th, 2014

I am getting really excited to attend the INFORMS annual conference 2014. The excitement is not only to learn from the amazingly insightful presentations at the conference, but also to connect with colleagues/friends and enjoy the warm pleasant weather in california to get ready for the harsh winters of Rochester, Minnesota. 🙂

 In anticipation of the conference, I  have already prepared my itienary for the conference. Have you?  As I was doing this, it  struck to me that I have indeed come a long way from the first time I attended the INFORMS annual conference, which was suprisingly only a couple of years back. The INFORMS conference is so BIG with multiple tracks and almost 5000 in attendance, it is very easy for beginners/freshers at the conference to feel lost and/or left out. Trust me I have been there.  Having said that I thought I will share a snipet of my schedule at the conference and follow it up with some suggestions for things to do at the conference. The  hope is that it will help each of you navigate through the conference and make it a great experience

My Schedule

  • Mentoring 7 students/new members –  this is possible through the resume review program organized by the placement committee or the coffee with member program. I love to do these because of my passion for students. In addition, it is an incredible opportunity to learn from them
  • Give 3 presentations – research topic, integration of analytics and panel discussion
  • Attend the award ceremony, welcome  and general reception to celebrate with winners that have made tremendous efforts to use, expand or apply OR and meet new folks that will be friends to look forward to meeting again at the 2015 conference
  • Attend the section and society meetings. I will be attending the Health applications society and Analytics section meeting in particular as these are in my areas of interest and I am hevily involved with these subdivisions of INFORMS
  • Attend officer breakfast, leadership luncheons and other focused activities
  • I am also excited and hope to sequeeze in as many practitioner focused presentations as possible at the conference. Thanks to INFORMS for summarizing this list for the practitioners out there


As you can see from above I seem to have a busy schedule that allows for attending presentations in addition to doing a wide variety of  other activities. Coming to suggestions to those of you new to the conference and also to everyone else that would like to make the best out of their time in San Francisco. Consider this list as a checklist as you are getting ready for the conference

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: Prepare your itinerary in advance so you dont get lost at the conference. Its big enough to be overwhelming so dont depend on making on the spot choices. Little time spent ahead of time is going to make a HUGE difference and serve you well
  • Dont be a geek: Sorry not being rude here but try to branch out from just attending presentations. Take the time to go for coffee, a drink or lunch/dinner with people you meet at the conference – informal setting helps build life long professional relations
  • Help others and let others Help you: Conferences are meant for networking and also to learn things you dont get to learn in academic setting. Students, find industry folks and learn soft skills like what it takes to make a change, communication etc from them. Industry and experienced attendees here is the time to train someone be like you. For all you know you might find potential employees in this crew
  • Make Friends: In 5000 attendees, I am pretty confident there will be atleast 30%  that  probably belong to your interest group, or are at the same place as you in their career. Great group to make friends with because guess what y’all will be coming back to next year’s conference
  • Raise your hand/Volunteer: There are muliple events at the conference where you could volunteer to serve the community. Sub-division meetings, receptions, award ceremonies- these are places to find INFORMS leaders and offer a lending hand. That’s all it takes. Refer to the INFORMS website for further opportunities to help out so you can be prepared
  • Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy: Enjoy the time in San Francisco especially all you folks that are coming from cold places like me. San Fransico is the second most wlkable city characterized by its numerous culturally rich streetscapes so its going to be PERFECT!

Hope you find this information helpful. Other vetrans at the conference please comment if I am missing something. I am going to attempt to write a blog each day with my day’s summary and things to look for, the next  day . It will be great if you could share your experiences as well. But as everyone I do have a packed schedule at the conference and dont know how regular I will be, but will certainly try

See you all in San Franscisco! I dont know about you but I am so looking forward to it. Hope you all enjoy every moment of the  “Big Data  and Analytics magic” sharing, learning and networking  in the Information Technology city..

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