Realize what you have lost; come back the next year!

(Originally posted in the 2016 INFORMS blog).

INFORMS meetings: you are not doing it right if you don’t realize that there was something cool that you missed by the end of the conference. Perhaps that does not hold for fellows, but for sure it does for those with, say, less than a dozen meetings.

This is my list of “missed things” so far:

  • Charlotte 2011: found out about the meeting and followed it through the conference blog; decided that I would attend the next year and be a blogger.
  • Phoenix 2012: met great people from academia; decided to leave industry to pursue a PhD, joined CMU the next year, and did not attend Minneapolis 2013 to focus on my courses instead.
  • San Francisco 2014: heard about the great time that some people had at the doctoral students colloquium; then applied and attended the next year (and also attended the teaching effectiveness colloquium this year).
  • Philadelphia 2015: discovered about the poster competition; submitted my poster this year and had a great time presenting it.

In fact, the poster competition was much more intense than any other talk that I gave at INFORMS before: by the final round all judges came to talk to each poster presenter, many of which with a good understanding of the general area that I work on (cutting planes for integer programming). I had many more questions and met a lot more people than I would if I had presented the same thing on a regular talk, given how many parallel sessions there are.

Have you found your missed thing yet? If not, ask around what people liked the most so far. It won’t take long to find something you wished you had done too!

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