Morris Cohen

MSOM Fellow, 2004

What was OM like for you early in your career, and how has it changed?

These were exciting times. the big challenge then was the debate over theory vs. application, i.e. what has been the impact on practice.

What is your philosophy towards your research and how has it developed over the years?

I have always believed that our research has to have a strong empirical component and should be inspired by real world problems. I have always found that the challenges we observe in real world problems always push us beyond the state-of-the-art wrt theory.

What is a good research topic, and how do I find it?

You have to have a passion for the problem and recognize that you are making a multi-year commitment. Look to the real world rather than the literature for inspiration.

In the upcoming 20 years, what do you think the OM field needs to do to make a positive impact on the world?

Be involved in the issues that will dominate, i.e. ecology, health care, climate, application of emerging technology for IT and decision support, ...

What do you think a PhD student’s role should be as a part of the MSOM society?

Ask questions that make your teacher's uncomfortable.

What are some common misconceptions you observe that young researchers have? Do you feel you’ve made any mistakes?

Your dissertation will be the best piece of research you produce. No, if you are successful it will be the worst. I have made more mistakes than I can keep track of.

What has been the key to your success?

Ability to see emerging problems.

In you view, why is OM important? What significant contributions has OM made to the society and world?

It deals with a process, the production of value and output, that by definition will not go away. We have a role to play in making the world a better place.