Optimization models help companies ensure their resources are efficiently and effectively utilized, thus generating maximum possible profits and passing on the benefit to customers in order to remain competitive in the market.

Dharmender Yadav, our next pathbreaker, develops and implements optimization models for a bank which helps their loans and deposits pricing team in developing an optimal pricing strategy.

Dharmender talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about his career in operations research and his work on a diverse range of business problems in manufacturing, transportation, media, consulting and finance !

For students, in the data centric world that we live in today, there is a huge scope for business applications of mathematics driven algorithms to address complex challenges at scale !

Dharmender, Your background?

I was born and brought up in Delhi. I studied in a government school. I was good in studies, and so I took science stream with computer science.  

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I did BSc Mathematics (PCM) from Delhi University since this was the cheapest option. I could have opted for B.Tech but it was a costly option for a middle class family. 

After completing BSc, luckily I got to know about MSc in Operations Research from Delhi University and it was the first turning point of my career.

Very few people in India are aware about this course and it has huge scope if someone is good at applied Maths, computer science and innovative.     

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and rare career?

Operation Research is basically a practical application of mathematics and algorithms.

After completing my MSc, I got my first job in a startup. This is where I learned a lot. I worked on multiple projects. For the first two years of my career, I worked day and night, even on weekends. 

But since this domain is niche, there is a huge demand for good OR professionals. So I keep getting a very good salary hike every year.  

Tell us about your career path

I started my career at a startup IGSA Labs in Hyderabad. Here, I learned how to translate real world problems into a mathematical optimization model and provide solutions to clients. Our clients were the top cement companies of India. They used to provide us the transportation and production related monthly constraints apart from other inputs, and based on that I used to provide the monthly cement allocation report with the help of an optimization model.

After that I moved to CloudMoyo. Here I worked for a client in Singapore. I learned and implemented a vehicle routing algorithm. The algorithm provides daily dispatch planning from a warehouse such that total cost is minimum.

Then I moved to Radix analytics where I worked on revenue optimization for a major TV broadcast. Here I worked on an optimization model which allocates TV Advertisements to commercial breaks such that total revenue is maximum.  

After that I moved to TCS, where I worked in the Research and development team and worked on patents and research papers and developed some demo models. 

Till now, I had applied optimization mostly in the transportation and manufacturing domain. But after TCS, I joined FICO and here I worked for different banks. So, for the first time, I leveraged  optimization models (Price Optimization) for different banks as clients.

Till now, I had worked as a consultant in all these companies. But recently I joined HSBC Bank where I am developing optimization models in house for the bank itself.

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?

Operation Research is a niche skill. To succeed in this particular domain, one must have a lot of patience, must work hard and most importantly, must have interest in this area. If you have all these, success is guaranteed.

I started with a very low salary, but since I found the work very interesting, I kept on working without bothering about my initial salary.

How did you get your first break?

Getting the first job was really difficult. I could not get any offer from campus placement but I was very active on linkedin and through my seniors, I got to know about the opening in IGSA Labs. So I applied and got selected. 

Tell us about your current role

Currently I am working in HSBC Bank. I am part of the Loans and Deposit pricing team. Here I recently developed and implemented an optimization model which helps the bank in developing optimal pricing strategy. I am also exploring other areas as well within the bank where I can solve other business problems which can be solved by OR. 

How does your work benefit society?

Optimization models help companies generate maximum possible profits by ensuring the resources are utilized properly. So if they are able to save extra, in most of the cases, they will pass on the benefits to end customers. This will help them to be competitive in the market and at the same time customers are getting the products at a better price. So that way, OR models help benefit the society indirectly.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

My advice to students who want to study operations research is first try to solve very basic problems using OR graphical method technique. If you find it interesting then go for it in more detail.