Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

Question about education path for breaking into the field.

Hello everyone,

My name is Nate and I'm new here. 

A quick background:

I'm 28 years old with 4 years of service in the U.S. Navy with an Honorable discharge. I have 4 years experience in the banking and sales industries.

My situation:

I'm looking to break into the CI field and am currently enrolled in the Intelligence Studies B.A. program at American Military University. For anyone wondering, it's definitely a very engaging and interesting program. The instructors are pretty much all practicing experts in the Intel community. I mentioned that because I've seen a lot of people asking questions about the course.

The downside is that with the B.A. program, the main focus is on Military Intelligence applications vice Competitive Intelligence. While it seems many of the concepts are very similar, I wanted to ask a few questions as to what the best path for me to take is at this point.

I'm at a fork in the road for my studies. I find the Intel Studies degree extremely engaging and interesting, but also want to be competitive (forgive the pun) in the CI field. 

Should I be focusing on a business degree (undergrad) at this point, and perhaps a Master's degree or grad certificate in CI (AMU offers this) after I get a Bachelor's in business/marketing? Or is an MBA what I should focus on at the graduate level and focus on Intelligence now?

I could also change my degree to a B.A in Marketing with a minor in Intel Studies if needed.

I hope my question wasn't too nebulous, but I am trying to figure out the best course of action to be marketable in the CI field upon graduation, as well as be eligible for an internship or two during my studies.

Perhaps my questions could best be summed up as: What do recruiters/companies look for as far as hiring people to work in the CI field?

Thanks for any information available!


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Welcome Nate, welcome. I would recommend obtaining a commercial understanding even if that is via reading the Economist as well as downloading the insights that we gathered through a recent project we undertook in the UK from Also look at GIA's white papers. There are also some 10 key questions to prep for an interview with a number of opportunities appearing at
Consider joining SCIP: ( In any case, check out the "training and events/clalendar" pages on the web site. There are several active SCIP chapters where you will be able to network in person with CI professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Certainly the Washington DC chapter is very active. If you can get yourself to the NY chapter meeting next tTursday (June 22) you will hear the speaker Cliff Kalb. He will describe the role of CI for strategic decision support, when Merck and Johnson & Johnson agreed to undertake a joint venture. This is probably one of the best case study presentations I have ever heard to enlighten you on the role of CI "in business." Also, Cliff is an entertaining and engaging speaker. You will surely get a picture of one of your options that will not come from web-based networking or any course you might take!!

I hope to meet you there!!

Martha Matteo
Thank you Martha!


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