Q&A – Am 26 in a major international consulting firm. How do I take it to the next level?
Q&A with Bill Golden
I´ve recently read your Front Door piece.
I was turned onto your website by a friend. I am interested in finding my way into Intelligence, but I am uncertain what my odds are.
My Father worked in the State Department and I have lived overseas half of my life. I currently live overseas and am a fluent Spanish speaker and have my undergraduate in Political Science. I work in a major consulting firm which I find challenging but am looking for the next level. I don’t have a security clearance and am 26, so I won´t be entering the military at this point.
I would greatly appreciate any advice you could share.
In some ways you are on the right track, but an alternate track: working in a consulting services firm.
Not serving in the military probably decreases your chances by about 70%; we find that most folks that go on to later serve within the intelligence industry — if it requires a security clearance — get their first security clearance via military service.
At age 26 you are hardly too old. There are plenty enough folks entering the military at that age.
About your alternate track: I encourage you to take a competitive intelligence outlook on all that you do. You should also consider joining an organization such as Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals.
Consulting services firms such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, and many others often find themselves involved in unique situations where their services portfolio trends towards competitive intelligence, economic analysis at the regional level, and/or national security.
I’ve attached a presentation from the University of Indiana that gives a very good overview of competitive intelligence as a career field.
Also, you may want to consider going for your master degree and going to the RIGHT school — that would be a school that participates in the National Intelligence (ODNI) IC Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program … there are more than 50 universities that participate. There are many doors through these programs // not front doors but doors do exist as the faculty have a relationship with the many agencies that cosponsor their programs.