Students promote CIA awareness
By Caroline Goins
|Photo by Tashieka Hammond
Students from Instructor Donald Soucy’s marketing class show off their CIA–inspired shirts.
Agents from the Central Intelligence Agency visited Pine Hall on March 27 to speak to students about job opportunities as part of a semester-long CIA awareness campaign sponsored by professor Donald Soucy’s retail management class.
UNCP was chosen along with San Jose State to develop a marketing strategy to heighten awareness of career opportunities in the field of foreign intelligence.
According to Soucy, the university was contacted via e-mail by EdVenture, a company that acts as a liaison between higher education and industry clients concerning the marketing internship program.
EdVenture was seeking a professor teaching a marketing course who was willing to have their students participate in this project. The project objective was to develop an on campus awareness of the CIA as an employer of choice.
“The people from the CIA and EdVenture were extremely helpful and supportive
to the students. The students had direct contact with them; I acted as a facilitator and not as a gatekeeper,” Soucy said.
An officer that had been with the agency for 22 years facilitated the event, which was held to raise student awareness about CIA careers.
He presented information on the job and internship process and clarified some popular myths about the CIA, by telling students that the agency does not make policy; rather, they are responsible to reporting information to the executive branch about foreign countries.
According to the officer, the CIA also reports information on foreign threats and conducts counterintelligence when directed.
According the CIA website, “The employees of the CIA provide intelligence (or information) to the President, the National Security Council, and all other government officials who make and carry out U.S. national security policy.”
Students involved were allowed to experience working for the CIA and felt the pressure of deadlines.
Their project was to develop a marketing plan, prepare a budget and obtain CIA approval for all material submitted to the public.
“The CIA standard time for approvals was seven to 10 working days. As you can see, submitting shoddy work which would not be approved, would need to be edited, and resubmmitted would cause a major problem in being able to complete the project within the time constraint of the semester,” Soucy said.
In order to stay on schedule and avoid having to resubmit, work had to be precise on the first try.
“Our students were very conscious of this fact and did very good due diligence when getting ready to submit for approval. They prepared a detailed schedule outlining when items needed to be submitted and approved to meet the overall schedule of the project,” Soucy said.
The project is in its final stages. All post campaign data has been gathered and the students are currently analyzing the results. To finish they must write a final report for submission to the both the CIA and EdVenture and present it to the two groups on April 24, according to Soucy.
The student-run marketing team has worked to spread the word on campus that the CIA is looking for candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. With a $2,500 budget, the marketing agency has departments for every stage of the effort including research, campaign strategy and implementation, public relations, advertising, reports and finance.
To gauge the level of interest at UNCP in careers with the CIA, the class distributed surveys around campus. Data was analyzed, reported and distributed to the other departments to begin brainstorming for the overall campaign.
Students came up with the slogan “America’s best kept secret,” to reflect the fact that not everyone knows what the CIA has to offer, but they seek to make the university community aware of the truth about the CIA by dispelling the myths and publicizing careers.
At the start of the campaign there was a controversy about the students using duct tape to post the flyers because the tape pulls off paint.
Also, the flyers didn’t have the required information needed to let people know who was sponsoring the event.
The conflict was resolved and everything proceeded as scheduled.
The Campaign, which launched publicly in March, is built on strong preparatory work. The campaign will focus mainly on upper classmen with a desire to serve their country and newer students who have not yet decided on a plan for their future.
“Overall, the students have embraced the project as well as the faculty. Everyone understands and appreciates the opportunity that has been given to the School of Business and specifically to the students who have participated in this project,” Soucy said.
“I for one would not hesitate to do another project if the opportunity should arise,” he added.
The four sections of the CIA are Directorate of Intelligence, National Clandestine Service, Directorate of Science & Technology and Directorate of Support.
Within these departments, there are employment opportunities from librarians to political analysts.
To apply, students cannot own any illegal downloads, such as movies or music. An applicant must be drug-free for 18 months. For more information on service with the CIA, visit www.cia.gov.