Liberal arts core, generalist approach help intel majors adapt to changing job market

Intel report

Mercyhurst University intelligence studies majors – long the envy of other students for their seamless transition from college to career – are feeling the pinch of hiring decisions by the U.S. government these days. But that’s where their Mercyhurst education has paid off – big time.

“The beauty of having a highly applied intel program rooted in the liberal arts is that it teaches our students how to think critically and creatively – something virtually every employer is looking for these days,” said associate professor Kristan Wheaton, J.D.  “And, having a generalist background enables them to adapt when the job market shifts as it has in the last several years.”

So, while current entry-level analyst positions in national security – one of three intelligence studies concentrations – may be down, due to sequester, draw-down and early retirement, the intelligence needs of business are expanding while those of law enforcement seem to be somewhere in the middle, according to recent studies by intel graduate student Greg Marchwinski.

As a result, Mercyhurst intel majors can plug their skills into any number of outlets, Wheaton noted.

Marchwinski analyzed job prospects in the three concentrations using survey data, interviews and e-mails from knowledgeable sources and Wheaton previewed the findings in his popular blog, Sources and Methods , from which the full reports can be accessed.

From the national security study, Marchwinski summarized:

"Due to uncertainty over federal government deficit reduction initiatives and a decreasing military presence globally, it is highly likely that overall hiring of entry-level intelligence analysts within the US Intelligence Community (IC) will decrease significantly from recent levels until the next budget cycle begins in October, 2013. The only exception to this general trend is cyber-related positions which are likely to see a moderate increase despite budget cuts. Additionally, it is highly likely that sequestration throughout the IC will significantly limit hiring entry-level intelligence analysts in all analytic functions until defense funding negotiations are resolved."

Far rosier, however, are the opportunities for intelligence analysts within business.  This excerpt is taken from the executive summary of the intelligence in business report:

"Due to an increase in job creation and the growth of several key industries such as healthcare and finance, it is likely that overall hiring of entry-level research, intelligence, and strategy analysts in the private and business sector will increase significantly over the next twelve months."

Admittedly, Marchwinski indicates the outlook for law enforcement is less clear-cut and cites the lack of clarity from study sources.  One the one hand, almost 66 percent of those surveyed, all having direct or significant indirect information of hiring intentions within their organizations and law enforcement generally, indicated that they thought hiring would increase. The same group, when asked about hiring within their own organizations, was more conservative with only about 28 percent indicating they expected hiring to increase. 

Bookmark and Share

News Releases

Simulations give MNE nursing students unique understanding of mental illness
Interactive exercises used in ASN program this summer.
Mercyhurst immigration expert sees border conflict with unique eye
Frank Rodriguez, Ph.D., talks about his recent visit to the U.S.-Mexican border.
Announcing MIAC Live '14-15
Thirteen-performance lineup begins Sept. 5.

National News

Prince George Citizen-Steven Symes
Forensic anthropologist Steven Symes, Ph.D., testifies in trial of alleged serial killer.
Tribune Review-Ridge Archives
Gov. Tom Ridge, whose archives are housed at Mercyhurst, is quoted during a Pittsburgh fundraiser.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-Altavilla
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mercyhurst MLB draft pick, Dan Altavilla.