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Grad student published by leading intel organization

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We were completely surprised. They came out of nowhere.

“I’m almost certain you’ve heard such a phrase in your career. Strong, new competitors or sudden shifts in the market appear overnight, seemingly without warning, and your organization is left scrambling to adapt or to disappear,” writes Mercyhurst University applied intelligence graduate student Andrew Coffey in a recent publication of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP).

SCIP is the largest global community of business experts across industry, academia and government who come together to build and share strategic intelligence. Mercyhurst University is the only university chapter in the organization, according to Shelly Freyn, club advisor and competitive intelligence professor in the Tom Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst.

Coffey, meanwhile, parlayed his research in Advanced Analytic Techniques into the SCIP article, sharing information on how intelligence practitioners are applying their skills to support today’s entrepreneurs.

In an age of exponential technological evolution, small startup firms can radically impact the competitive landscape, Coffey noted in his article. Case in point, he said: Just ask taxi drivers who are losing customers to Uber.

In his research for professor Kristan Wheaton’s class, Coffey applied a military intelligence model known as Indicators & Warning Analysis (I&W) to help organizations anticipate which startups might invade their markets and revenue stream. Warning analysts focus on strategic threats, either actual or potential, while constantly considering the worst-case scenario, including unlikely possibilities, Coffey explained.

“For Andrew to have his work published by SCIP is validation of the research he is doing here at Mercyhurst,” Freyn said. “As part of his portfolio, it will be valuable when he goes out to find a job.”

In recent years, Freyn said, more Mercyhurst faculty, students, and alumni are being published and recognized by SCIP. “Competitive intelligence is a growing major at Mercyhurst with many students being hired in all sectors of the business world,” she said.

Before attending Mercyhurst, Coffey earned his bachelor’s degree in security and intelligence at Ohio State. He has more than five years of experience with the U.S. Army Reserves, and has previous competitive intelligence experience with Boeing, Costco Wholesale and UPS.