Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Competitive Intelligence

Post by Tian Lin ’18

It is interesting for me to use my spare time to learn something new. I am well aware that I need to learn a unique and practical skill in college to enhance my undergrad degree. After reading an anti-economic-espionage novel, I found out about the field of competitive intelligence. I was very interested (still am) in this field because it is about the gathering information in a qualitative way.

There is only one problem that worried me about this field. When I asked people what is competitive intelligence, and most do not know because competitive intelligence is rarely a topic for open table discussion, especially for industry professionals. After all, many people might think that taking off your name tag right after entering a trade show so vendors would not know who you are is unethical. That worried me. I wondered if I should still venture into the field of competitive intelligence.

At the same time, I had no formal resource to explore what is the actual competitive intelligence industry norms. Babson, as well as Lynda (Babson’s free online class website), do not have any class about it. After searching, I found that a legitimate online course run by a group of competitive industry leaders in Boston. It was at that time I received an email to apply for the Accelerator Fund. I was thrilled that I have the opportunity to attend the Introduction to Competitive Intelligence online class that these professionals posted.

After I finished the course, I am relieved from my ethical concern for competitive intelligence practice. I learned that each industry has a different standard about ethicality. For example, the pharmaceutical industry heavily focused on pricing and R&D. Therefore, they use a variety of aggressive information collection techniques. Some techniques are even on the edge of the law. Fortunately, more industries have stricter standards to promote ethical behavior. As the speaker in the class explains, “if you are walking on the edge of the law, you will get in trouble in this field. You need to walk within your comfort zone, the ethical zone, and the legal zone.” Now that I know that most competitive intelligence professionals are more socially conscious than others think, I am relieved to venture more into this field. As a result of this, I thank Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund for making it possible.