Aurora WDC is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence. This year’s winners will be invited to present at RECONVERGE:G2 on April 19-21, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin.


Nhi Tran (Mercyhurst University)

The 2016 Jim Mathews Award and Fellowship for Intelligence Excellence competition winner is Nhi Tran. She is double majoring in Business and Competitive Intelligence (BCI) and Finance, while also earning a minor in Economics. Finishing her last semester in the spring of 2016 as a senior at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, Nhi has achieved a superlative cumulative GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0 in her coursework. Since beginning her university studies, she has displayed a great interest in studying business, and majoring in Competitive Intelligence has inspired her even more to become a CI analyst in her career pursuits.

Ms. Tran has done a lot of applied study in competitive intelligence during her studies, both in group and independent formats. Ranging from completing an internship with SpringHill At Home, a home-health care company in Erie, doing comprehensive CI reports on Annie’s Homegrown and Toyota in her course projects, and working on several demanding projects with experienced CI analysts in an established professional services firm, her contributions and devotion to producing excellent work have been recognized by her superiors as well as her academic supervisor, Mr. Brad Gleason, who is the Director of Mercyhurst’s Institute for Intelligence Studies and Information Science. Additionally, for two years, she has been an active and contributing member of the Mercyhurst Competitive Intelligence Club.

Why are you interested in pursuing a career in an intelligence-related field?
My first work study at Mercyhurst University was as a research assistant in E-commerce department. With a responsibility for open-source research on various E-commerce topics, I realized I have a passion and interest in doing research, analyzing issues and providing suggested solutions for complex problems. To go along with my long-time passion for the field of business, I decided to major in Business Competitive Intelligence (BCI). This is a great way to bring research into business as well as apply my Finance and Economics knowledge to support CI operation.

As a BCI major, I have had a chance to work for The Center for Intelligence Research Analysis & Training (CIRAT) in multiple contracts related to competitive intelligence as well as obtain an internship with a local home-care company as a competitive intelligence analyst. Through those experiences, what I feel interested in the most is analyzing the information collected from publicly available sources, figuring out the current trends in both micro and macro levels and then developing solutions and strategies to help the companies avoid surprises and respond to those changes.

I have always enjoyed learning more about analytical methods in CI practices and observing how CI practices change the strategies and internal structure of a firm in terms of finance, marketing, R&D, operation and management. In the fast-paced market system, CI has proven to be a significant contribution in creating competitive advantages for a company of any size.

What does winning the Mathews Award mean to/for you?
Winning the Jim Mathews Award brings me a great opportunity to attend the RECONVERGE: G2 Intelligence Leadership Symposium where I will be able to meet and network with many CI professionals and experts in the field. This is a golden chance for me to know more about CI analytic tools and learn about how CI experts apply these tools into their companies’ operations. I am also excited to present my research paper in front of many CI experts and have a chance to listen to their feedback and perspectives on the topic I will present at the conference.

Throughout the application for Jim Mathews Award and the interview with Dr. Fleisher, I have learned more about the topic I researched on as well as about my own passion for CI. It is definitely an opportunity for any participants to grow and learn. Truly, it is my honor to receive the Jim Mathews award, which has been widely recognized in the CI field. It is a recognition for my commitment to the field and also an encouragement for myself to continue learning and striving to become a CI analyst. In particular, I am grateful to have guidance from my professors at Mercyhurst University as well as my supervisor and my mentors at Mercyhurst CIRAT.



Joshua Bailey (James Madison University)

The 2016 Jim Mathews Award and Fellowship for Intelligence Excellence competition winner is Joshua Bailey. He is a third year student at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA, pursuing a BS in Intelligence Analysis (IA) with a concentration in Competitive Intelligence (CI).

His extracurricular activities include a keen interest in motorsport activities, and he is a long-term, contributing member of Madison Motorsports. He also has a passion for foreign cultures and their people. He participates as a language partner for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and the Office of International Programs, interacting with newly arrived and established international students at JMU. He is also currently working with other like-minded students to establish a JMU branch of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), and to otherwise expand the CI community in Harrisonburg. In the current semester, Joshua is pursuing independent coursework on Competitive Intelligence projects, and seeks to expand his business acumen substantially before graduating in the spring of 2017, hopefully through additional CI projects and through extended interaction with practicing CI professionals. With a strong focus on language learning combined with an analytical business skillset, he hopes to carry his talents internationally via consulting or research work, and to eventually also pursue an MBA in furthering his education.

Why are you interested in pursuing a career in an intelligence-related field?
My interest in the broader Intelligence field stems from debate experience in high school, which translated into an intense interest in global politics and international issues. After joining the James Madison University Intelligence Analysis program, the opportunity to explore interests outside of the National Security field opened my eyes up to the limitless potential applications for structured analytical thought for a variety of social, technological, and most prominently, business issues. Intelligence studies occupy a very small, specialized niche in the academic world, to the point that it is almost overlooked, requiring significant personal initiative to make inroads into the field as an undergraduate. I believe that the time invested has been worth it, and the gains I have made personally and professionally have justified the effort.

What does winning the Mathews Award mean to/for you?
Winning the 2016 Jim Mathews Award is the most important achievement of my college career thus far, as scholarship opportunities in the CI field are few and far between, which makes this achievement all the more humbling. The opportunity to speak to and for the CI community also presents a wonderful chance for me to get a professional perspective on not only my work but on the direction of the industry as a whole. Winning the Jim Mathews Award and Fellowship allows me to grow my network of professional contacts and open up areas of professional growth which I otherwise never would have been exposed to.



Jim MathewsAurora WDC is delighted to announce the 2016 edition of a special award for university students that memorializes a long-time contributor to the corporate intelligence world, Mr. James (Jim) Mathews.

Aurora first introduced this award five years ago in memory and acknowledgement of the lasting professional contributions to the field of competitive intelligence (CI) made by Mr. Mathews, who passed away in October 2011.

Having known Jim for nearly a decade, we viewed him as exemplifying the “gold standard” in terms of professionalism in the business and competitive intelligence arena. More so, he always loved to speak to students about entering and making a career out of the intelligence profession, and what a noble pursuit it was.