Students in the Fox School of Business and Management launched a campaign to “uncover the truths” and dispel myths students have about the CIA.
For 13 weeks, students in Prof. Mary Conran’s marketing class were given a budget of $2,500 and a task to change the students’ impressions of the agency, and to expand their knowledge about it.
The project was a joint partnership between Temple University and EdVenture Partners. The partnership began when CIA approached the company and said they were looking to attract a more diverse application pool.
Temple was one of six campuses chosen for this project because of its diverse student body.
Led by Conran, the 13 students enrolled in the class organized a campaign and got hands-on experience in their field of study. The class was divided into five committees: public relations, advertising, reporting, research and campaign development.
Although the project seemed difficult at the outset, at the end students were able to break those misconceptions.
“People think that in order to join the CIA, you must have a great GPA, spotless record and act like a spy, but this is not true,” said senior Michael Urso, who formed part of the public relations committee.
The group decided their slogan would be “No James Bond? Good. Neither are we,” to further assure students that the CIA needs applicants studying fields other than criminal justice.
It was the fourth year Conran has led this class. In previous years, her students worked with companies such as CitiBank and Honda.
“The biggest thing we found was that students are willing to get more information about the CIA, but they just never thought about it,” said Conran.
For Urso, the project helped him obtain life experience for the marketing career he will pursue.
“Now I feel prepared to get a job and do this again,” said Urso.
He also added that the hardest part was trying to promote the CIA because the agency did not want the group to act as a recruiter; instead, their task was simply to create a buzz and get students talking about the CIA.
Conran said her project was a complete success, and that the CIA was very pleased her students’ work.
“After the campaign, the CIA received many inquiries from students interested, and many diverse applicants,” said Conran.
She added that the CIA has not recruited students from Temple for almost 10 to 12 years.
Throughout the first week of November, the campaign included daily events such as an information table at Alumni Circle, game day at the Bell Tower, scavenger hunt at Alumni Circle and a closing ceremony at the Diamond Club on Nov. 4.
The final event had a turnout of more than 35 students, who brought their resumes to distribute to CIA representatives in attendance.
Geraldine Rosado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.