About ACI

“We do more than train and educate. We help build careers in competitive intelligence, strategy and in overall management. We truly do believe in ensuring our graduates have an impact in their organizations – and throughout their careers.”


The Academy of Competitive Intelligence (ACI) teaches, trains and advises managers and professionals on competing more effectively through the optimal use of competitive, market and strategic intelligence.

What Is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is the art and science of generating a deep understanding of marketplace players and industry forces. It yields insight about the competitive dynamics that enables executives to optimize their decisions in light of the plans and strategies of other high-impact participants in the external environment. High impact players include all third parties –not just competitors- whose interactions with the company is what determines strategic success.

Who We Are

Established in 1999, we are the oldest and largest educational institution solely dedicated to helping companies better control strategic risks and discover new market opportunities with competitive intelligence.

ACI is a Competitive/Market Intelligence training institution that is an accredited provider (17 years) by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) to offer CEUs

Founding Faculty

The Academy’s founding faculty was composed of Leonard Fuld, Dr. Benjamin Gilad and Jan Herring, pioneers in the creation and development of the field of competitive intelligence.

Current faculty

Our current faculty consists of Dr. Benjamin Gilad, Prof. Helen Rothberg, Heather Hallenbeck, Melissa Allen, Leo Boulton, Meghan Suritz and Jay Nakagawa.

kevin curren

Dr. Benjamin Gilad

Dr. Ben Gilad, president of The Academy of Competitive Intelligence is considered a leading developer of competitive intelligence theory and practice in the US, is a former Associate Professor of Strategy at Rutgers University’s School of Management. Gilad’s first CI books, The Business Intelligence System (1988, AMACOM, co-authored) and Business Blindspots (1994, US: Probus/Irwin; 1998, UK: Infonortics, e-edition, 2012, ACI, Inc.), paved the way for the CI evolution in US corporations, many of which emulated the basic principles of Gilad’s CI process model. He is the co-editor of the definitive analysis book, The Art and Science of Business Intelligence Analysis (1996, JAI Press), author of Early Warning (Amacom, 2004), and Business War Games (Career press, 2009).

CI Magazine labeled Ben “our CI guru”. The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals honored him with its highest Meritorious award in 1996. Awarded CI Fellow in 1991.

Dr. Gilad has been the creator of a unique war game methodology and lists many Fortune 500 companies as his consulting clients, including such global market leaders as Shell, AstraZeneca, Sun, IBM, Dupont, Kellogg, Intel, BestFood, 3Com, Ericsson, Procter & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, SAS, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, SBC, and Cadbury Schweppes, Pratt & Whitney, Nestle, ExxonMobil, Novartis and Roche. Business Week chose Gilad to teach its executives about CI and Fortune Magazine chose him to lead its CEO skills sessions on the subject. The American Management Association chose him to lecture to its Presidents’ division. His articles on CI appeared in all the major business journals, including Sloan Management Review, Business Horizons, Competitive Intelligence Magazine, CFO Magazine, The Pharmaceutical Executive, and The Conference Board. His article, “Strategy without intelligence, intelligence without strategy” (Business Strategy Series, vol. 12, issue 1, 2011), won an Excellence Award in 2012.

Dr. Gilad founded the Academy of Competitive Intelligence in 1996. In 1999, he co-founded the Fuld-Gilad-Herring Academy of Competitive Intelligence together with Fuld + Co.

For over 17 years Ben was consistently rated as one of the best teachers at Rutgers’ undergraduate management program. His love of teaching makes his CI seminars an experience no one ever forgets.

kevin curren

Dr. Helen Rothberg

Dr. Helen Rothberg is a Professor of Strategic Management in the School of Management at Marist College, and senior faculty in the Academy of Competitive Intelligence. She holds a PhD and M.Phil from The City University Graduate Center, MBA from Baruch College, and a BA from Queens College. She is the 2011 recipient of the Board of Trustee’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Was named a Fellow of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) in 2018.

With Scott Erickson, she published From Knowledge to Intelligence: Creating Competitive Advantage in the Next Economy: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, in 2005, and Intelligence in Action: Strategically Managing Knowledge Assets: Palgrave McMillan in 2012. Other publications include Competitive Intelligence Review, Competitive Intelligence Magazine, Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, International Journal of Knowledge Management, Money Magazine.

Helen’s research interests include shadow and intelligence teams, and the intersection between competitive intelligence and knowledge management. She is the principal consultant for HNR Associates, a network of knowledge focusing on strategic change, competitive intelligence and knowledge management challenges.

Her book “The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender”: Simon & Schuster now available.

kevin curren

Heather Hallenbeck

Heather is the Director of Market and Competitive Intelligence at Genesys where she is centralizing their highly skilled intelligence team to analyze loads of market and competitive data to distill into actionable insights, memorable messages with compelling recommendations for marketing and sales while they elevate their strategic initiatives across the organization.

Heather previously was the Director of Corporate Insights for Bose Corporation. Heather built the formal Competitive Intelligence function at Bose and managed the Global Insights team including Competitive Intelligence, Market Analytics, Consumer Research and Business Strategy to deliver data-driven actionable insights. Her team was part of Corporate Strategy and Innovation and focused on analyzing and synthesizing critical competitive, market and consumer insights with strategic recommendations for all Bose businesses spanning research, product development and sales & marketing.

Heather is a seasoned strategist with proven ability to envision, lead and grow innovative businesses. She possesses a world class background in Marketing, Product Management, and Strategic Planning. She is skilled at generating salient insights from consumer research, technology trends, business strategies and competitive intelligence to synthesize into actionable business initiatives. She leads with a positive, empowering and contagious spirit with a balanced approach of assertiveness, collaboration and decisiveness that drives team and individual performance. She demonstrates the unique combination of big picture vision with pragmatic planning required to develop as well as to implement strategic plans.

She holds an MBA with concentrations in Marketing and Competitive and Organizational Strategy from Simon Graduate School of Business from the University of Rochester, a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, and is a Master of Competitive Intelligence (ACI) alumna.

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Melissa Allen

Competitive Analysis Manager, has worked for a decade in competitive intelligence at Caterpillar as manager of the Business Resource Center, which offers information services and resources to the global Caterpillar enterprise, providing research about competitors, business concepts and practices, industries, and markets.  During her tenure in Competitive Intelligence, she has increased research staff and services by 200%, leading a team of information professionals that delivers relevant insights in support of Caterpillar’s business strategies and fosters individual employee development.  Melissa is passionate about creating high efficiency in the knowledge value chain through enterprise resource sharing, knowledge management initiatives, and building strong relationships with key stakeholders.

Her organization reports up through Corporate Strategy and Financial Planning & Analysis, influencing decision makers at both the executive and strategic business level.  Melissa has a demonstrated track record in research, knowledge management, and information dissemination.   She is an enthusiastic influencer whose subject matter expertise and strong communication skills have helped her lead her function to constantly innovate and reach beyond the boundaries of traditional job roles.  She is highly skilled at connecting with and motivating individuals throughout the entire firm, dreaming up strategic visions for her organization, and executing possibilities into concrete results.

She graduated in 2003 with her MLIS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign.  Melissa has been a member of the Conference Board Information Research and Management Council since 2012, actively works with the University of Illinois iSchool Corporate Roundtable, and serves as a mentor for both employees and outside organizations seeking guidance with communication skills.  Melissa also leads large workplace and community events for the American Cancer Society and United Way, winning an ACS team excellence awards for her service work for the past several years. Melissa is also an ACI alumna.

leo boulton

Leo Boulton

Leo has been in the competitive intelligence trenches for 15+ years in high-tech, in leadership roles. Currently, he is Head of Technical Compete at Zoom. Previously he also served as Vice President of Competitive Intelligence for ADP and Director of Competitive Intelligence at Cisco.

With an engineering background, he is a fan of efficiency and proactivity. His experience leading and building geographically distributed CI functions include strategic and tactical decision making support for very technical engineering and product decision makers, CXO leaders, and Sales leaders. He is also a frequent guest speaker in Competitive Intelligence conferences including SCIP, CiMi, and CI+S. He is also an ACI alum.

He lives in South Florida with his wife and four children and you can find him trying to apply a competitive strategy framework to the under 6 year old division of youth soccer by coaching in his city league.

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Meghan Suritz

Meg Suritz is the Associate Director of Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Insight at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) – an NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center with a 135+ year history of delivering top quality research and clinical care. Meg built the CI capability at MSK – developing a library of institutional resources including competitor assessments, market analyses, trends research, and future scenarios, all available through an internal platform with multimedia resources. She is skilled in delivering insights via discussions with key stakeholders, blogs and other written reports, podcasts, videos, and live events.

Her team reports up through Strategy and Innovation, allowing for clear connection of insights to strategic decision making. Meg has also developed a network of CI collaborators throughout the organization bringing together subject matter experts from Marketing, Legislative Affairs, Digital Health, Patient Access, Patient Experience, Operations, Provider Partnerships, Community and Physician Liaisons, Clinical Care, and Research to engage diverse perspectives in the understanding of the healthcare ecosystem.

Meg has an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is also an ACI alumna. In addition to her work in CI at MSK, Meg is an Adjunct Professor of Management Communication at NYU Stern where she is able to fulfill her passion for coaching and developing communication skills in early career professionals.

meghan dewitt

Jay Nakagawa

Jay Nakagawa has been the Director of Competitive Intelligence for Dell Technologies for over 10 years and has developed successful competitive strategies for over 25 years as a product manager. Jay is a keynote speaker at industry and analyst events around the globe. Having held positions in sales, business development, marketing, and product management, domestically and abroad, he is well versed in insights across multi-disciplinary functions. Jay has worked for enterprise companies, high-growth, and startups in his career and is the former Chairman of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) association. Jay holds a B.S. in Information Systems from the University of Colorado Boulder and a M.B.A. in International Business from Regis University. Jay is also an ACI CIP-III Elite level alum.

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David J. Kalinowski

As President and Co-founder of Proactive Worldwide, Inc., David Kalinowski leads the organization in developing and implementing global strategies and tactics to deliver world-class competitive intelligence research, analysis, training, and consulting services.

In 1995, David co-founded Proactive Worldwide, Inc., a leading specialty market research firm that concentrates heavily on competitive analysis, after spending the prior 5 years with a smaller, boutique consulting firm. In 2024, Proactive Worldwide earned a Gold Stevie Award® with its CI Blueprint® course in the Career and Workforce Readiness Solution category and a Global 100 Award from EMG Publishing as the Best Research & Consulting Firm.

A 34-year Competitive Intelligence (CI) veteran, David is a sought-after, dynamic keynote speaker known for his skills in helping clients recognize and transcend their business and competitive challenges. He has directed over 1,000 global research and consulting engagements for over 200 Fortune 1000 companies to help them gain and maintain a competitive edge covering industries such as Financial Services, Technology, Consumer & Industrial Goods, and Healthcare & Life Sciences.

David received a Business Titan Award in 2023 in Excellence and was inducted as a CI Fellow in the Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows in 2022. He has deep experience in Competitive Strategy, Benchmarking, Market Entry and Defense, War Gaming, Early Warning, Intelligence Transformation, Counterintelligence, and CI Leadership Training.

David has trained over 3,000 CI practitioners from over 25 countries: US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, England, Ireland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, India, Thailand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Egypt and more. He has co-written two, bestselling books: New Directions: A Competitive Intelligence Tale (2011) and The CI-Driven CEO (2022). David holds a BS in Political Science/Public Law from Northern Illinois University.

Get the Competitive Edge

General FAQ’s

How do I determine which courses are best for my particular needs? Is there a place on the academyci.com web site that will help guide me?

Aside from detailed course descriptions, we also offer you two other ways of determining the course that is right for you.

Under each course description we list the “Key Questions” that each course addresses. If you can answer “yes” to three or more of the 10 questions posed for each course, this course will meet your needs.

The second tool is called “Problem Sets”. Our ACI faculty has supplied you with two or three typical problem sets, or mini-exercises, for each course. Each problem set represents the critical challenges – and solutions – students receive in any given program. Try them.

How do ACI courses differ from those I can receive by attending a conference?

A conference lecture or workshop is aimed at whetting your appetite, not training you. Often, the quality of the presenters is uneven. At The Academy of Competitive Intelligence’s courses, you actually learn to do the CI work, lock, stock and barrel. You do not sit idly and listen (and you don’t fall asleep, we can assure you!). Moreover, the Academy’s program has its own rhythm and flow, which has been carefully balanced. You end up intrigued, invigorated, with an “Ah ha!” experience. You say to yourself, like our student, Bruce Greenwood of HP said: “One of the best courses I’ve ever attended during my 16-plus year career!” No conference can match this.”

Can I receive any tuition discounts?

Yes – there are a few discounts that you will find on the registration form depending upon your needs. Early registration, and colleague group discounts – contact info@academyci.com for details.

How would you compare ACI’s courses to other competitive intelligence programs?

Our standards of teaching are the highest in the world today. We created the curriculum other institutions and universities follow. We don’t settle for good enough. We go for absolute excellence.

Our courses are not dull PowerPoint presentations. They are intensely interactive and immediately applicable as you go back to your job. They will change the way you understand competition, strategy and intelligence.

What is the value of the CEU's?

Only IACET (International Accreditors for Continuing Education Training) can authorize an institution to grant CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Recognized by nearly any global corporation that encourages their employees to seek continuing education for career development, CEUs are the gold standard in corporate continuing education, acknowledging that an employee has successfully completed a particular level of training. The Academy of Competitive Intelligence is the only institution of its kind authorized to grant such credits.

How long has ACI offered training in competitive intelligence?

Since 1999.

Certification FAQ’s

Do I need the Certified Intelligence Professional (CIP™) designation?

The CIP™ is valuable for managers whose role includes part-time or full-time provision of competitive intelligence, market intelligence, industry research or business research to internal users.  Those who have completed theCIP™ certification have seen demonstrable career benefits including promotions, recognition, and salary increases. If you choose to complete the CIP™ program you will receive an official certificate from the Academy of Competitive Intelligence assuring your firm that you are qualified to do the most effective and beneficial intelligence work. You will also earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs.)

What is The CIP™ track?

The CIP™ track consists of six core courses, and three advanced courses in CI skills

  • The CIP-I Core certification consists of training in CI BluePrint, Intelligence Planning and Collection, Competitive Blindspots and Cross Competitor Analysis, Structured Analytic Techniques, and Intelligence Reporting and Communication.
  • The CIP-II Advancded certification consists of training in Business War Gaming, Elevate Insights, and Anticipating Disruptions.

To receive CEU credits, students must:

  • Participate in course lectures, teamwork, exercises, and simulations
  • Attend the entire length of each course in the CIP-I or CIP-II programs
  • Pass an exam which is given out after each course ends.
What is The Executive Intelligence Skills track?

A short program built for market-facing managers and decision-makers whose performance and success require deeper understanding of third parties (competitors, customers, suppliers, regulators, distributors), possible disruption, alternative technologies, developments in adjacent industries and other marketplace dynamics.

Whether you choose the CIP™ program or the Executive Intelligence Skills track, the skills you develop will benefit you for your entire career.

Who Attends ACI?

Our attendees come from such diverse fields as business development, strategic planning, market research, marketing, product management, brand management, project managers, product marketers, technology, R&D, consulting and the executive suite.

What’s the difference between ACI and other CI training options?

No other CI training program matches ACI in longevity, faculty experience, or career impact, and no other CI training program offers an IACET-accredited certification, whose rigorous accreditation process affirms our high-quality instruction.  Simply put, ACI training will change the trajectory of your career. But don’t take our word for it. Review our Alumni comments throughout our website or click here to learn more about who make up our Alumni.


How does ACI training benefit your company?

Many organizations fall short of using competitive/market/strategic intelligence effectively, leaving them vulnerable to strategic surprise and disruption, and weakening their competitive position. Competitive intelligence is the most effective organizational method of managing industry disruption, getting in front of new opportunities and, ultimately, achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. Managers skilled in deploying competitive intelligence improve their job performance, resulting in promotions and higher salaries.

How To Earn the CIP™ Certifications

To earn the CIP-I core, Master of CI CIP-II advanced and Elite CIP-III levels of certification you must complete the required number of courses for each level and pass an exam for each level. Certification is not required and if that is the case you can pick and choose courses as you would like.

CIP-I Core Level Certification requires completion of courses CI BluePrint, CI 101/202, CI 301, CI 302, CI 303, CI 304. Once you have completed these courses, you become eligible to take the exams after each course.

CIP-II Advanced Level Certification requires completion of courses CI 401, CI 402, CI 403, and CIP®-I certification. You cannot receive the Master of CI CIP®-II certification without first receiving the CIP®-I certification.

CIP-III Elite Level CI CI wers are automatically saved.

If you do not pass the first time you have one more opportunity to take a slightly different version of the exam which you will be given access to at no additional cost within a few hours after your first exam results have been sent, but it must be submitted on or before the due date. Exams received after the due date will be marked as a failing grade on your record.

What are the added benefits to certificate holders?

In a 2013 surveyour CIP™ holders listed the following benefits:

  1. Getting promoted!
  2. Better tools to do their work.
  3. Easier to find new jobs when needed with the ACI certification on the resume.
  4. More recognition from management.

Additional privileges of CIP™ holders: Participate in our CIP™ – surveys that help to determine future course offerings within the program.

General FAQ’s

How To Earn the CIP™ Certifications

To earn the CIP-I core and Master of CI CIP-II advanced level of certification you must complete the required number of courses for each level and pass an exam for each level.

CIP-I Level Certification requires completion of courses CI 101/202, CI 301, CI 302, CI 303, CI 304. Once you have completed these courses, you become eligible to take the exam.

CIP-II Level Certification requires completion of courses CI 401, CI 402, CI 403, and CIP®-I certification. You cannot receive the Master of CI CIP®-II certification without first receiving the CIP®-I certification.

The exam fee for each level is $150.00. The online exam consists of 50 questions. You would be sent a login and a password to the URL. The passing grade is 75. Once you have logged in, you will see that you have a due date to which to complete the exam. Once you have completed the exam you will be able to see your score right away. You are able to stop and resume when you would like within that open window before the due date. The answers are automatically saved.

If you do not pass the first time you have one more opportunity to take a slightly different version of the exam which you will be given access to at no additional cost within a few hours after your first exam results have been sent, but it must be submitted on or before the due date. Exams received after the due date will be marked as a failing grade on your record.