By Leonard Fuld, ACI Faculty

We just completed the fall certification courses with students from the US, Switzerland, Canada, Barbados, Saudi Arabia, Mexico.   The industries ranged from Life Sciences, Technology, Oil and Gas, Medical Devices, Law to Consumer Products and Insurance. Not surprisingly, though, their intelligence needs varied.

While everyone understood the need to assess their competition, participants took the discussion to arenas far beyond just worrying about rivals. Life Sciences participants certainly had their antennas focused on the competition but were equally worried about payers who have considerable buying power and will continue to squeeze margins. Students from the petrochemical sector are keeping their eye on governments worldwide who can change the rules of game in an instant, thereby locking them and their competitors out of a market. Those from the technology space worried about substitute products.

With all this disparity what was the common denominator? Ben Gilad, Jan Herring and I faced and enjoyed a fierce set of discussions throughout the week from this global student body. The common denominator is the lessons learned. Despite the fact that students face such different industry dynamics, they came away with a highly flexible and practical set of analysis tools. Teams of students tore into competitive benchmarking, blindspots exercises, strategy mapping, as well as understanding the building blocks of a world class process.

We wish this newly minted group of Academy of Competitive Intelligence’s ACI alumni well. May their coming days, months and years be filled with lots of refreshing competitive arguments and enjoyment in using the tools and skills they have learned with us.