The uncovering of fraud, the safety of a community, the fate of billion-dollar corporate deals, protecting of intangible assets, ensuring operational continuity, and reducing risk and minimizing loss all depend on the work done by the growing number of intelligence and research analysts like Casey Solis.
Casey completed the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) Graduate Certificate in Tactical Criminal Analysis a few years ago and is now an Investigations Manager at Xpera Risk Mitigation & Investigation, Canada’s largest such firm.
She specializes in due diligence and special projects in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property issues, threat risk assessments, protest monitoring and insurance or liability claims. Clients range from private corporations and government agencies, to insurance companies, and clients in the telecommunications and energy sector.
“Every day is different and challenging, from formulating investigation plans and exploring new social media platforms or technology to actively engaging in covert investigations. Each file is unique, and treated as such,” she said. “And because no two situations are the same, I am actively using the skills I acquired at JIBC to assess situations, solve problems, and identify solutions. It is addicting.”
Because no two situations are the same, I am actively using the skills I acquired at JIBC to assess situations, solve problems, and identify solutions
It’s a career that was not on her radar when she began her studies at Simon Fraser University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology with a minor in sociology. Her original goal was to become a lawyer; however, while completing several electives in forensic sciences, her interests changed.
“My options were limited in regards to a career in forensic sciences without a background in science, computer technology, or an interest in becoming a police officer.”
Her research led her to change her focus to becoming an analyst, with the intent of becoming a civilian crime analyst for law enforcement agencies. That was when she discovered JIBC’s online graduate certificates in intelligence analysis and tactical criminal analysis.
“It was a perfect fit. It allowed me to complete the program online, so I could continue working full time. Another deciding factor is that this program requires applicants to possess either a bachelor’s degree or a minimum of two years post-secondary with five years of experience in data and information analysis. As a result, I was learning alongside professionals already in the field, which allowed me the unique opportunity to learn from them, as well as the faculty.”
Casey stressed that the online learning experience was a positive one for her. She found discussions in the chat room, with small class sizes, provided much more opportunity for discussion than the university classes of 60 students she was used to.She noted it’s not just the research skills she’s called on to provide at Xpera, but the analysis of large volumes of information collected. For that skillset she credits her time at JIBC.
What the program taught was how to think like an analyst. Casey learned how to effectively determine the validity of information sources, weigh different pieces of data, estimate the probability of an outcome, question her findings and most importantly, identify and separate out her own personal biases.
Casey was hired at Xpera before she had even graduated from JIBC after an encounter that was nothing short of serendipitous. She was making small talk with a stranger when she mentioned her JIBC program. It turned out he was in a similar field, and in fact, a director of Xpera, and her training was just what they were looking for. The next thing she knew she was being interviewed and hired and since then, promoted to her current role.
She believes her JIBC graduate certificate has made a difference, especially as her education applies to multiple divisions at Xpera.
“The foundation of the program I believe can be transferable to any industry requiring analysis,” she said. “I think that I went into the program with a narrow view of job opportunities. Through engaging with my classmates, I understood that there are so many more options out there than advertised.”
For more information, please visit JIBC’s area of study page for Intelligence Analysis.