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Old 26 November 2011, 11:45
Axman Axman is offline
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Middle Eastern Studies, bad idea or good?

I start school with AMU/APU December 05th, for a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. My intent, is to get the degree,then apply for the CIA,FBI,DOS, etc. Does anybody think my choice of degree is a bad option?
I chose the MES degree, because of the current and future U.S. presence in the area. I also have work experience in the AO, with the Military, and contract work, so I figured I'm ahead of the pack, already having some experience with the culture and language.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks,

Ax
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Old 26 November 2011, 12:05
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A degree of any kind is key to getting picked up by any fed agency (and just about anywhere else as well). I can't speak on the specific degree you're looking at, though I'd look at its utility outside of getting on with some agency as you'll have to work somewhere else before getting hired on.

Last, I would really think hard about what agency you are interested in...the mission, venue, etc. the three you mentioned are all vastly different in those respects, not to mention their distinctively different cultures.
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Old 26 November 2011, 12:57
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I did notice that atleast a BA degree is a minimum requirement for agency employment, just wanted to know if they look for a specific one.

Like I said before, I do have Military experience in the Middle East and experience working PSD in the ME. By the time I get my degree, I will have even more experience in the ME to add to the resume. I would think that they would take that into consideration, during the hiring process. By the time I finish my degree I will be 34 years old, 35 being the hiring cut off for the CIA.

I would like to stay working in the ME as I have the experience in the AO, so whatever agency is working in the ME at the time, is the one I would prefer.

I would prefer CIA, but I know very little about them and their hiring process. I can only hope my degree, and Military experience is something they will be looking for, come hiring time.
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Old 26 November 2011, 13:57
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Consider that the FBI is an LE agency, their mission being different than an intel agency. Also, DoS has many different components, so you could work in LE or the foreign service...all places in between.

I guess my point is the BA is the first step to getting hired anywhere...then the bigger part is figuring out what you actually want to do. All the places you mentioned have totally different missions and many different jobs or components...also take into consideration that at this point in time you can't really sneeze anywhere in a fed agency without hitting someone who has time in the ME. That in and of itself won't get your too far in any hiring process. Your work and life experience will get you places, depending on how much of each you have and how its presented.

These are just my experiences having worked at a number of different fed agencies so far. Of course you should apply everywhere you are interested in and make sure you research each one, to include whatever you can find out about each individual job you think you are interested in.
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Old 26 November 2011, 13:59
stanpunjabTrini stanpunjabTrini is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axman View Post
I start school with AMU/APU December 05th, for a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. My intent, is to get the degree,then apply for the CIA,FBI,DOS, etc. Does anybody think my choice of degree is a bad option?
I chose the MES degree, because of the current and future U.S. presence in the area. I also have work experience in the AO, with the Military, and contract work, so I figured I'm ahead of the pack, already having some experience with the culture and language.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks,

Ax
Here is what I have come across in my experience!
The choice isn't a bad one but HR has a tendency towards name universities status as opposed to actual "on the ground" experience.
I would pick up an Arabic (or Farsi, Turkish, Urdu) language course at a local university and start with a certificate (MES) and then work my way up the chain.

I realize alot of people invest in AMU/APU and they advertise in Homeland Security magazine, IACSP, etc but I have heard mixed reviews regarding hiring
of personnel from these institutions.

Any institution similar to Norwich University would fit into the paradigm of using present VA benefits and counting military experience as part of the degree programme. I am not sure but tuirion per credit hour is the same . i.e. AMU and Norwich University.

http://www.norwich.edu/academics/deg...ion/index.html
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:28
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I agree that certain fed orgs do appear at times to have a snobbish hair up their ass when reviewing where a degree is from.

But I also dn't think it makes that big a deal, in the long run. IE, while I personally would not want to work long term in the ME, I do believe that the US is indeed going to be there for awhile. But screw the fed govt,, besdies, some of the orgs you listed wouldn't post you there for a long time anyway, IF they ever did. But civvie corporations might.

So your plan might not be so bad. Do keep in mind that an awful lot of officers are going to be out of the military soon, and you'll be competing against them. They may have similar ME experience as you and perhaps their oficer time will look better for business or management....
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:52
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I think Intelligence is going more towards electronic intercepts, and tech savvy people rather than the red-headed guy who speaks fluent Arabic, and thinks he's covert by wearing a shemagh in the middle of Iraq. I also think the reason they favor people from Ivy League schools is the ability to have a legitimate cover as a businessman which gives you some reason for being in your target country.
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Old 26 November 2011, 15:04
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Lots of good info. in that post, I appreciate it, gives me a better idea of what to look for. I am obviously not 100% on what I want to do, when I get my degree, but I do know I need one, and I'm not getting any younger.

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Originally Posted by stanpunjabTrini View Post
POST
So far AMU has been very helpful and easy to deal with online, so I will give them a shot and do some more research on them, if I see any major red flags, with hiring issues, I can always change. I am just going to take my generals first, so I have a while to use some Googlefu.

Part of my degree, is to take Arabic classes, I'm not sure how in depth they get, but I assume they will want you to speak and understand it. I am practicing my Arabic everyday, as I work in the ME now and will be for the next few years, if all goes well.

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POST
I don't, for say, want to live and work in the ME for ever, but rather be a SME in the AO, and be an asset to an agency or a civilian company. I guess I just see there being allot of future work available in the ME. So I am trying to play it smart, and get a degree that will get me a good job, either feds. or with a good civilian outfit. Or maybe just a better paying gig, with my current company.

I'm hoping that a BA degree, a few years 11B, and a few years doing PSD/contracting work in the ME, will make me somebody that a company' or agency atleast looks at, as more than a window licker during the hiring process. As you stated, there are lots of guys out there with much more experience than myself, so it is going to be very competitive;even with my degree.




Thanks guys,

Ax
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Old 26 November 2011, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Axman View Post
Lots of good info. in that post, I appreciate it, gives me a better idea of what to look for. I am obviously not 100% on what I want to do, when I get my degree, but I do know I need one, and I'm not getting any younger.



So far AMU has been very helpful and easy to deal with online, so I will give them a shot and do some more research on them, if I see any major red flags, with hiring issues, I can always change. I am just going to take my generals first, so I have a while to use some Googlefu.

Part of my degree, is to take Arabic classes, I'm not sure how in depth they get, but I assume they will want you to speak and understand it. I am practicing my Arabic everyday, as I work in the ME now and will be for the next few years, if all goes well.



I don't, for say, want to live and work in the ME for ever, but rather be a SME in the AO, and be an asset to an agency or a civilian company. I guess I just see there being allot of future work available in the ME. So I am trying to play it smart, and get a degree that will get me a good job, either feds. or with a good civilian outfit. Or maybe just a better paying gig, with my current company.

I'm hoping that a BA degree, a few years 11B, and a few years doing PSD/contracting work in the ME, will make me somebody that a company' or agency atleast looks at, as more than a window licker during the hiring process. As you stated, there are lots of guys out there with much more experience than myself, so it is going to be very competitive;even with my degree.


Thanks guys,

Ax
You will increase your marketability if you are fluent in Arabic...or any language really. Pick a language you have some affinity for. If you hate the language/culture, it will be a hard road to care enough to become fluent.
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Old 27 November 2011, 11:34
Pahlawan Pahlawan is offline
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Originally Posted by racing_snake View Post
I think Intelligence is going more towards electronic intercepts, and tech savvy people rather than the red-headed guy who speaks fluent Arabic, and thinks he's covert by wearing a shemagh in the middle of Iraq. I also think the reason they favor people from Ivy League schools is the ability to have a legitimate cover as a businessman which gives you some reason for being in your target country.
Intel is going tech. Has been for a long time. But the more tech things get, the more the asymmetric enemy goes neo-ludite. We'll always need people who can go there too. Recommend you go with your gifts.
As for redheads, they shouldn't pretend to be Irish either unless they are. Locals can sniff that out quick. That isn't the point. They do need a reason to be where they are doing what they're doing. I believe some redheads have had sone success with that in some non-white boy zones.
Also, Ivy Leaguers aren't hired for cover considerations. They're hired by other Ivy Leaguers. Where I'm from, Aggies favor other Aggies. Same same.
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Old 28 November 2011, 21:56
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Old 29 November 2011, 23:37
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Middle Eastern Studies? So you mean a degree in Theology?:)
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Old 29 November 2011, 23:57
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Slinger17516 Slinger17516 is offline
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Originally Posted by Axman View Post
I start school with AMU/APU December 05th, for a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. My intent, is to get the degree,then apply for the CIA,FBI,DOS, etc. Does anybody think my choice of degree is a bad option?
Where you want to ultimately end up and since you are looking into AMU...if I were in your shoes I would consider getting a BA in Intelligence Studies, concentrating on Terrorism Studies and then pursue MA in Middle Eastern studies...or vice versa.

I got my BA through AMU..overall I had a great experience. Don't worry about the name of the institution as long as it is properly accredited, which AMU is...make sure your happy with your program and ensure you get very good grades.
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Old 30 November 2011, 08:59
Axman Axman is offline
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Where you want to ultimately end up and since you are looking into AMU...if I were in your shoes I would consider getting a BA in Intelligence Studies, concentrating on Terrorism Studies and then pursue MA in Middle Eastern studies...or vice versa.

I got my BA through AMU..overall I had a great experience. Don't worry about the name of the institution as long as it is properly accredited, which AMU is...make sure your happy with your program and ensure you get very good grades.

Thanks for the heads up. Did you get a "job" with just the BA, or do you need a MA? I would be interested in getting my MA, in Terrorism Studies. I'm 30 now,so I hope I'm not too old when it finish with my degree.
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Old 30 November 2011, 09:41
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Thanks for the heads up. Did you get a "job" with just the BA, or do you need a MA? I would be interested in getting my MA, in Terrorism Studies. I'm 30 now,so I hope I'm not too old when it finish with my degree.
Yes, got a job with BA. Starting MA in a couple weeks.

Never too old to get educated or finish..I am approaching 30 myself. I took 3 or 4 classes that were 8 weeks in duration for a year with no breaks. If you have the time and discipline you can bang out your BA in 2 years time...mind will be mush for the following couple months but you will have your degree.
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Old 30 November 2011, 16:54
Axman Axman is offline
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Yea, I have some time right now, but I'm also working, things could get busy, but I hope it doesn't. I am taking 4 classes right now, they end Jan 29th, so we will see how I handle it. If I'm good to go, I'll keep the pace.

I want to be done ASAP.

Last edited by Axman; 30 November 2011 at 16:58.
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Old 30 November 2011, 17:22
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Slinger17516 Slinger17516 is offline
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Yea, I have some time right now, but I'm also working, things could get busy, but I hope it doesn't. I am taking 4 classes right now, they end Jan 29th, so we will see how I handle it. If I'm good to go, I'll keep the pace.

I want to be done ASAP.
I hear ya..better to slow up and get outstanding grades then to breeze through and have a degree with sub-par grades...I wish you well..
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Old 1 December 2011, 22:16
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AMU vs Brick and Mortar

Axman,

I started at AMU and loved the experience. Great professors, tailored well to people who are in the mil or contracting/working, and they offer an excellent variety of interesting courses. I'd recommend AMU to anyone who may be a bit older like 30+ and has family or to anyone who is contracting/enlisted.

That said, I did a fair amount of research here on Socnet, as well as other places, asking friends, etc. In the long run, I chose a brick and mortar and it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Here's a brief overview of why:
*Does the name of a university mean much? Not really. However, there really is a big difference between them. I easily do 5-10x as much work per class at UC B than I did at AMU. Employers know this and that is part of what they are looking at...how much work can you handle? How hard was it?...

*Networking. I have been to more career fairs, hiring events, etc than I can name just in one semester. Not to mention all the new friends you meet, bar nights, range shoots, football games, etc etc etc with people who are in law school, post doc, business school, your own major, and everything else. And as we all know... networking is 90% of getting the job.

*College experience. If you already have a family, etc. then you may not be missing out on much. If you are young and/or single, brick and mortar colleges are awesome. Nuff said.

*Learning. Not necessarily what you learn, but how well you learn to do research and find info. The skills gained from having an unlimited library plus every online resource plus world renowned professors, etc really changes up the game. My research and writing skills are far better than they had been.

*Fellow veterans. Campus veterans clubs are a great way to meet folks. Your campus doesn't have one? Start your own. We do tours to Google HQ, Raytheon, etc. We have guys from DoS, CIA, and every other agency come and talk to us. The limits are endless. In addition, we do range days, snowboard trips, car washes for vets charities, study groups, and so on. Stuff you just won't get from an online experience.


There are many more reasons, but those are a few. Like I said, AMU is an excellent school and as an employer, I would view AMU very highly. But, not everyone knows what AMU is. They see it as "another online school. Oh."

Mi dos centavos after having been in the same boat as you are in now.
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Old 1 December 2011, 23:10
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As a broad generalization, the concerns with quality of degrees has more to do with "non-profit vs. for profit" than it does "online vs. brick & mortar".
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Old 2 December 2011, 01:35
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Save yourself a lot of time and money and CLEP as many general Ed classes as you can.
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