Last summer, Fabio Molano, a longtime CIB executive who has been serving as director of the organization since the fall of 2018, completed an internship with Mercom Corporation. Mercom is a technology firm specializing in providing mission-critical operations support to the United States government. The company’s clients include members of the Intelligence Community, as well as the Department of Defense, so a significant portion of Mercom’s personnel possess top-secret security clearances.
Fabio secured his a paid, summer-long internship through the United Nations Youth Corps and the UN Regional Center for Sustainable Development in Georgetown, a project that is led by Dr. Pamela Martin, Executive Director of Georgetown RISE. We recently spoke with Fabio and asked him some questions about his experience at Mercom and the way his CIB experience at CCU helped him to respond to the challenges of that competitive internship.
Q. Tell us about your internship. Who did you work for and what was your focus?
A. I had the honor of working as a defense contracting intern with Mercom Corporation. I was assigned to manage defense contracts from the Department of Defense (DoD) and various United States intelligence agencies. My day-to-day operations consisted of monitoring various federal acquisition systems and drafting contracts for our partners within the DoD and intelligence agencies.
Q. How did this internship connect with your degree at CCU?
A. The defense contracting supervisor that hired me was looking specifically for Intelligence and National Security Studies majors. There is a lot of terminology in the defense contracting industry that we learn in the intelligence program. Knowing how the intelligence agencies operate, and knowing their lingo, greatly helps when dealing with their representatives. The workload of a defense contractor can be intense, so having prior experience and knowledge of the industry can give you a leg up on the competition.
Q. How did your work with CIB help you get this internship?
A. At the end of my internship I received a debrief where my boss revealed to me that having the CIB on my resume was the biggest reason why I was selected for the internship. He explained that it showed I had experience working with the Intelligence Community and that I knew how they operated, which was important because during my internship I had to work with various intelligence agencies. The CIB, through rigorous analysis training, teaches students to pay attention to detail, which is very important in defense contracting because one small error could cost thousands of dollars. Serving as the Executive Director of the CIB has taught me leadership skills, and how to function within a large organization. Finally, the biggest skill that the CIB teaches is how to speak in front of an audience in a clear and concise manner. This skill plays a great role in contracting, as I had to interact with many representatives from federal and private organizations. The CIB without a doubt, gave me the tools and personal grit necessary to succeed in this internship.
Q. What is your advice for incoming CIB members in regards to their CIB work and internships?
A. The CIB is well known across the federal government, Intelligence Community and military. The intelligence agencies and defense contractors know what we do, and they know that our members are the highest quality students and most qualified job candidates. My advice is that you do as much as you can with our organization, put in the time and effort to advance your position and become a senior analyst or even maybe one day an executive officer. Doing this is what will make you stand out from the competition when you are applying for a high level job. Make friends that will benefit you, and always use your professors and CIB officers as a resource, because they are here to help you succeed. Adversity breeds greatness, do not be afraid to put yourself into uncomfortable situations. And finally, always be humble but know your worth. My biggest advice is that you stay committed to being in the CIB, attend every meeting and get the most out of it. Stay on this path, and you will succeed.