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E38 Academy’s First Content Pillar: Professional and Analytic Skills

The first area we’ll tackle at E38 Academy is what we’re calling professional and analytic skills, the tools analysts need to succeed that are rarely provided in college or graduate school, as I wrote in an earlier post. These skills include the basic building blocks for developing analysis and communicating it to customers. We’ll be focusing our initial content on three areas:

Writing. Almost everyone could stand to improve their writing; it’s the most common area of weakness I see in junior analysts—and in some senior ones, too. Because good writing is so important, we’ll be offering several courses that focus on building writing skills

  • We’ll be launching our first course, an eight-week webinar called How to Write a Killer Policy Memo, on January 16th. Trevor Thrall will teach you what makes a policy memo a killer policy memo and will walk you step-by-step through the process he’s used to help thousands of students write killer memos. You’ll also have a chance to discuss the challenges of memo writing—as well as tips and strategies—on the course discussion board. Check out the How to Write a Killer Policy Memo page to sign up.
  • I’m putting the finishing touches on a mini-course called Ten Tips for Improving Your Analytic Writing, which covers some of the critical elements of any written analytic product. These tips focus on big issues, like the importance of strong topic sentences, as well as more picky ones, like word choice and punctuation. I’ve based my tips on the most common mistakes I’ve seen in analytic writing during the past 25 years. We’ll be offering this course for free to introduce people to E38 Academy. Visit us at if you’d like to be notified when this course is available.

Executive Presence. This might not be an obvious choice for a professional skill to include in our initial offerings, but we think it’s a critical one. I’m creating an online version of a popular course I’ve been teaching for years on what executive presence is, how and why it’s critical to career advancement, and—of course—how anyone can craft a highly effective presence. This course will be part of E38 Academy’s launch in January, and we’ll be posting a lot more about it in the coming month.

Oral communication. I’ll eventually be converting my program for developing and delivering outstanding briefings, which I call Presenting With Purpose, for online delivery in self-paced and webinar formats. The course covers everything from crafting and delivering a compelling message to completely rethinking the use of PowerPoint. We’ll be sharing more details on this one in the future.

We’re working with experts with experience in the public and private sectors to provide additional professional skills offerings, from the basics of critical thinking to structured analytic techniques. We also plan to get into more specialized areas, such as military analysis and using open sources and social media. If you have any topics you’d like to see us cover or have content you want offer through E38 Academy, please leave a comment here or email me at

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