One of the perks of studying at an elite U.S. university is that top companies, organisations, and agencies congregate in search of talent. What follows is my experience attending a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruiting brief and simulation session at the Johns Hopkins University. Names have been altered to preserve personal security. You can read part I here

Nearland (Reuters) — Lazhar de Gosciny, U.N’s special representative to Nearland, was killed in an explosion on his way to a high-level negotiation between Nearland, Fadis, and Timeris this morning. His vehicle was hit by an unidentified object. It was the only one in the convoy to be destroyed. Local eyewitnesses report that the car was hit by a strange object from the sky. The object resembled lighting and made a whooshing sound as it approached.

Lazhar de Gosciny was going to mediate over the ongoing territorial dispute between the three countries. The dispute concerns a small enclave speculated to contain significant mineral resources. Before the U.N’s involvement, negotiations had begun to falter, and the threat of conflict hung over the region. NAME and U.S. diplomatic pressure, however, had shifted the negative climate, and a final resolution was expected to come from today’s meeting.

The three states used to be part of the same country. The end of the Cold War, however, encouraged ethnic minorities in Fadis and Timeris to seek independence from Nearland. Since then, a state of tension has existed in the region. The key to a successful and peaceful resolution rests with Nearland, which is the largest and militarily most powerful of the three.  

Before handing out the Reuters report, Michael had divided us into three groups of three students each. He told us to write our names and any notes we wished on the documents he would be handing out, which he would be gathering at the end of the simulation.

He didn’t specify how much time we had to solve the puzzle and come up with an analysis of the situation. He just quietly edged back in the corner of the room and observed.

I glanced around to my team. On my right sat John. A portly, loud Economics and Public Health major from New York. We knew one another from the school’s amateur Rugby club.  Despite looking like a shorter version of Will Ferrell in Old School, I knew he was clever and with a sharp analytical mind.

On my left sat a girl that I didn’t know. She shyly introduced herself as Manuela, a sophomore International Studies major. Short, athletic, and of obvious Latino descent, she shot us self-conscious glances, as if questioning why she was here.