Senior in economics and international studies
Interned at U.S. Department of Commerce, Miami, FL – summer 2016
What types of skills did you need to obtain the internship?
For the position in Miami, I needed to know how to speak Spanish, but that it not necessary in all of their offices. I was also told that they prefer to hire rising seniors, but depending on experience they will hire students going into their junior year. It is necessary to have good communication and interpersonal skills, as well as be good with computer software, meaning knowing how to use Microsoft Office and being able to quickly learn how to use their software and communication systems.
What tasks did the job entail?
During my internship, the South Florida offices held two major events. I was responsible for researching companies/contacts to promote the event to and sending out marketing documents. I also worked at the events in registration, and helped ensure everything ran smoothly.
One event was their Discover Global Markets event, which is a promotional event for the US DOC, where Commercial Officers representing almost every country in Latin America and over 300 companies from the United States came to South Florida to meet and see the opportunities in Latin America that the US Commercial Service can provide.
Secondly, we assisted the Bureau of Industry and Security and US Census Bureau in holding an Export Compliance Seminar. As an intern, I was able to take part in the seminar, resulting in gaining my certification in Export Compliance by the Census Bureau.
Other office activities I took part in were attending and taking notes during meetings and logging them into the system's company profile, and doing market research.
What skills/knowledge did you learn on the job?
I learned a lot about international trade and how small or medium sized companies grow their companies internationally through targeting a few specific countries, and growing at a feasible rate. I learned a lot about what the Department of Commerce does for US companies in order to promote US made products and grow our economy. It built a lot on my knowledge of marketing by showing me how to choose and appeal to certain markets, and find useful contacts within them.
It was an unpaid position, but the networking opportunities and knowledge gained were invaluable. This position would be ideal for students looking to work with international trade or in the public sector.
Would you be interested in working for this company after graduation?
I definitely will consider working for the Department of Commerce after graduation. I think it is a company that aligns with my career goals, offers a lot of flexibility in terms of where I want to live, and leaves a lot of room for career advancement.