The majority of my courses as an undergrad were based in international economics, which helped tremendously in shaping my foundation in economics. At the Bush School, however, two courses contributed to my success at USTR by preparing me with trade policy knowledge and quantitative skills.
The first course is Dr. Robertson's International Trade Policy course. The course covers a great deal of NAFTA's history and USTR's roles and functions (among other trade agencies and organizations). It also delves into trade policy on a more practical level and engages the students to think outside of economic theory.
The second course is Dr. Sellars's Quantitative Methods course (both I and II). Quant I forces you to think more critically and practically about problem solving and researching with data. You learn the ins and outs of working with data and recognizing "bad" policy suggestions based on empirical research. Quant II really dives into Stata, a brilliant statistical software that does magical things (you learn the basics in Quant I, but Quant II is where you get into the nitty gritty of research). Stata skills are incredibly important for internship experiences because you can make policy recommendations to your employer AND back them up, as well as take your research a step further with some extra graphs or statistical tests!
Where do I begin? Simply being able to say I contributed to NAFTA 2.0 is humbling. Additionally, meeting with teams from the Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission to work on the textiles chapter exposed me to other perspectives to use in my own work. More importantly, the experience of working together with those officials and with foreign government officials blew my mind. You don't really understand just how many people from so many places work together on a slew of tasks to achieve trade deals, laws, and so on, that on a daily basis we take for granted. It doesn't click until you see it happening in front of you.
I must also add that 4th of July fireworks on the White House lawn, bowling in the Truman Bowling Alley, and unlimited White House tours all done with my greatest friends were PHENOMENAL perks of being an intern in the Executive Office of the President!