Camille Vega, MIA Class of 2015
- Where and with whom did you do your internship?
I completed my internship at the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Geneva, Switzerland. ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the UN Millennium Development Goals. I was part the Office of the Executive Director in the Communications subdivision.
- What were your primary responsibilities?
My primary responsibilities were to write short articles for the official ITC website. Some of the articles that were published concentrated on emerging markets, some on specific ITC projects, and others on broader topics in trade, such as wildlife trade standards. The ITC 50th anniversary also happened while I was in Geneva, so I helped organizing the marketing for the event, writing articles on the panels, and live-tweeting discussions.
- Which of your previous classes or learning experiences were most useful to you during the internship?
The classes that were most helpful were International Trade Policy, and Natural Resource Economics. I did not have to take the Global Economics course since I have a background in economics prior to coming to the Bush School, but I have seen the material for the course and think it would have been very helpful as well. Since most of my duties consisted of writing, every class at the Bush School helps in some way. It was a bit different to be writing short articles (about a page maximum) and to be writing for a general public so I could not use technical jargon. As far as my writing skills, I think meeting with the writing advisor at the Bush School was really useful.
- What were the highlights or most important learning opportunities from your internship experience?
I was fortunate enough to be in Geneva while the ITC 50th anniversary celebration and events were going on, and during the first year of ITC’s new Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez. This gave me insight to how bureaucratic processes shape international trade at large. For example, during the ITC 50th anniversary events, the ITC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bain & Co. Prior to this event, I was not aware that international organizations and private firms signed MOU’s on a regular basis. Being in ITC during Ms. Gonzalez’ first year as ED gave me the opportunity to witness firsthand how an organization may have extra-budgetary projects that seem enormous for only one year, and how the corporate culture of an organization may affect its employees and, therefore, their productivity.
- Do you have any advice for first year Bush School students who may be applying for an internship for this summer?
My most important piece of advice would be: keep an open mind! When I first got offered the internship I was hesitant because it was in the communications department. I would have missed out on a great experience if I had allowed my apprehension to take control. Being in the office of the Executive Director allowed me to see how bureaucracies that shape trade policy work, and the politics and processes behind the scenes that we are not taught in a classroom setting.