Friday, April 20, 2012

A Day in the Life of a WTC Intern

Guest Blogger John Englebert

John Englebert explains his
internship experience at a
Lebanon Valley College event
                My day starts waking up early in the morning to prepare to go to class.  I then head over to my college center for breakfast and immediately afterwards head over to class.  The days I work at the WTC of Central Pennsylvania during the spring semester I only have one class, a one hour 9 a.m. course in mathematics.  The math class I take is for my major, Actuarial Science, but I also major in Economics which is why I came in contact with the WTC of Central PA office.  After the class is over I head out to my car in the student parking lot on campus and set off towards York.  My college, Lebanon Valley College, is located in Annville so driving to work is 45 miles and takes about an hour.  I typically arrive between 11 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. depending on the traffic and how earlier I am able to exit class.
                My workday at the World Trade Center of Central Pennsylvania varies day to day.  Some days I work only four hours, other days it is around six.  How long I work usually depends on how long it takes me to complete the day’s assignment and if I have to return to my campus at a certain time for various obligations.  One interesting part of being a WTC of Central PA intern is that I sometimes never know exactly what I will be working on when I come in each day.  This aspect of my internship enables my work to always be a new challenge and keep it from getting repetitive which many other internships do not offer.  I generally have a longer term assignment that I work on, but many days there is something else that needs to be done, whether it is for a member, an event, or some other task that arises.  So a typical day for me is to complete the new urgent task, and then to follow up with a longer term assignment if time permits.
                The work I have done at the WTC of Central PA varies in disciplines and styles.  One day I may be working on a report, and another day I will be making copies and profiles for an event that our office organizes.  Some of the longer term work I have done includes making cultural reports for local businesses who are preparing to travel overseas.  The office’s cultural reports enable the businessperson to have a good overview on what cultural aspects , travel aspects, and business aspects her or she should expect to encounter and adapt to when visiting that particular country.   Some of the countries I have done cultural reports for include Brazil, Singapore, and India. 
The most extensive long term project I worked on was our office’s work with a German delegation of advanced manufacturers.  The delegation contained nine different companies located throughout Eastern Germany, from nine completely specialized industry sectors.  I started work on the delegation when I first arrived at the World Trade Center of Central Pennsylvania back in November and even now am doing minor follow up work for some of the companies.  I did research for the companies on what distributors and end users would be good contacts for them to start business.  My research involved analyzing the company’s specific industry, products, and export wishes in regards to such facets as geographic location targets and desired customer types.  With the new information I gathered I then searched distributor listings in various websites and databases as well searched in regards to specific industry codes.  I then scrutinized the produced results and from the analyzed search produced an initial listing of applicable target companies to contact.  This listed was then further analyzed, vetted, and researched until a final listing of companies was produced.  I then made calls to the companies, organized files, made meetings and meeting schedules, and then lastly produced meeting profiles for the companies involved before meetings between the Germans and a U.S. business took place. 
However, my short term work has been equally interesting as well.  Some days a local business contacts our office for assistance in a particular research or data area.  Examples of these is when I found financial flow data for one WTC member and a list of possible European Union certified meat producers for another member.  Another day I came in and was asked to do a preliminary market research analysis for a local business wishing on expanding overseas.  For that particular company the products for export where very broad in regards to NAICS, SIC, and harmonized codes.  I did research for them by finding a listing of international trade shows involving their specific industry, import data volume from foreign countries for a particular shipping code, and export data volume to foreign countries for the same particular code.  I then combined and analyzed the data to find correlations in order to identify the applicable foreign markets they should target.   Happenings such as these ensure my day at work is always interesting and challenging.
Another important aspect I do during my work day as is that I make notes constantly on what I am doing.  I am taking this internship with the WTC of Central Pennsylvania for credit at my college, so I am required to produce weekly reports as well as an extensive semester end report and presentation.  The notes I take enable me to write thorough weekly reports as well as provide me with a solid base for when I write my semester end report.  The notes I take also enable me to have an accurate reference on what I have done in case I am working on an assignment that is over the course of numerous days or requires follow up work at a later time.
                After my work for the day is completed I pack my work items up and head out to my car.  I then make the trek back up to Annville to return to campus in order to tend to my academic duties the rest of the day.
John Englebert is a Sophomore at Lebanon Valley College
Majoring in Actuarial Sciences and Economics

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