Internship Spotlight: Business Council for International Understanding

Recent Tufts graduate Hershel shared the following being a Research and Programming Intern with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) in DC …

What did you do as an intern at this organization?

BCIU’s primary service is its outstanding region-specific programming, including intimate luncheon discussions and large-scale receptions. These events allow high ranking corporate executives from BCIU’s 200 industry-leading member companies to speak off-the-record with relevant officers from the Commercial and Foreign services. My primary responsibilities were to conduct research on international business operations of American companies, identify new programming opportunities, and manage relationships with U.S. Department of State, Department of Commerce, and other federal agencies to help facilitate international sales of member companies in target international markets.

How did you find this internship?

I found this internship at a Tufts-sponsored career fair.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about how the public and private sectors interact. Dialogue between government and corporations is becoming increasingly important, and the international government affairs space is a sweet spot for IR students gravitating toward business. Through my research, I was able to learn more about fascinating industries and international markets for different goods and services. The programming side of the internship was a tremendously helpful exercise in networking, making contacts, and identifying further career opportunities.

What did you find challenging?

There were two main challenges with this internship. The first was time management – balancing between research and program-related activities. The office was small but active, and the tasks added up quickly. The second challenge was the fluctuation in workload; some weeks were hectic and stressful while others were relaxed. Sometimes it was possible to create work for myself, and I sought out these opportunities when possible.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

My best advice would be to remain flexible and open, ready to take on any ask regardless of difficulty. You will inevitably end up learning more about business in a region where you previously had no interest. That makes the whole experience even more rewarding. Since this internship was in DC, the most logical option was to apply for the summer. There was no hard deadline, but I’d send over a resume and cover letter by mid-March.

About the Organization

The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) is a nonpartisan, U.S.-based organization that works to expand international trade and commerce. It does this by helping its member companies engage internationally and by facilitating mutually beneficial relationships between business and government leaders worldwide. With 200 member companies, including many Fortune 500 firms, BCIU delivers strategic insight, worldwide connections and essential services to enable businesses to pursue global growth opportunities.

By Susannah Krenn
Susannah Krenn Assistant Director, Communications & Marketing / Career Advisor Susannah Krenn