Internship Spotlight: Kayla Kelly, GDEcD

Name: Kayla Kelly

Hometown:  Washington, D.C.

Major:  Economics

Graduation Date:  December 2016

Tell us about your internship at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  What is your role and what is your average day like?

I am a Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) intern in the International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. My daily tasks include providing research and assistance for clients by evaluating possible country, industry, and partner relationships to help increase their agricultural exports, marketing,  promoting, and planning SUSTA inbound and outbound trade missions, and updating databases and work orders through SalesForce.

How did you first hear about this internship? What prompted you to apply for the position?

Tony Gallego, the SOE Academic Advisor, sent students information about internship openings within GDEcD in Summer 2015. The job description for internships in the International Trade Department seemed interesting and it aligned to my career goals.  So, I decided to apply. Also, I wanted to get more job experience, so I figured that an internship within GDEcD would be good for me.

How do you think your background in Economics has helped you in your internship?

Because I assist small Georgia agribusiness with exporting and other types of technical assistance, the knowledge and tools that I obtained from my economic classes, such as demand theory, production and cost theory, analysis of market structure, government regulation of business, and basic finance theory, has proven to be very useful when working with different companies.

What new knowledge and skills are you learning at your internship that you could not have learned in the classroom?

My internship has afforded me the opportunity to strengthen my business acumen by providing me with hands on experience on how to run and operate a successful business. During my time at GDEcD, I have learned how to successfully market and promote businesses, how to conduct market research, and the steps a business needs to take in order to conduct exporting activities (such as contacting various suppliers, embargoes, etc.).  I’ve also learned how to become a better communicator and salesperson as a result of my internship.

What is the best part of interning at the GDEcD?

The best part of interning at GDEcD was going to the various inbound trade missions that the International Trade Department conducted.  At the trade missions, I was able to see first-hand the business negotiations between Georgia and foreign businesses.

What was the most difficult aspect of the internship?

The internship has not been difficult at all, but I have had an opportunity to work on challenging projects. One of the most challenging projects so far has been helping my trade manager identify a certain market and country that would be interested in the goods that Georgia companies offered.

What was the most surprising or unexpected thing that you learned while interning?

While interning at GDEcD, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Georgia is one of the top exporting states in the United States and that the state of Georgia has many partners across the world in order to enhance trade, investment, and economic development.  It appears that the state of Georgia is on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse, and I am very happy to be a part of it!

How has your internship prepared you for a career?

My internship has provided me with various skills in marketing, finance, budgeting, and entrepreneurship.  These skills will become vital to me as I embark upon my career of becoming a business owner.

What recommendations do you have for other students thinking about an internship?

When looking for an internship, try to find an internship that will not only allow you to not only apply the knowledge that you learn in the classroom, but also allow you to grow professionally and provide you with skills that will help you achieve your career goals.  Also, keep in mind that an internship provides you with an opportunity to discover what you may or may not like about the career you are pursuing.  So, if you’re thinking about pursuing a certain career, make sure you get an opportunity to intern in that particular field so that you can really get a chance to see all that the job entails.