Nekabari L. Goka is a second year MSIA student from Doraville, GA. He received bachelor’s degrees in both economics and international affairs from The University of Georgia, where he was first introduced to the study of international trade as an undergraduate research fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security (CITS). His research focused in both nuclear nonproliferation and international export control policy regarding the trade of dual use technological applications. While working at CITS, Nekabari had the opportunity to support the hosting of the annual CITS Strategic Management Academy, and was selected to work on a team of student and faculty researchers that contributed to strategic trade reform policy recommendations aimed at promoting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states’ compliance with the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. These experiences provided Nekabari with the necessary background to earn an internship with The Southern United States Trade Association, housed within Global Commerce division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. We asked him a few questions about his internship and how his time at Tech helped him succeed.
What did you enjoy the most about your internship and what did you find the most challenging?
One of my principle roles as an intern was to perform trade data analytics in efforts to help Georgia small businesses identify potential international markets for their products, and so having the opportunity to assist Georgia small businesses in this regard was always very enjoyable and fulfilling. Prior to working in this role, most of my experience in trade was at the much higher systems level, and so I found that having the chance to contribute to globalization on a slightly less macroeconomic level was very valuable to my understanding of international trade as a whole.
The businesses that I had the chance to work with were each very diverse in terms of their knowledge and understanding of the benefits of exporting. As each of the small businesses that we supported all required different needs, the development of a specific international marketization strategy for each company was sometimes very challenging.
Tell us about an experience that made an impression on you during your internship.
One of the most impactful experiences that I had during my internship was the chance to interact with the department’s international office representatives on their visit to Atlanta for the annual Global Markets Insights Seminar. It was great to not only hear about their experiences working abroad, but also gain more insight into the work that our state is doing to propel Georgia small businesses to the world’s stage.
In what ways did your time at Tech prepare you for the internship?
I actually began this internship on the same day that I began my graduate coursework here at Georgia Tech. Having the opportunity to intern while taking classes full time was truly a blessing in that many times I found myself applying the skills learned in classroom to the workplace. The MSIA program does a great job of emphasizing the importance of the development of keen writing and analytical skills, and I think this training did well help me succeed during the duration of my internship at The Georgia Department of Economic Development.