By Melina Takvorian, Stratfor Intern
My experience with Stratfor began in my freshman year of high school in my World Geography class when I was assigned to read one of their geopolitical assessments. Two of our teachers read Stratfor Worldview and knew its content would be helpful for our classroom. They were right. Not only did Stratfor help with the research for our projects, like a mock summit on the Israel-Palestine conflict or a socratic seminar on the population crisis, but it also gave outside information that helped us contextualize our discussion topics. The offer of a Stratfor internship for the following year was something I accepted immediately.
While doing some reading on Stratfor’s website before coming to my internship I quickly felt intimidated. The website is extremely well put together and the content covers everything under the sun related to geopolitics. I was concerned that my assignments would require an immense amount of knowledge about not only what was going on in the world, but also about Stratfor and its products. Despite my concerns, I knew that if I was determined and hardworking I could accomplish even the hardest tasks. With this mindset I walked into Stratfor on the first day.
I had imagined that Stratfor would look like a bustling newspaper from the 1950’s with papers up in the air as people squeeze past each other in an attempt to make edits for a deadline.
I had imagined that Stratfor would look like a bustling newspaper from the 1950’s with papers up in the air as people squeeze past each other in an attempt to make edits for a deadline. But, to my surprise, I walked through the door and saw no one running. Everyone was quietly at their desks or in a meeting. I became worried though. Everyone felt unapproachable; they were all so busy that I didn’t want to disturb them and risk starting off on the wrong foot.
My worries quickly turned into quiet optimism. Over the course of the next two to three days my fellow interns and I were introduced around the office. Everyone greeted me positively, making sure that I knew to come to them if I ever needed anything. I sat in on meetings and was not set to the side to observe, but rather welcomed as an involved member of the team, discussing ideas and learning about Stratfor more and more.
Everyone I met greeted me with a smiling face and I felt comfortable asking questions. Most of the assignments I was worried about also turned out to be truly engaging and educational. I did a lot of research; analyzed useful and necessary data; used my experience on social media to brainstorm new angles for publicity; explored the industry and persona risks involved in businesses; wrote up persona profiles; and learned more about Stratfor’s inner workings and production process.
Overall, my summer internships at Stratfor proved to be welcoming, engaging, educational and honestly invaluable. I cannot thank everyone enough for my experience there and would be more than happy to intern again. Next time I will make sure I can stay for much longer.