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Q&A: Our Interns Look Back on their Experience at TBG
By admin May 31, 2017

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Read about what our research interns have to say about their experience working with TBG. If you are interested in applying for the Fall 2017 cycle, please send your application to info(at)bassiounigroup.com.

Meet the Interns:

Alexis Saghie was born in the States to parents of Middle Eastern and American descent, with the majority of her family residing in Beirut, Lebanon. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Political Science with an emphasis on International Affairs at Westmont College. Prior to the completion of her Bachelor’s, she studied at The American University of Paris while conducting an internship at Pierre Claver, a school aimed to help the integration and transition of refugees to the French lifestyle. Alexis has participated in Model United Nations representing Ukraine on the basis of UN Peacekeeping and Security. She recently founded a for-profit organization, Hiraeth Makery, after time in Nepal to help the women of Kathmandu by selling their handmade Nepali journals and paper craft to in-turn send funds back to assisting the local schools in purchasing supplies. She is currently working for Corrigan & Company, a financial advisor firm in a niche market of bank-owned life insurance. Alexis is fluent in English and proficient in French and Spanish. Her passion is to continue traveling and working on hands-on projects to sustain developing communities, as her love of the world lies in humanitarian action and rights.

Nina de Selding was born in France. She obtained her Bachelor’s from the American University of Paris, majoring in International and Comparative Politics. Currently, she lives in New York where she serves as a fundraiser for an environmental nonprofit. She obtained a Master’s of Research in Public Policy from Queen Mary, University of London. During this program, she studied the different stages of the policy-making process with a focus on program implementation and evaluation. Nina further put her knowledge into practice at UNESCO where she worked on the elaboration of a Result Based Management Framework assessing the impacts of funded projects in developing countries. Being French and American, Nina is fluent in both languages. In addition to international affairs, Nina is passionate about contemporary art.

Siqi Chen is currently pursuing her Master degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), concentrating on International Finance Policy. She holds a Bachelor’s in English Language and Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Before coming to New York, she was an intern at Oxfam Hong Kong’s Beijing office, assisting development cooperation, agriculture investment and inequality reports with China and Developing World Programme. She also completed an internship with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Beijing, where she developed a strong interest in South-South and Trilateral Cooperation, poverty reduction and sustainable overseas investment. Siqi is also a freelance interpreter between English and Chinese, having worked with business and government leaders. She is fluent in Mandarin, English and learning intermediate German. She believes she will gain a deeper understanding of foreign investment and economic growth in developing nations at TBG.


In their own Words:

What did you work on during your internship?

Alexis: I worked on a number of UN related and business development tasks. I helped with data collection for a UNICEF Central Eastern European (CEE) contract to evaluate the regional organization’s “Existing and Needed Data and Indicators to Monitor and Evaluate Access, Equity and Quality in Early Childhood Education in CEE/CIS.” I helped develop the Website Scroll for TBG, creating consultant’s shortened bios to share with the general public. I transcribed various interviews conducted for a UNICEF ROSA evaluation. Similarly, I also assisted in helping supply references for a UNICEF Thailand report and a UNICEF Innocenti project to develop an Evidence Gap Map. A lot of my tasks in this area came in the form of data collection and report presentation. In terms of the Adolescent Girls Research database, I helped draft in-depth country profiles for Lebanon and Palestine. I drafted a lot of background situation analysis for UNICEF and Global Affair Canada’s technical proposals. Lastly, I also assisted Dr. Bassiouni in developing presentations related to the humanitarian sector.

Nina: I assisted on the first stages of the research process by screening documents and drafting regional reports, with a particular focus on Europe. I worked on updating the Twitter account and the blog by drafting a weekly article on a topic related to International Development, notably focusing on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I also did procurement database research on international development databases to look for prospective bids; I worked on research proposals and on database audits.

Siqi: My weekly routine includes writing blog posts on hot topics in international development, sending news digest, and cocoa bulletin that covers updates in cocoa prices and global cocoa development. Another main task is to look for prospective tender opportunities published by UN agencies and support proposal development. I also contributed to several research projects and helped audit TBG’s Global Consultancy Network.

What was your favorite project to work on at TBG?

Alexis: I really enjoyed working on the MENA Adolescent Girls Research project, specifically focusing on my origin, Lebanon, as well as Palestine. I found it very interesting learning more about an area and focus I wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about beforehand.

Nina: I particularly enjoyed getting to learn about the WASH programs, in India notably, and to understand how UNICEF and its partners conducted such large projects.

Siqi: I really appreciated that the tasks were assigned in line with each intern’s areas of interest. One of my favorite projects was researching on the controversial land grabbing issue that occurs while GCC firms invest in Africa. I also enjoyed writing for TBG blog, which allowed me to explore my interest in a wide range of development topics and improved my writing skills.

What were some of your key takeaways from the internship programme that can be applied directly to your career plans?

Alexis: 

  1. Time management
  2. Efficiency and detail
  3. Communication
  4. Promptness and responsiveness

Nina: I learned a lot about the framework and ways to engage with agencies, specifically on writing Request for Proposals. I thought this was very informative and that these are tools that will help me later in my career.

Siqi: Find out what you really care about and follow your passion. It is always good to learn things by doing them first. Also, don’t be nervous about asking questions.

Any piece of advice for future interns or those interested in applying?

Alexis: I would say to view this internship as a course, not so much in the grading aspects, rather the knowledge you’ll take away from the research and projects that you’re assigned. You’re going to learn a lot if you apply yourself to the work.

Nina: It might be stating the obvious but asking as many questions as you need, particularly when you are presented with a task that you have not done before, really helps you be more efficient in your work throughout the internship.

Siqi: I recommend this internship programme to anyone who is passionate about global development and some of the key areas TBG focuses on. It is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience by doing meaningful tasks. The programme is very well coordinated and you’ll enjoy working with everyone.

What’s next?

Alexis: To be honest, I have no idea what’s next. I recently quit my job at Corrigan & Company, a financial advisory firm, after about eight months of working on building my computer program portfolio and conducting research. Currently, I am traveling around Europe for the summer. Once I return to the States I will start job searching, once again! I’m excited for what’s to come though, wherever and whatever that may be.

Nina: Continue working at TBG as a research associate and working for an environmental nonprofit.

Siqi: I’m interning for UNDP at headquarters this summer. I believe my experience at TBG is an advantage on my resume and will be an asset for my career development moving forward.


Thanks for sharing !


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