Q&A: Our Interns Look Back on their Experience at TBG
By admin December 27, 2016

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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 Summer 2017 cycle, please send your application to info(at)

Meet the Interns:

Matteo Vidiri is a Research Associate at TBG based in Rome. Prior to his Master’s degree in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Matteo founded a local NGO focused on youth development and worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) both in its Headquarters in Rome and in a field project in Tunisia. During his Master’s degree, Matteo worked for the Italian Embassy in London, furthering the country’s interest in international affairs and development; his final thesis was focused on the interplay between international trade and food security in India.

Carla Issa is a Research Associate at TBG based in Beirut. She has recently completed her second Master’s degree in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. She has presented her research at international conferences at The American University of Beirut, The American University of Cairo, The London School of Economics, and for the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar. Previously she worked for three divisions at the United Nations: UNDP (Jordan), UNESCO (France), and ESCWA (Lebanon). Along with her work at TBG she is a fellow at the Association for Middle Eastern Public Policy Administration.

Pietro Bonanome is a Research Associate at TBG based in Rome. Prior to his Master’s degree in International Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Pietro worked with the Tunisian Red Crescent in Tunis, in a project aimed at collecting and providing food supplies to the poorest families before and during the holy month of Ramadan. While pursuing his Master’s degree, he deepened his particular interests in international trade and sustainability. This year he also flexed his expertise at the European Commission Delegation to Singapore, under the Trade Section, utilizing his studies into practice.

In their Own Words:

What did you work on during your internship?

Matteo: As an Intern at The Bassiouni Group I worked on a wide range of aspects related to TBG’s work. Once a week, I was in charge of managing the firm’s social media platforms, and I wrote a weekly blog related to hot topics in international trade and development. During the week I worked as a Research Assistant and procurement manager for TBG’s projects, applying my research skills to find bids and interesting opportunities for the organization. I also had the opportunity to produce a Market Analysis on the Ugandan retail sector – an incredibly interesting task – providing technical recommendations for TBG’s expansion to new, emerging markets through the services the firm offers.

Carla: During the tenure of my internship I was responsible for weekly blog pieces, a weekly news summary of international development news as well as updating the company’s Twitter account. In addition to the social media tasks, I completed research briefs related to a foreign affairs agency in Canada, a UN summary in gender work as well as a handful of summaries related to projects the company was attempting to obtain contracts for. I also identified consultants for TBG’s Global Constancy Network that would suit a particular project.

Pietro: During the internship at TBG, I had the opportunity to work on many research projects including the post-Brexit EU aid assistance outlook for 2017, UNICEF’s first Evidence Gap Map, and the economic updates for East Asia & the Pacific among others. In addition, I also contributed in developing many bidding proposals for UNICEF through the creation of the scope of work of the projects, the background and the consultants’ profile. Finally, I worked on the development of TBG Analytics and the profile of the U.S. Commercial Service.

What was your favorite project to work on at TBG?

Matteo: One of the most interesting projects I worked on with TBG was developing the Adolescent Girls database. I worked as a Research Assistant on this project, which focused on improving knowledge of the issues related to Adolescent Girls development in various regions of the world. The project would feed into the UNICEF Evidence Gap Map that TBG embarked on, producing a comprehensive evidence-based analysis of the projects related to female adolescents all over the world. It was very interesting as I had the opportunity to discover all the development work that Governments, IOs, and NGOs are pursuing in the countries that I reviewed.

Carla: I enjoyed writing the blog pieces as writing and advocacy through information and writing is a focal point of my work. I additionally enjoyed doing different tasks such as the briefs as writing summaries for potential bid projects is different than tasks I have had working for the United Nations in the past.

Pietro: My favorite project was the research on the post-Brexit EU aid assistance outlook for 2017. Given the uncertainty of Brexit, it was not easy to find long-term prospects related to its aftermath. However, I managed to find enough information to shape my research. This project allowed me to gain a lot of knowledge regarding the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and its functions through the EU Institutions as well as how the EU engages aid assistance in developing regions.

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

Matteo: First of all, I really improved my knowledge of the international development sector. Working with TBG’s databases, which are full of international development consultants CVs helped me figure out the various technical expertise within the sector and the different steps needed to develop a career in this field. Moreover, the projects I worked on helped me strengthen my research abilities and enhance my writing skills. Finally, the part-time, remote-based nature of the internship improved my time management and organizational skills, and I believe that these factors will serve me in my future professional appointments.

Carla: Certainly working in different time zones and ensuring work is completed accordingly is a major skill I developed!

Pietro: My analytical skills, especially qualitative research skills, highly improved. I also acquired a wide knowledge of international development issues thanks to the various research projects I had the opportunity to work on. Moreover, I gained experience regarding the UN public procurement service and also on how to build strong technical proposals. My long-term aspiration is to become an International Development consultant for either the UN or a private firm as TBG. Therefore, given the diversity of TBG’s projects I worked on, I believe that I will be able to directly apply many of the skills I learned to my future workplace.

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

Matteo: Be yourself and try to impress the people who are supervising your professional development. An internship with TBG is part-time but highly demanding sometimes, so be prepared to work hard and show your colleagues that you are up to the task!

Carla: The programme’s administrator is very organized and accessible. Working with a boutique consultancy allows more hands-on experience than working for larger organizations in the public or private sector. I found my internship with TBG to be more rigorous, and therefore more rewarding, than working with the United Nations for instance, as IOs are just larger and my tasks at the UN were a bit muddled in larger projects.

Pietro: I would suggest this internship programme to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and interest of International Development as well as to those who would like to get a direct insight of how International Development firms operate from HQ to the field. My advice is to put as much effort as possible in the work of TBG as it will pay off.

What’s next?

Matteo: I am currently working at the World Bank International Office for Europe in Rome. I do believe that having TBG on my CV helped me secure this position, as what I am doing at the World Bank is closely related to what I have done at TBG. As soon as I finish this experience in Rome, I will try to continue my career in a World Bank field office, travel to developing countries for work or even return in TBG, but I will definitely try to get more knowledge of the international development sector specifically related to trade and development issues.

Carla: I will be the director of operations for an investment company in the Emirates. I also look forward to continue writing on topics related to politics and policy and potentially pursuing a PhD later on.

Pietro: While I am grateful and excited to continue working with TBG as a Research Associate, I am also looking for a position within an International Development consulting firm through which I could gain more insights and knowledge regarding the sector while getting to know more aspects of project management too. Indeed, I will continue working with TBG as one day I hope to get the chance to join their dynamic team of experts.

Thanks for sharing !

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