Less than a year ago, an excited Megan Malone was selected to be an EDC-FITT intern. She had just graduated from Algonquin College’s FITT-accredited International Business Management program and completed a micro-enterprise development internship in Rwanda. She was ready to start her career and begin putting her global trade knowledge, skills and experience into action!
“Right from the beginning I was thrown in with the group and made to feel like a part of the team,” says Megan. “My team—the Small Business Solutions Group—is comprised of Account Managers, who each have their respective portfolios. We are required to know all of EDC’s products.”
Although her first few weeks with the Small Business Solutions Team could get slightly overwhelming at times due to the steep learning curve, she really enjoyed the new challenges. She was also surprised at the level of support and encouragement she received.
I’ve worked in a lot of places, and the one thing that really strikes me about EDC is that it’s all about collaboration and teamwork.
“The people I work with are all very busy every day, yet they have no problem taking time to explain something to you, or setting their own work aside to for a minute help you out.”
Learning on the job
Megan was encouraged to engage with and learn from EDC employees at all levels and in all different departments. She was also paired with an experienced EDC Account Manager named Mélanie Carter, who has helped mentor her through her training process on a more one-on-one level.
Megan is a delightful and positive person to work with and I trust that her clients sense her enthusiasm.
“From the beginning, Megan was all-ears on trying to assimilate as much information as possible, asking questions and integrating her learnings from her past experiences in Africa into her work here at EDC,” says Mélanie.
Within three months, Megan was trusted to take on her own portfolio of clients, which she says proved to be the best way for her to really understand EDC’s products and the ways that they can assist Canadian companies to grow their export sales.
“When you have clients calling you that are expecting to be in conversation with an expert, you make sure that you learn the products and capabilities that much faster” she says. “I’m still learning all of the time because there’s so much information to know, but the moment I got my own portfolio the learning process accelerated drastically.”
Putting knowledge and skills into action
Megan says her international trade training also made it a lot easier for her to jump in quickly and start working with clients.
“FITT trained individuals dedicate so much time to learning specifically about international trade, so they pick up a lot of the necessary language and skills,” she says. “It was surprising how much the FITT-accredited courses aligned with working at EDC, and it was assuring to see that my training really benefited me in my career.”
Is the FITTskills program for you?
Developed by business for business, FITTskills meets the needs of those who are
- seeking to enhance their import-export career standing,
- new to exporting or importing,
- and those who simply want add to their expertise or gain valuable educational credits.
Not only did her FITT training help her with trade terminology and global business concepts, but it also it also equipped her with an awareness of other types of services that are available to assist companies doing international business. Megan says this helps her when she’s recommending the best solutions for her clients.
Although she came into her internship with a lot of knowledge under her belt, Megan says she can’t believe how much she has learned in such a short period of time.
“They don’t just take you on because it’s nice to have interns,” she says. “They take you on and invest in you as a potential future employee of EDC. Whether you end up staying with them or not, they put in the time and resources to make sure you learn a lot and get the most out of your experience.”
Starting in 2014, Megan became a permanent employee as an EDC Account Manager for the Small Business Solutions Team. She is also currently applying for her Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.
The next EDC-FITT intern
Pretty soon Megan’s team will be taking on the next EDC-FITT intern. So what advice does she offer to this individual?
“Be outgoing, be confident in your abilities, and really work on building your connections at EDC,” she says. “This isn’t a very hierarchical organization, so you can really leverage the knowledge and experience of everyone from managers to directors, and even the senior VPs. Take advantage of the opportunity while you’re here, meet those people and learn from them.”
She also encourages the next EDC-FITT intern to take on new challenges fearlessly, and to ask for what they need in order to enhance their learning and gain more comfort in their position.
It’s a really good internship and I think it benefits people a lot. This is a place where as an individual you’ll benefit professionally and personally, and there’s so much opportunity for growth.
The application deadline for the next paid EDC-FITT internship is February 21, 2014. Eligible candidates are encouraged to contact their FITT Coordinators for more details on how to apply.
“We’ve been lucky to have had multiple interns from FITT, all of who have had a positive impact on the Small Business Solutions team,” says Mélanie.