Internship Story: Christian Hartling at the Maine International Trade Center (MITC)

Christian Hartling, from Burlington, Massachusetts, joined the MaineMBA program after earning his BSBA in Finance and Management at the Maine Business School. This summer, Christian is gaining valuable work experience as part of the Future Global Leader program at the Maine International Trace Center (MITC). This organization helps Maine businesses attain the guidance, education, and funding to compete globally. 

How did you hear about this internship?

I heard about the Maine International Trade Center Future Global Leader program through word of mouth while at UMaine. After expressing my interest in international business, I was told about MITC, their role in Maine’s economic development, and how they work to increase the state’s international presence.

Why did you choose to intern at the Maine International Trade Center (MITC)?

There are two primary reasons why I chose to pursue an internship with MITC. First was its relevance to my professional interests. I knew I would learn a lot about commerce between Maine, other states, and foreign countries. Secondly was the internship’s location. The office is off Commercial Street in Portland, a lively area that provides the opportunity for some great lunch trips with colleagues! 

What are your internship tasks?

An intern at MITC is responsible for several different tasks and projects. One of my biggest responsibilities is fielding queries from members and assisting them the best I can. Often this entails conducting market research, identifying tariff rates and taxes on imported and exported goods, and determining product classifications. Another big responsibility is facilitating outreach to Maine’s businesses to share information on how MITC can be a resource for them. 

What do you like most about your internship?

The two parts I’ve liked most about my internship have been the relationships I’ve developed and the several events I’ve been fortunate to attend. Between my colleagues and external professional contacts, I’ve developed relationships with people across Maine that I will continue to grow. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend different networking events and out-of-office meetings that have contributed to my learning experience and the growth of my network. 

What are the biggest challenges you face as an intern?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced thus far has been identifying office “norms” and adjusting to how things are done in this organization. It is important to know coworkers’ preferences regarding communication and organization. Also, it was a learning curve familiarizing myself with certain terminology, which I’ve improved upon as the internship progressed. 

What are some things you are learning during your internship that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?

The most impactful part of my time here at MITC has been the focus on experiential learning. I’ve participated in several meetings that have illustrated firsthand how business meetings are conducted and the importance of completing preliminary research in preparation. These components of my internship have been very beneficial and can not be taught exclusively in a classroom. 

How will this experience help you as you move forward in your career?

I’ll certainly value the contacts I’ve made and the relationships that have been created. As mentioned previously, I’ve met many professionals with unique skills I can learn from. I’ve also developed a solid baseline knowledge of international business and Maine’s business environment. 

Any advice to share with other MBA students considering an internship?

My advice to other MBA students considering an internship would be to identify their interests and to look for groups that align with those interests. An internship is truly about learning as much as possible while identifying and building upon your skills and strengths. Therefore, you want to search for an organization offering the best learning experience possible. These concepts should be a factor when searching for an internship. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone. Reach out to individuals you think might be of assistance and open up lines of communication. 

Name: Christian Hartling
Hometown: Burlington, Massachusetts 
MBA Graduation: August 2023
Business/Organization where you interned: Maine International Trade Center
Internship Title: Future Global Leader