2007 PFIG Recipient Jane Scudder
College of Arts & Sciences
2009 Graduation Year
Internship: Anbakam Metals, LLC in East Brunswick, NJ
Notes on the first week
I am working as a marketing, market research, and sourcing intern at Anbakam’s US office. Anbakam is a commodity trading company located out of East Brunswick, NJ. We buy processed and unprocessed scrap/recycled material for export in containers across the United States and then trade this scrap to India, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Anbakam has been working in the United States for the past few years and is now looking to expand to the European recycled metals market. That’s where my internship duties come in. I have spent the past three days doing market research on ferrous metal (iron based) traders in the United Kingdom. My boss instructed me to research the UK, Germany, and France, but because I don’t speak German or French my research capacities in these two countries were very limited.
I’ve been contacting different recycling companies, scrap yards, and other vendors to learn how the market in Europe operates—who the “big players” are, the trade rates, nearby seaports that export to India, etc. I’ve contacted hundreds of companies and have heard back from many, though only a handful are suitable to work with. I have been the sole correspondent between Anbakam and a metal company in Bedfordshire, UK. This company looks like it may be the first trading partner that Anbakam will have in Europe.
So far the internship is quite interesting. During the school year I work for UVA Recycling so this is expanding my knowledge of the recycling market in the United States while also teaching me about the market in the United Kingdom.
The drawbacks that I am experiencing are not too many, but do exist. My mornings are filled with speedy correspondences between UK companies, though because of the time difference between Europe and the US when I return from lunch I cannot communicate with them. Next week when I begin phoning my contacts to set up meetings in the UK I will probably have to get to work earlier than 9 am so that I have more than three hours to communicate with the potential clients.
Today marks halfway through my summer internship. I’ve started coming in around eight in the morning so that I have more time to communicate with companies in Europe. Yesterday I had probably my most productive day over the past four weeks—I had three very good leads in buying deals. I haven’t secured any deal yet but I’ve passed the e-mail conversations and notes from my phone conversations along to my managers that they say are “very promising”.
What I’ve noticed is that this internship is much more trade oriented than marketing. I spend more time setting up buying and trading deals than marketing and advertising the company I work for. It’s still quite interesting, but I’ve found that I spend a lot of time doing accounting for the company as well.
There was one afternoon I sat down with Siva, the owner of Anbakam, and we crunched numbers for over an hour. The company’s records were thousands of dollars off of what we had been billed for by a firm and I had to track down where the money was lost in different shipping and booking purchases. At the time it seemed that my addition and subtraction skills were being tested, but in retrospect what it actually showed me is how big the current international market is for recycled materials.
One very good thing about this internship is that, just as my boss told me when I interviewed for the position in January, is that this is not a “gopher-ship” but rather a true “internship” where I do actual things. I never am asked to get coffee or do trivial things, which is nice.
There is only one other intern at the company, and both of us are treated the same way as the salaried employees, which is refreshing.
My internship and summer at home is coming to a close, and I have to say that I’ve learned a tremendous amount in the past nine weeks. I didn’t necessarily learn what I assumed I would be learning, but I guess most jobs are like that—you don’t do and learn exactly what you think you will be doing.
My work at Anbakam has never included fetching coffee or bagels or anything, which was great. I started the summer developing my company’s presence in the European Recycling Market, which taught me a great deal about recycling, but even more so about how different business transactions are in different cultures.
What I’ve been working on during my last days here has been a very interesting new project. My boss was approached by a very high political official in India with the request to bid on a contract that will project the Solid Waste Management (yes, garbage) for a city in India for the next few decades! The city has little waste management currently, so the project is quite literally building the infrastructure from the ground up.
What I’ve been doing lately is discussing the proposed project with Environmental Engineering firms in the US. We are looking for a firm to partner with us on this joint venture. It’s interesting because through working on this project I’ve begun to get some experience in the world of consulting—one of the most versatile types of work in the business world.
So what have I learned this summer during my time with Anbakam? I’ve learned that every type of industry is business related, and that being personable and open to learning new things and doing new things will always be an asset. I still don’t know what I want to do when I "grow up" and graduate school, but what I’m taking away from this summer internship is that having a positive attitude and an extremely hard work ethic is the best asset to bring to any job.