Cristina Latino, a Language, Business, and Culture major in Italian, was selected to be the intern at Choose New Jersey for Winter and Spring 2020 as part of this academic year’s Inserra Paid Internship Program in Italian Business linked to the Italian Program at Montclair State.
Choose New Jersey is a privately funded economic development organization, whose mission is to stimulate job creation and attract capital investment to New Jersey. CNJ markets New Jersey both domestically and internationally as the best place to grow one’s business in the United States. In 2019, 17% of Choose New Jersey’s international pipeline were Italian companies.
In the course of Winter and Spring breaks, Cristina Latino worked alongside CNJ’s business development and marketing teams. She assisted in research on taxes, incentives, workforce, and education programs within New Jersey and in its neighboring states. Some of the projects she was involved in included translating a marketing brochure from English to Italian to attract Italian companies to relocate to New Jersey, analyzing data for Requests for Information (RFIs) from international and domestic businesses looking to relocate to New Jersey, and assisting in the preparation of Annual Report metrics.
“Throughout my internship, I was able to collaborate within a professional and dynamic environment while deepening my knowledge of the impact that Italian companies have on the American business sector,” Latino commented. “This internship has given me the ability to learn about the global market in new ways in addition to the importance and relevance of cultural awareness within today’s business world. I am grateful to the Inserra Chair for offering this opportunity within the Italian Program at Montclair State.”
As the CNJ team noted, “This is the third year that Choose New Jersey has participated in this program with Montclair State. The students that we have worked with have brought energy and professionalism to our team. Their Italian language skills are extremely helpful as we market the state of New Jersey to companies in Italy. In particular this year, Cristina’s attention to detail and her commitment to executing projects made her a vital member of the team.”
The regular format of the internship includes a 10-day trip to Italy in the course of the Select USA conference in Italy, which for 2020 would have included meetings in Naples, Rome, Padua, and Milan. But this year, the trip had to be canceled due to COVID19, and Latino’s remaining hours were re-allocated to a safe remote-work experience.
“In the midst of the radical changes that the pandemic is prompting, it is heartening to see that an internship program was brought to conclusion despite the challenges imposed on it in terms of content and experience”. Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair) remarked. “We owe this to a solid relationship with the CNJ team, and to the resilience of our student Cristina. Together they have been able to re-design the internship to still make it relevant. This bodes well for the future: Italians are known for their art of adjusting in dire circumstances (arrangiarsi), and we feel that CNJ and MSU have embraced that spirit on this occasion. Better days will bring even better opportunities to strengthen the collaboration between our university and the NJ Italian business eco-system that CNJ fosters with its mission and that the Inserra Endowment supports as part of its vision about Italian and Business.”
Latino stayed on as an intern for the rest of the semester, as a result of this internship. A similar outcome occurred when the 2019 intern, Talia Antonacci, was actually hired full time not long after the internship, a sign of how impactful internship programs of this nature can be for Montclair State students who choose to study languages in combination with Business.
Cristina Latino (right) and Talia Antonacci (left) at lunch break with another intern.