My summer externship was with Atlantic (USA) LLC, a commodities broker located in the Financial District of New York City. As a branch of a global company known as Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation, Atlantic is primarily responsible for buying and selling coffee and cocoa from countries all around the world such as Brazil, Colombia, Uganda, Vietnam, and many others on behalf of their clients. Not only is Atlantic responsible for solely purchasing and selling coffee and cocoa, the company is also responsible for working with transportation companies, insurance companies, cupping (sampling) the coffee, and storing the products if they are not directly shipped to one of Atlantic’s many clients such as Maxwell, Folgers, Tim Hortons, or Starbucks while simultaneously obeying the myriad of regulations placed on this industry. In other words, Atlantic is heavily involved in most aspects of the coffee and cocoa industry.
My shadowing experience with Atlantic (USA) LLC was truly remarkable. I learned a great deal about how a commodities broker such as Atlantic operates while also learning about how each branch of the company operates. Even though I felt a little overwhelmed at times with the amount of information I was taking in, I’m glad that I was exposed to as much information as possible. Over the course of my week with Atlantic, I had the privilege of learning how each branch of the company operates. My first two days with the company were spent in the coffee labs, where small paper bags of coffee beans are sampled (each represented roughly two-hundred to two-hundred-fifty bags of either Arabica or Robusta coffee beans) in a process known as cupping. During this process, those that are sampling the coffee typically look for consistency and the occasional defects that can potentially occur. I was also exposed the cocoa sampling process, a task that includes slicing of the bean into two halves, where the beans can be examined for defects as well. As one of my favorite parts of the week, I was allowed to attend a meeting with a member of the logistics department at Atlantic, where the topic of discussion was container security. In short, both Atlantic and U.S Customs were looking to take greater security measures to prevent contraband from being smuggled into the United States through the shipping containers used for both coffee and cocoa.
The remainder of my week consisted of working in the coffee and cocoa labs, participating in seminar-style classes taught by employees of the company in areas dealing with how a hedge fund operates, supply and demand, the futures market, and a branch of the company known as Sustainability Management Services. Additionally, I also read a great deal about the different types of coffee contracts, the two governing bodies of the coffee industry known as the Green Coffee Association and the International Coffee Exchange, and futures contracts. This reading was very interesting due to the fact that I was very curious about this industry that I did not know too much about.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting concerning greater container security, the highlight of my week was the seminar where Atlantic’s Sustainability Management Services branch was discussed. Coming from an agricultural background, I have always been very interested in finding a career that links my business, finance, and management classes at Gettysburg, the use of a foreign language such as Spanish, and my agricultural experience. From learning about this branch of Atlantic, I now strongly believe I have found an occupation that links all of my interests. In brief, Atlantic’s Sustainability Management Services looks to provide consulting services and solutions to exporters and producers in order to improve the efficiency and quality of the products Atlantic is interested in purchasing and eventually selling. Although I may still be somewhat naïve, I believe that I have found a potential career that incorporates everything that I am looking for in a job once a graduate from Gettysburg College. In short, my week with Atlantic (USA) LLC was truly an incredible experience. Not only did I gain insight into what a potential career in the commodities industry would be like, but I now have a better sense of direction concerning what I will possibly want to do for internships and job opportunities in the future.
*For more detailed information about my experiences with Atlantic (USA) LLC, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone is interested, I will gladly email you my daily blog posts. These posts discuss my experience at Atlantic in far greater detail than this blogpost.