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The People Behind Stratfor: An Intern’s Perspective

4 MINS READAug 17, 2018 | 16:39 GMT
Sophia, Stratfor Intern

By Sophia Takvorian, Stratfor Intern

During our second week at Stratfor, my fellow interns from the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy and I went upstairs to the kitchen to grab some lunch. Were happily surprised to find four coworkers with their eyes fixed on the TV watching as Croatia scored their first goal against Argentina in the World Cup. As we were drawn in by the embarrassment on Messi’s face, we began discussing the games from earlier that week. I mentioned how the sanctions placed on Iran meant that Nike backed out of their kit deal and the Iranian national team had to play in brand new, unfamiliar gear in their premiere game against Morocco.

With our eyes still focused on the TV we touched on how amazing it is that these small aspects of geopolitics appear on the pitch but, for the most part, are forgotten about. Having this conversation made me feel like I was at home in the office, surrounded by people who are not only invested in the World Cup but also the happenings of the world around them.

With a common interest in geopolitical analysis, we participated in many strategy, marketing and social media meetings during our time at Stratfor that opened my eyes to the complexity of the deadline-heavy media and information services industry. The first analyst meeting we attended left me confused, shocked and so in awe of what was discussed that I wasn’t even sure what notes to take. I had never heard about some of the names and topics discussed. But now, I do the opposite. I listen and hear the subtle yet conscious word choices the analysts make when describing a new development and write everything down. It was a refreshing experience to listen to a group of well-informed adults talk about, in a calm and collected manner, the political issues facing the world today.

Later that week, the other interns and I met with the head of the creative team and one of her team members to get a taste of the design side of Stratfor. I am accustomed to the type of design strategy used in the high school yearbook classroom where the goal is to make each page a different type of eye candy. Safe to say, the design work at Stratfor is at a completely different level from that. They made very clear that graphics and charts are worth way more than a thousand words and they have to be. Stratfor’s clients depend on the creative team to make information easy to digest and easy to build upon. One of the creative team members showed us a map made for a client which depicted the changes and continuities of night lights coming out of a war torn region over the past couple years. Although a simple image to picture, the building process made my jaw drop. The talent and imagination in this group is stunning and I hope that one day I will be as talented and passionate as they are in their field.

We also learned how dedicated the social media manager is to their work engaging with Stratfor’s audiences. From the numerous scheduled posts to awareness of the website publishing schedule, it was evident they understand the ups and downs of the Twitter game. They even took notes on what we were talking about, a nice change of pace for us who had been scribbling in our notebooks every second of the other meetings we attended. I learned something new and was exposed to new ideas in each of those meetings we attended.

Working at Stratfor, I saw the many moving parts of the industry and how they all come together to make something that helps others make tough decisions. Stratfor is also an incredibly cooperative and supportive environment with so many different and unique professionals that share a common passion for what they do. There was not a single morning I woke up this summer that I wasn’t eager to come into the office and learn something new.

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