Interning At The Top

Interning At The Top
Geoffrey Okamoto interned this past fall with the National Economic Council.

Some interns have their work examined by high-ranking executives and business owners but not Geoffrey Okamoto. He had to answer to one of the most powerful men in the world: the President of the United States.

This past fall, Okamoto was one of a few college students in the nation selected to intern at the National Economic Council (NEC), a group that advises President George W. Bush on economic policies. The Orange County native researched some of the most important issues facing the country including the financial markets, health care and home lending policies. Okamoto who studies Computer Information Systems at the College of Business Administration sometimes worked 12 hours a day to help NEC members become well informed.

There isn't a doubt that his work reached Bush's desk. At least one presidential speech included information Okamoto researched, which made the intern swell with pride.

“It was more than I expected to be honest,” Okamoto said. “Seeing your work go all the way to the top is rewarding. And this is really the top.”

Okamoto also had opportunities to meet President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as well as other high-ranking officials including White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

This isn't the first time Okamoto has been exposed to the Washington, D.C., establishment. In the summers of 2006 and 2007, he interned at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Okamoto will complete his studies at the end of March but the self-confessed politico said he does not plan to move to Washington, D.C., and pursue a career in politics. Instead, he will be focusing on his new job with KPMG, an international firm that works with companies on accounting and financial services. Okamoto will work as an advisory associate in the Orange County office, consulting clients on technology and security risks.

“If I knew two years ago what I know right now, I wouldn't believe it,” said Okamoto as he reflected on the academic and internship opportunities he has had while at Cal Poly Pomona. “It's great to know this isn't the end of the road; this is just the beginning.”