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Here's how YOU can work for the World Bank

September 02, 2013 10:13 IST

Here's how YOU can work for the World Bank


Neerja Deodhar, YouthIncMag

A job at the World Bank has a very suit-and-tie feel to it. Find out what it’s like to work at one of the biggest international organisations whose decisions affect the entire world.

The World Bank is a 69-year-old financial institution attached to the UN that provides loans to developing countries.

They work towards the upliftment of the poorest nations and for the care of economically fragile countries that have gone through conflict.

The World Bank tries to achieve what individual countries sometimes cannot; their work also includes developing new vaccines and reducing carbon emissions to prevent global warming.

Why should you work at World Bank?

The World Bank has a compelling mission and cause; it does not function like a regular bank.

It doesn’t work for profit essentially and aims to reduce poverty and support development.

It gives competitive compensation and benefits.

The work is challenging and rewarding and you will be part of a diverse workforce. You will be provided an intellectually dynamic environment to work in.

It has a respected standing among the international development community and provides opportunities for continued learning, career guidance and marketability.

You will get a firsthand experience of the system that the United Nations follows.

It shines on your CV, even if you work for a short term period!

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Image: For representational purposes only
Photographs: Courtesy YouthIncMag


Types of jobs at World Bank

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If you are over the internship route and want to get a taste of the real deal, the Junior Professional Associate, more commonly known as JPA, is the ideal job for you.

JPAs are the youngest lot of World Bank employees.

There are also various other positions like short term consultants, extended term technicians, open contract consultant, etc.

Each sector also has its own kind of specialists who are hired by the World Bank because of their expertise in fields like water, agriculture and infrastructure.

The World Bank needs resource management staff, which look after the accounts and finances of the Bank and legal associates.

The Bank also offers scholarships and fellowship programmes.

How to apply

The World Bank Group receives a very large number of applications every year and they only accept applications for advertised positions, received through the online application form available on the World Bank website.

Image: Students from Colombia intern at World Bank
Photographs: Courtesy Charlotte Kesl/World Bank

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Recruitment, Work Environment and Renumeration

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Some jobs are internally placed but most are available through a competitive process of written exams and interviews.

The interviews are competitive to see if you are the best fit.

“The work environment is good and friendly; it gave me great exposure as a development sector professional,” says Sonal Gaurishanker, who worked as a short term consultant with the World Bank.

Sometimes your work may also involve a lot of travel.

The pay depends on the nature of the contract you sign and also your qualifications and experience.

You may get paid even on a daily or monthly basis depending upon the duration on your job, and the income is pre-decided by the Bank for each region.

A recurring response that World Bank workers keep giving when asked about their job, is that the work is demanding and you have to multitask but you learn so much on the job.

Getting a job at the World Bank sounds intimidating but if you work towards it, it is extremely fulfilling.

Image: Vocational education and training center; National Initiative for Human Development Support Project (INDH)
Photographs: Courtesy Dana Smillie/World Bank

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What will put you ahead of the competition?

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The qualifications and skills required may differ from programme to programme and the kind of job you apply for, but there are certain essential credentials that everyone who works at the World Bank must have:

Fluency in English

While you don’t need to know the complete works of Shakespeare, you need to master subject-verb agreement and exhibit an above-average level of technical English, especially in your field of work.

Fluency in one or more of the Bank’s working languages -- Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish -- will be a bonus.

You must possess academic achievements that place you in the top 10 per cent of your graduating class.

The basic qualification that you will need is a post-graduation in a social science like economics.

Besides that you must also have analytical and research skills that extend to areas of specialisation, such as finance, human resources development (public health, education, nutrition, population), social sciences (anthropology, sociology), agriculture, environment, private sector development, as well as other related fields.

Network and contacts

While the World Bank hires through applications online, it is extremely advantageous if you know someone on the inside.

It might not directly land you a job, but an inside contact can tell you of potential new openings before they are advertised on the official website and other media outlets.



Image: Mobile Dental Health Facility at 'Ekamuthu' (Harmony) Pre-School, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka.
Photographs: Courtesy Simone D McCourtie/World Bank

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