"We are able to bring integrated solutions in the countries where we work in order to bring the transformations that we want to happen."

As a child, Yaa thought it was "really cool to work for the World Bank." Today she's an associate investment officer at IFC, a place she feels can "truly make a difference."

Yaa, Associate Investment Officer, IFC

I’m from Ghana, but I’ve lived in the U.S. for over 14 years now.

You know, growing up I have always wanted to work for the World Bank. And I think, as a child, it’s … I thought it was really cool to work for the World Bank. But, as an adult, I feel like this is a place where I can truly make a difference. It’s a place where I feel like I can use the skills I’ve gained in the private sector to actually create opportunities for the poor. Having grown up in a poor country and having actually experienced poverty myself, [that…] I think this place truly provides you the platform, the opportunity to work alongside with people who are like-minded and also very passioned about developmental work.

On a daily basis I am basically analyzing and assessing opportunities, investment opportunities for the World Bank to invest in private-sector and emerging markets.

Recently, with the outbreak of Ebola, we set up the Ebola emergency funds, which actually made liquidity available in the countries that were affected. This is not a Bank, for instance, you take IFC or IBRD—we are all very different. But we are able to work together as one big organization. We are able to bring integrated solutions in the countries where we work in order to bring the transformations that we want to happen in these countries. So the solutions that we bring, I think, it’s not [a] one-sided solution. This is where we actually make a difference.

If you want it enough, you will be able to get it. That is my advice because I think, you know, for a long time, when I was in the private sector, I worked in New York for five years before I got here. And for a long time I was looking on the website, looking for opportunities, trying to reach people, and trying to figure out how to join the organization. And I remember going, you know, applying to Kellogg Business School and thinking, you know, in my essay, they were like “What do you want to do after business school?” And I said, you know, I want to join the IFC after business school. And I remember my interviewer saying “But what if, you know, you do not get into IFC? What do you want to do after business school?” And I remember thinking, you know, that’s exactly what I want to do. I don’t foresee myself doing anything [else] after business school.

I think if you really want something, you need to work hard at it, and you need to believe that you could do it, and you do whatever it takes, and network with the people here, reach out to people.