Nena, Vice President of Global Client Services
I’m from Serbia.
I joined about 20 years ago and that was to IFC where I worked both in headquarters and seven years in the field: three-and-a-half years in Istanbul as a country manager and then three-and-a-half years in Moscow managing ECA as a director. I also worked in both investments and advisory services in IFC so I have seen all the business lines in IFC directly and have gotten an experience in both of the key areas of IFC’s business. About a year and a half ago I moved to the Bank to run global practices. And, in fact, the task that Keith and I had was to establish global practices—to set up new systems, to set up new groups, to recruit the leadership team for global practices.
In terms of success factors, what worked for me is that I moved around, that I never stayed in any one position longer than two to three years. And through that moving around I was gaining more experience. I also benefited a lot by being in the field, staying very close to the clients, understanding the clients’ needs, being able to package IFC’s offer to our clients. Those seven years in the field were absolutely instrumental in terms of how I’ve evolved in this institution and how I’ve progressed.
I also think what helped was certain principles throughout all these moves and different jobs which were really to stay true to myself. Always focused on the work and not to follow my sponsors or former bosses and, in a way, in the long run it really paid off.
The World Bank Group is a very unique institution. While there are many similar institutions, and I have an opportunity to engage and deal with many of them, I really think that we are the only truly “world bank.” And the real benefit, I think, of the World Bank is our footprint.
- We are present in more than 100 offices in the world.
- We also have 60 years of experience in development.
- We have a range of tools that in combination are quite unique.
- We are not a consulting company.
- We are not just a bank.
- We offer a lot of products, both in the private sector, through IFC and MIGA, as well as in the public sector, through IBRD and IDA. And, of course, it’s really financing but also knowledge services, convening services—a combination that’s quite unique, I have to say.
For those of you who want to join the World Bank, I would suggest that you do some research to try to understand which parts of the World Bank you would like to work in and what is the best fit with your own experience and preferences. Because the World Bank Group is quite [a] large and complex institution, and if you go just too wide or if you do not necessarily focus on where you can be of help or use, that may limit your opportunities, actually, to be selected. So do some research, find what is the right fit for you, and then just go for it.
My favorite thing about the Bank is the fact that you can actually work in it for life and still have a lot of fun because there are so many opportunities to move around, there are so many changes that we are making, there are tremendous opportunities to do different things—every day, every week, every year, over the years—that you essentially do not need to look for career opportunities outside of the World Bank. While doing all of that you are actually on quite a novel mission which is to eradicate poverty and boost shared prosperity. And you have access to all instruments that the World Bank Group has and work with a very very diverse group of colleagues that is quite inspirational.
The Bank is quite unique in the sense that it has people recruited from all over the world. You feel it when you are in a meeting or when we have a task that we are working on together. It comes through really great ideas and different styles of how people engage. But it makes a wonderful, interesting, and extremely motivating environment.