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FEATURE STORY November 11, 2021

Meet: Ali Shahbaz, World Bank Treasury Junior Analyst ‘20


Meet Ali

  • Ali Shahbaz (he/him) is a Junior Analyst on the Product, Knowledge and Research team in the Asset Management and Advisory Department.
  • He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, DC and is interested in the intersection of policy, finance and communications.
  • He is developing a career that uses the power of storytelling for scaling public impact.

Update: Ali Shahbaz completed the Treasury Junior Analyst Program in 2022 and began as a Financial Manager at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

What’s your typical day as a Treasury Junior Analyst?

On a given day, I start the morning by inputting updates to the week’s dashboard, writing and editing communications, and attending morning meetings. Midday, I work on a strategic project to develop an impact reporting prototype for our ESG investment products. Several meetings later, I focus on my organization-level commitments as part of the Treasury’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and the World Bank’s Community Connections Campaign. I log off after responding to pending emails and completing any outstanding tasks from the day.

What is your greatest challenge and success as a Junior Analyst?

The greatest challenge as a Junior Analyst has been the learning curve of viewing finance innately through the lens of public-impact goals. I came to the internship after having a great experience on Wall Street, where the norms, decision-making pace, and aspirational goals were significantly different. Here, I had to reorient my perception of success from arbitrage to impact, and this evolution in thought takes intentionality, reflection, and action.

My greatest success as a Junior Analyst has been the freedom to imagine, discuss and implement creative ideas to reach the next level of impact. This is partly because the Junior Analyst Program is relatively new, which means there’s enormous potential to ‘make it your own.’ I am inherently creative, love to brainstorm new ideas and find ways to bring them to life. And to receive guidance, support, and encouragement to pursue my interests and passions in a forward-looking work environment is, for me, truly the definition of success.

"I deeply appreciate multiple aspects of the Junior Analyst Program, but the inception philosophy of the Program inspires me most. Today, there are 1.8 billion young people around the globe. Providing them a seat on the table of one of the world’s leading international financial organizations is an incredible opportunity. The ethos behind the Junior Analyst Program is to provide a collaborative, team-oriented environment for the brightest young minds to get a strong foundation in finance from an impact lens. And I think this is a life-long asset to treasure."
Ali Shahbaz
Treasury Junior Analyst '20

Name your favorite aspect of the World Bank.

I recently traveled to an emerging economy country and had lunch with a bright local student who wanted to know more about a career in development finance. She shared her motivation for working in development institutions, like the World Bank, stemmed from the impact they’ve had on her family. Her grandparents, who had underlying health conditions, received the COVID-19 vaccine thanks to the World Bank’s equitable rollout of the vaccines to emerging economy countries. Even in the smallest of ways, knowing that you are contributing towards creating incremental positive change is an extraordinary source of fulfillment. Working at the World Bank is this badge of honor that I carry with me wherever I go.

What do you appreciate about Treasury’s multicultural work environment?

Joining the World Bank Treasury has been more than a professional milestone; it has also been of personal resonance. Washington DC is home, but I grew up in a very cosmopolitan environment between the United States and Asia, interrupted by boarding school in Europe and travels to over 25 countries.  My multicultural identity found its home when I joined the World Bank Treasury. Here, an international, multilingual organizational culture aligned with my global roots and provided a nurturing space to grow, develop and thrive.

What has been the involvement of senior colleagues with your work?

Senior colleagues have been a pillar of support during my time at the World Bank Treasury: they continue to provide professional direction, mentorship, career guidance and personal encouragement to build my capacity for leadership, independent thinking, and collaboration. From weekly check-ins to detailed debriefs, senior colleagues have shown a sincere interest in my development, established openness to hear my perspectives, and facilitated the fulfillment of my professional goals.

Why did you apply to the Summer Internship Program?

As a student at Georgetown University, I joined the World Bank Treasury as an intern with aspirations to use my private sector training for public sector impact. Little did I know that this learning opportunity would become one of the most formative experiences and pave an entry point into a career for impact and social good.

How did the Treasury Summer Internship prepare you for this position?

The internship is an indispensable runway leading onto the Junior Analyst Program. It introduces you to the fundamentals of the job so that you can learn to walk before you run. It provides an opportunity to acclimate to the World Bank’s culture, understand its goals, and explore a variety of tasks and responsibilities to find an alignment between business needs and your interests.

What are your goals after your two years as Junior Analyst?

When I ask myself who the ‘Ali Shahbaz’ of the coming years will be, I am reminded that I want to continue fueling my hunger for problem-solving, creativity, and originality in moving the needle for some our existing and emerging challenges. This overarching goal, I know, can and will take shape in many forms: finance, journalism, storytelling, business strategy and more. But the underlying quest for scaling impact will remain a constant.

How has the Junior Analyst Program prepared you to achieve these goals?

Working at the World Bank has taught me: I care. Each day, I become increasingly, wholeheartedly, empathetically conscious of the issues that surround us. And for me, this epiphany transforms into optimism after witnessing firsthand at the World Bank that care combined with action goes a long way in creating a meaningful difference.