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Invitation to a Bank of Intellectual Capital

December 18, 2012

Xavier Devictor

Excerpted from Gazeta SGH (Poland)

Marcin Poznań: It seems that we know what the World Bank is. However, the awareness about the institution’s activity in our country is low. Could you please tell me more about the activities of the World Bank in Poland?

Mr. Xavier Devictor: Poland is a very unusual partner for the World Bank. It is a high income, developed country. It has done remarkably well during the transformation, during the crisis of 2008 and despite the turmoil that we can now observe in Europe is still following its ambitious reform agenda. And our role at the Bank is to support this endeavor. We provide some loans, mainly in the form of budget support to accompany the fiscal consolidation effort. Yet, we are also gradually increasing the level of what we call “knowledge services”, i.e. economic analysis and expert services. In other words: rather than just lending money, we also try to share with the Polish authorities other countries’ experiences on a number of issues such as: fiscal reforms, doing business agenda, innovation agenda, healthcare, road safety.  But knowledge exchanges are a two-way street! Poland has much great experience to share with others. The World Bank is committed to working with Poland to help disseminate this experience with other countries.

Poles, including graduates of the Warsaw School of Economics, are working within the structures of the World Bank. But you say that the Poles are in the minority in this institution. How we can change it?

Poles indeed account for a surprisingly low share of our staff.  And yet, Poland is our largest partner in the region, a successful country with an important, positive transformation experience.  We are trying to reach out to different professional groups to raise their interest in getting to know the Bank and to encourage them to consider employment opportunities we offer. We would like to encourage the best candidates from Poland to apply for positions offered by the World Bank. We are convinced that Poland has a number of excellent specialists to offer, ready to consider building their careers in the World Bank.

The World Bank runs a number of projects and studies, which can be useful for researchers. Are there any projects or studies on which our researchers could actively cooperate with you?

The World Bank is not only an international financial institution, but it is also a knowledge bank. The World Bank offers knowledge and expertise on various issues, in a number of sectoral areas. We hire top specialists from all over the world. They come from different countries, with different backgrounds, they have very diversified career and educational experiences and they bring very different views and opinions to our institution. That all makes us a unique “bank” – a bank of people and their intellectual capital.  Indeed, there are hundreds of various World Bank studies and reports published every year. We mainly work on them using teams of our specialists already hired by the Bank. However, sometimes we do need consultants or researchers to provide us with some specific data or specific expertise. In such cases, we always advertise those opportunities on our international jobs website.

Few months ago your representative Roberto Amorosino (Talent Search Team) met at Warsaw School of Economics with our students. What the World Bank can offer to our students and graduates?

One could actually reverse your question and say: what could your students and graduates offer to the World Bank? A solid education, interesting professional experiences, an ability to work as part of multidisciplinary and multinational teams… There can be many replies, but this is an important question that anyone applying to the Bank should ask herself. We are looking for people who are passionate about development and are committed to trying to make a difference.

We look for people who are specialists in their fields but are also ready to attain new skills. Our employees are people with passion, open to changes, to work in different teams and different cultures. People able, and willing, to leave the so-called “comfort zone” to gain new experiences, to move several times in their careers to different countries, work in different offices, with different clients. We are looking for financial specialists, engineers, economists as well as specialists in health care, environment protection, infrastructure, energy sector etc. It is also important for us for the candidates to have good communication skills and ability to work in team. What we offer is a constant challenge, the possibility to grow and develop your skills in a highly demanding but mainly the possibility to contribute to reducing poverty and sharing prosperity across the world.  All job offers are on our web site www.worldbank.org under tag job seekers. It is the Bank’s principle to announce every vacancy for at least two weeks on the web site. For instance, until 30 June you can submit applications to the recruitment programme Young Professionals Programme. It is an offer for person under the age of 32 with, at least 3 years professional experience, holding a diploma in the fi eld important for the work in the World Bank, can prove fluency in English and in the second official UN language: French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and/or Russian. Young Professionals is the programme designed for future World Bank leaders.

Information about Mr. Xavier Devictor

Xavier Devictor is the World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries, based in the World Bank’s office in Warsaw.  Devictor is responsible for the management of the Word Bank’s activities and program portfolio in Poland and the Baltic Countries, and for leading the World Bank’s dialogue with the Government of Poland on a broad range of policy issues and the World Bank’s engagement in Poland.  Devictor, a French national, joined the World Bank in 1996 and since then has held various positions mainly in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including head of the Kosovo Country Office and working in the Office of the Vice President for the Africa Region. His last assignment before moving to Poland was Country Program Coordinator for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to this Mr. Devictor worked in the private sector in Central Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in Management and Economics from “Ecole Polytechnique” and a Master’s degree in Management and Engineering from “Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees.

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