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Speeches & Transcripts June 27, 2019

In Conversation: World Bank Economist on the Young Professionals Program


For more than 55 years, the World Bank Young Professionals Program has been the preeminent program preparing global development leaders. It is a unique opportunity for younger talent who have both a passion for international development and the leadership potential to grow in fascinating top technical and managerial roles in the World Bank Group. Arvind Nair, an Economist based in Bangkok and formerly a Young Professional from 2016-2018, shares his experience.

Why did you decide to pursue a career at the World Bank?

I wanted to have a career in international development so that I could apply what I have learnt in the classroom to make a difference in people’s lives. As I started my career, I interacted with many World Bank staff and realized that they were doing exactly what I wanted – their work was technically rigorous yet focused on making practical change.

Explain what you do in your role.

I work as a macroeconomist and my role involves research, writing and working closely with government counterparts. Specifically, I work with a team to produce a half-yearly report on recent economic developments and key economic policies in these countries; I provide training and other advice to governments to improve fiscal policies related to collecting more revenues and improving the way budgets are managed; and I work on analytical studies on longer-term economic issues facing these countries, such as on policies to improve labor productivity. 

What has been the most fascinating experience so far on the job?

The opportunity to work in different countries and to travel to regions within these countries. These trips have been invaluable opportunities to learn from my colleagues and from the counterparts that we interact with.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Most definitely the colleagues that I get to work with. They are knowledgeable, have a diverse set of perspectives having come from different academic backgrounds, and have been generous in sharing their time and expertise with newcomers.

The staff are also focused on making a real difference, which means that we have very in-depth and frank internal peer reviews of our work within the organization. I greatly appreciate this as the quality of our work is thus subject to a high technical standard, which helps us improve. I have felt that I have become a much better economist after joining the World Bank.

What would be your advice to the next generation of Young Professionals or people aspiring to advance their careers?

Firstly, that they should apply for the Young Professional no matter what their academic background – there are many career paths open at the World Bank! Secondly, that the program and the World Bank is the right place for someone who is curious, wants to make a difference and is eager to learn.