Questions on my Career Journey (2) - The Essay(s)
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Following my first post in this series and the response and questions (thank you!), I thought i delve deeper into the specifics. First, the essay. This is usually the part where many do not know about until the applications are announced. Still it is usually in the same spirit and you can prepare. I noticed that for 2020, application the essays are split into 2: one about your fit to the WB and another about your perspective on WBG solutions. In my opinion, this in fact makes it easier, as we had to fit both of those aspects in one write up, but at the same times makes it harder as it is more difficult to relate your personal experience to this approach of tackling development challenges. So I will address the two separately.
What inspires you and would you be a good fit?
Inspiration: Yes we all want to make the world a better place and that's beautiful. But here, I would recommend that you make this pretty personal: maybe how the world of the WBG has inspired you, or helped you, or you have seen how it helped xyz place or area that you are somehow connected with and you want to be part of the solution. You could talk about what you hope to by being part of the WBG team, what you want to contribute, what you want to learn and how you arrived at this decision to apply. What is your motivation?
As I briefly touched upon in my last post, for me i sincerely decided that I wanted to study Economics when I first learned it at age 14, and how every decision I made after that was to ensure I get a degree in Economics. I When I share that with colleagues they tease me and say "stop it, you are not in a YP interview anymore" 🙂 Sorry if it sounds too cliché or whatever, but that's my story. What is yours?
Good fit: Now you can talk about your professional experience and education. Be careful, the essay is not your CV and you need to tell a story, and show how you are a good fit. So your CV may say: Worked at a commercial bank for x years. Your essay may say, with x years of work in the private sector, your client engagement skills were bla bla bla and you can bring that to the Bank etc. I would say no need to mention institution names here. It should be high level and focused on your skills and attributes and how those attributes are what they are looking for. For example, I have prior experience in the private sector, public sector and academia and how that helped me understand the multifaceted nature of development challenges and doing a Ph.D gave me additional skills to contribute to the solution. Something like that. Show that you are confident, but also show that you are someone ready to learn. Show that you have leadership skills, but ready to follow and be a team player.
Your thoughts on the value of WBG Solutions
My advice is you are basically sharing what interests you about your future employer. Here is your chance to show what it is about the WBG that made you apply (whilst previously you were sharing what is it about you, that made you apply). Why do you think member countries need to approach development this way? Why not some other way? How do those things inter-relate in ensuring that the goals of the institution are met (ending poverty, etc.)? So look at the objectives of the WBG as a whole and think of how these solutions would meet those objectives.
I had no prior experience with the World Bank when I applied in 2018 and got into the 2019 cohort, and all the information I got was online and a friend who had applied and made it to the interview but not given an offer. I also realized during my application that there was a lot of misinformation out there. So I hope this helps and remember to visit the official site and FAQ and also this unofficial site with real YPs sharing more about all this. I will share again on CV and references. Most of these tips can be used for any other application aswell.
All the best!
In the picture is my YP buddy 🙂
Picture credit: WGB YPP: Meet the YPs