For graduate students or development workers
Economists and non-economists
First time applicants and reapplicants
The course was helpful for me in preparing for the YPP application. It aided me in the different phases I went through (essay, initial interviews, positionin...Read More
The course was helpful for me in preparing for the YPP application. It aided me in the different phases I went through (essay, initial interviews, positioning, assessment center, etc), giving me deep insight about how to prepare and what mindset to embody. I recommend for those looking for that extra tip/advice for preparation. It worked out for meRead Less
I found this course really insightful during my application. It gave me an overview of the expected profile of a WBGYPP. The recordings and sample documents...Read More
I found this course really insightful during my application. It gave me an overview of the expected profile of a WBGYPP. The recordings and sample documents on the ideal CV, thesis summary and Essay bolstered my confidence, as well as greatly helped to align my academic and professional background to my desired WBG Global Practice. This without doubt saved me time and energy, and greatly improved my final application.Read Less
Thanks for putting this together, appreciate your efforts to share experiences and practical tips. There is always room to improve and would love to hear mor...Read More
Thanks for putting this together, appreciate your efforts to share experiences and practical tips. There is always room to improve and would love to hear more about the later stages of the application process - on interviews and assessment rounds. Thanks! (YPP Mentor's note: these topics are covered in the other course- Ace the YPP)Read Less
Hearing from YPP participants from application to career progression was insightful and informative. Thanks!
Hearing from YPP participants from application to career progression was insightful and informative. Thanks!Read Less
I find this very useful in helping me understand what to expect with getting involved in the YPP. Many thanks for putting this together!
I find this very useful in helping me understand what to expect with getting involved in the YPP. Many thanks for putting this together!Read Less
I am making plans to apply for the 2021 program and I see the course is relevant. Thanks.
I am making plans to apply for the 2021 program and I see the course is relevant. Thanks.Read Less
That was awesome
That was awesomeRead Less
While we were Young Professionals, our Linkedin, Facebook, and email accounts regularly received requests for advice from aspiring YPs. The most common CV or resume and application essay mistakes we saw were CVs without clear specializations and essays that were just prose versions of CVs. First, let us focus on the CV or resume since that is the start of every job application.
Specialization (or Lack Thereof) in a CV or Resume
Unfortunately, we have seen many aspiring YP CVs that contain a jumble of different experiences and lack a coherent specialization. While most career articles advise tailoring your CV or resume to a job description, there is no “job description” per se for World Bank Young Professionals and that makes it so hard for applicants. Still, our number one tip for World Bank YPP applicants is: tailor your application to a World Bank global practice, theme or unit. List of global practices, themes and units
Think of the Global Practices, themes and units (GPs for short) as the different departments inside the World Bank. These global practices are the hiring departments that ultimately extend World Bank YPP job offers. If you receive a World Bank YPP offer, your contract will be with a global practice. It will not be with the central Young Professional unit.
Given that it is the global practice leads and managers who interview YPs and extend offers, your application should be tailored to their needs. You should demonstrate what expertise you have within their industry and what you can deliver for them based on your past projects.
Real life sample CV
Recently, I received a CV from a brilliant development professional. She graduated from SciencesPo with an undergraduate and a master's degree in public affairs and completed an MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford with distinction. While at Oxford, she did three months of fieldwork in country X to interview public and private sector stakeholders and presented thesis research at a UN-organization conference. She also passed CFA level 1. The candidate speaks French and English fluently. She interned at two corporate social responsibility firms and was a project officer at the International Organization for Migration.
After Oxford, she spent three years as a strategy analyst at a management consulting firm on a range of missions in large public and private organizations, covering performance management, financial modeling, operational process design and strategic reviews. She then spent another three years at a European development finance institution where she worked on their strategic framework, Africa expansion strategy, internal process review, change management program, sectoral strategies, on formalizing a new approach to development impact, and reviewing strategic positions. She managed senior stakeholder relationships, was promoted twice, and led two cross organizational teams.
So what is wrong with this profile?
Although she attended and worked at highly respected institutions and has a clear and sustained record of accomplishments, she does not clearly fit into any of the World Bank’s global practices.
She appears to be a generalist with a lot of experience in strategy development. However, there is no “strategy” global practice at the World Bank. While there are strategy positions available, these are not positions filled by Young Professionals. Instead, Young Professionals start out as economists or specialists within the global practices hence you should market yourself as a specialist in one or two global practices. Side note: for the first two years, your official internal title will be “Young Professional” but it will then switch to (name of practice) economist/specialist after you finish the young professionals program.
I advised the brilliant applicant to pull out the common industry topics from the strategy projects she worked on and align these with a World Bank global practice. At YPPmentor.com, we do not recommend presenting yourself as a regional specialist, for example a West Africa specialist, but to present yourself as an industry specialist because that is how the global practices are structured. (CV, essay, and application tips after the video)
Tailoring your CV
Sometimes you need to make a choice between dropping an unrelated work project and having your specialization/s shine through. Don’t be tempted to add everything you have worked on. I have seen pages-long CVs that list every single deliverable that the candidates submitted for each job and internship. Rather, pick out the projects that demonstrate your experience in the global practices you are interested in, devote more space to them, and quantify your impact. For example, how many people subscribed to your podcast on environmental conservation? How many times was your article on piloting online voting in country X cited? If you want to see what a specialized CV from a real former YPs looks like, join Ace the YPP.
It isn’t enough to just pick a practice off the list and state that you are a (insert global practice) specialist in your CV and essay. Instead, go through the recent projects these practices have financed and link your experiences to them.
One step above the rest
To elevate yourself above the other water, governance, financial, etc. sector specialists, do not just show experience in the standard or “usual” sub-specializations in your sector. Take it a step further and demonstrate some involvement in the hot new trends in your field. Assuming you are indeed a specialist in your field, you should have a good grasp of what is “hot” in your industry. But you can also do additional research by joining the events that the World Bank puts together or reading recent publications. This is easier than ever as many events have moved online and this is the perfect week to start as the World Bank’s spring meetings run from April 5-11, 2021.
This is where planning your YPP application in advance is extremely helpful as you can use the year (or two) before you apply to gain experience in the hot trends through your academic research or current job.
Here are some examples from selected global practices. This list is just for illustrative purposes. There are many other hot trends, sub-specializations, and practices not included.
Your CV is just the start of your application, we have more advice for your CV and the rest of your application on Ace the YPP.
The most common mistake on essays
The most common essay mistake I see are essays that are prose versions of CVs. The candidate takes the bullet points from the CV and converts it into sentences and misses out on an opportunity to tell a personal story. Essays that simply recite your list of experiences in prose format waste a valuable opportunity to add to your World Bank YPP application. The YPP admin office already has your CV, do not waste your essay space by rehashing the same information. Instead, use your essay to tell a personal story that highlights your specialization/s while demonstrating your ability to be flexible across sectors- balancing technical and breadth (the “T” profile sought in YPP candidates). We don’t have time to get into the specifics of essay writing here but for more essay advice or a real YP sample essay, visit Ace the YPP.
Do not feel that you need to limit yourself to one sub-specialization. Being early in your career, you are not expected to be the foremost expert in just one niche within your global practice. Indeed you are better off describing a few sub-specializations so the selection committee can see what you can deliver to the global practice.
The initial application will ask you to choose more than one global practice. Because the World Bank YPP has to match you with a practice that is recruiting YPs that year, having two practices makes you easier to place. For example, I focus on financial inclusion and my fieldwork targeted primarily female beneficiaries. I also completed an academic program in gender policy. Hence, I chose both the financial and gender practices and reflected these on my CV.
Lastly, remember to be consistent. Make sure your CV, essay, reference letters, and interviews reflect the same areas of expertise and experience. Because the application cycle is over a year long, candidates apply in June and begin work in September of the following year, I know of candidates who forgot what they put as their desired practices on their initial application. Do not be that person. You should be building on this throughout your application and collecting achievements and experience in these areas right up to your job offer date.
Excerpt: Do you have a passion for international development/finance? Do you have skills in economics, finance and political risk insurance in emerging markets, education, health, social sciences, infrastructure development, engineering, urban planning, agriculture, natural resource management or other areas relevant to public/private sector development? The World Bank Group YPP is a two-year leadership development program at the start of a five-year employment contract with the World Bank, IFC or MIGA. YPs must have a graduate degree and been born on or after October 1, 1990.
YPP Mentor (this site) is an unofficial website that does not represent the views of the World Bank Group. The former Young Professionals are speaking only of their own personal experiences. They are not representing the World Bank Group.
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Please read the Official WBG YPP FAQs page before emailing us. We apologize that we do not have the capacity to respond to questions that can be answered by reading the official site.