Skip to content

World Bank Application Essay

You believe you’ve done your part and got a couple of years of work experience in a developing country, and perhaps even have a Master’s degree- the full trappings of a fledgling professional, ready to save the world and launch a career in international development. Your CV is as polished as your shoes that you’ll wear for that nerve-wracking job interview. But where do you apply? You are over the internship route and want to get a taste of the real deal.

The Junior Professional Associate, more commonly known as “JPA,” is the ideal job for you. JPAs are the youngest lot of World Bank employees. We are a notch higher than the lowly intern, but still far from being the next Zoellick.

But there’s a catch. After the two-year contract, one is not allowed to work for the World Bank Group for the next two years. The first crack at this organization though makes for a good career springboard, and get a first taste of international development work and any of its related fields such as the environment, economics, governance and many others.

If you are young enough to still be eligible (that means no more than 28 years old), read on for some tips on making that initial step

1. Acquire unique skills. You graduated with honors, and speak at least three languages. But so do the other 100 applicants who compete for that one coveted position. What other skills do you think set you apart that is relevant to the job? When I applied for my job, I offered them not only practical know-how of climate change, environment and development issues but also my online media savvy required for the job to moderate an online Community of Practice.

2. Stack up on work experience. Get some real work experience related to the field you are applying for. Teaching English in Vietnam may count as international experience, but is it relevant? You might as well volunteer for a non-profit working on community development, and help them write project proposals.

3. Possess a high English proficiency. You might assume this is an Anglophone world view. However, it might be true for it is the common denominator among your colleagues. It Working with your partners in other organizations. You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare. Just master your subject-verb agreement and exhibit an above-average level of technical English especially in your field of work. Are you at a disadvantage to native English speakers? Not really if you speak another international language that is always an asset in an international organization.

4. Write a dazzling application letter. If you write an ok letter, the selection committee will most probably put it with the heap of letters from ok applicants. Impress them, and it will grant you entry to the gate of the application process: a job interview. Make your letter standout for it will show a first glimpse into your writing ability and thought process. Unfortunately, there is no hard and-fast rule on how to write one. It should, however, contain the skills you have and want to highlight from your background and work experience, and how they would be of value to the position you are applying for and the organization.

5. Tap your inside contacts. One of the first questions people ask me who take interest in the World Bank is if I’ve got contacts ‘inside’. I cannot vouch for this tip but probably it will work. I personally don’t have one. In one happy hour gathering, someone even shook his head in disbelief. Ok, maybe I knew someone, but she occupies the same position as I do, meaning she does not call the shots. It is difficult to establish a trend on the effectiveness of contacts. But for someone who got in without one, I can say meritocracy is still alive.

These tips also apply to any job you are eying. Following them, though, is not in anyway an assurance of employment at the Bank or your target organization. As with most opportunities, many other factors come into play, such as timing, number of applicants, and the vacant position. If you have more questions, just hit the comment section below and I’ll try my best to answer them. Click here to apply as a JPA.

Like this:


Deadline: July 31, 2015

The World Bank Young Professionals Program (YPP) is now open for interested applicants. The YPP is a starting point for an exciting career in the World Bank. Since its inception in 1963, the YPP has recruited over 1,700 people from nearly 120 countries, who now range from new recruits to senior management in the World Bank Group.

This Program is designed for highly qualified and motivated individuals skilled in areas relevant to the WBG technical/operations such as economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, agriculture, natural resources and others; as well as to WBG corporate areas such as communications, information technology, human resources and corporate finance. To be competitive for this highly selective program, candidates need to demonstrate a commitment to development, proven academic success, professional achievement, and leadership capability.


The following are the minimum requirements to be eligible for the Young Professionals Program.

  • Citizenship of a member country of the World Bank
  • 32 years of age or younger (i.e. born on or after October 1, 1983)
  • A PhD or Master’s degree and relevant work experience[?]
  • Fluency in English
  • Full proficiency in one or more of the WBG’s working languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish is desired but not required.
  • Specialization in a field relevant to the WBG Technical/Operations such as economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, agriculture, natural resources, and others. Note: No positions will be offered in WBG Corporate areas in the 2016 YPP Selection Process.
  • At least 3 years of relevant professional experience related to development or continued academic study at the doctoral level.

Additional Qualifications

To be competitive for the limited number of positions, a combination of the following credentials is highly desirable:

  • Display a commitment and passion for international development
  • Possess outstanding academic credentials
  • Exhibit excellent client engagement and team leadership skills
  • Have international development country experience
  • Be motivated to relocate and undertake country assignments (operational stream)


Young Professionals are offered a 5-year term contract, spend 24 months in a structured development program, and enjoy a variety of benefits and opportunities.

  • Young professionals may take part in field business trips, also called ‘missions,’ in developing countries.
  • Enjoy a blend of learning opportunities ranging from on-boarding activities, e-learning, cohort discussions with WBG leaders, leadership training, career development conversations, and networking opportunities.
  • Access to several coaching & mentoring experiences.
  • Compenstation: competitive salary, health insurance, relocation benefits,pension plans and lots more.

Recruitment Timeline

June–September 2015– Review of applications to ensure that candidates meet the eligibility criteria- Update of status to all candidates (candidates moving to the second round and those who are not moving forward)
October 2015– Technical review of second round candidates. This review by the potential hiring teams takes a closer look into the application package of the candidates and determines those candidates who will be selected for interviews.
Mid-November–December 2015– Update of status to all candidates (candidates invited to interviews and those who are not moving forward)- Setup of the YPP interviews (WBG Headquarters in Washington, D.C.-USA and WBG Office in Paris-France)
December 2015–January 2016– YPP interviews (see information below)
February 2016– Decision and offers communicated
September 2016– New YP cohorts start

Check out interviewing tips here.

How to Apply

Create an account and complete and submit the online application. You must complete your application in a single session and will be able to submit it only if you have uploaded all the required documents and answered all the questions.

Be sure to  attach the following documents (mandatory):

  • CV
  • Education Certificates/Transcripts
  • PhD Dissertation/Master’s Thesis topic (short summary), if applicable
  • Application Essay
    (Note that each file should not exceed 5 MB each, and should be in the following format: .doc, .docx, or .pdf)

The Application Essay

“Reaching the goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity—and ensuring that future generations will share in broader prosperity—is a realistic objective. Citizens around the world are already driving change in their communities and developing innovative ideas to address some of the toughest challenges their countries face. The institutions of the World Bank Group are committed to using their financial instruments, data, knowledge, and solutions to highlight innovations and catalyze this action to end poverty. It will take a global movement to end poverty, and in supporting and working alongside stakeholders around the world, the Bank can fully realize the twin goals.” (Extract from the 2014 WBG Annual Report)

Describe in fewer than 1,000 words your own contribution to these goals, if you were to work for the World Bank Group.

For more information , visit the World Bank Young Professionals Program or visit the FAQ section.