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Submitting an essay is a common requirement in various types of selection processes, including job selections. An increasing number of organizations understand that the information contained in a curriculum vitae and a cover letter is insufficient to evaluate a prospective candidate before holding an interview. The essay, therefore, helps in this sense – enabling a better assessment of several aspects of the candidates, such as their technical knowledge regarding the organization they wish to be a part of, as well as their communication skills and competences.
The World Bank Group YPP selection process is among the recruitment initiatives that require an essay at the moment of application, and this document is considered highly relevant in a candidate’s evaluation. Initially – and mistakenly – one may assume that this is a simple task. However, writing an effective World Bank YPP Essay is a major challenge! Special attention must be paid to its content, the logic presented to resolve problems, the construction of coherent arguments, the vocabulary, the correct use of written language, its structure and organization of ideas. For this reason, in this article, we will provide you with useful information and tips regarding the content and general structure of the World Bank YPP essay for the new edition of the World Bank Group YPP selection process.
It is important to highlight that this text is just a small part of the information covered on our extremely well-rated eBook, “The World Bank Group YPP: The Essential Guide”. Composed of 12 chapters and one attachment, the eBook contains more than 190 pages covering all information needed to get a chance of working at the Bank. The Chapter 9: “Writing an effective essay” presents detailed explanations about the construction of arguments, vocabulary, the correct use of written language and also provides a sample of an essay from a candidate who was successful in the selection process! With this in mind, the topics below will show a compact version of the original material.
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This article is only a small sample of the extensive content present in our excellent ebook.
1) The World Bank Group YPP Essay (WBG YPP Essay)
From 2020, the World Bank Group YPP now requires two essays to be attached to the online application form for the first round of its selection process. In previous years, the Bank only requested one essay and provided a short text to assist with preparation, which covered some of the challenges of international development. This text was usually a section taken from one of the Bank’s own publications, such as world development or annual reports. After reading the text, the candidate was asked to discuss the World Bank’s potential role and to make their own contributions, focusing on their area of expertise, in order to resolve the challenge presented.
For the 2020 WBG YPP, the organization has presented a new approach:
- As mentioned above, candidates must now submit two essays (each with a maximum of 500 words), instead of one;
- There is no longer a text that serves as a topic for the essay. The questions that candidates should answer in their essays are presented more directly. The questions posed for the 2020 WBG YPP are as follows:
WBG YPP essay topic – 2020-21
|Question 1: In 500 words or less, please tell us what inspires you to work at the World Bank Group and why you would be a good fit for the WBG YPP. You may incorporate your personal and professional experience (area of expertise, region or sector) in your answer.|
|Question 2: In 500 words or less, please share your thoughts on the value of the new World Bank Group Young Professionals Program and why joint WBG solutions (public, public-private & private) to development challenges are so important.|
Despite these changes, the WBG YPP selection process essays still seek to assess the following aspects in candidates:
- Technical knowledge: the candidate should discuss how s/he would contribute to resolving the challenges of international development once he joined the World Bank Group. Expert assessors from the same area as the candidate will evaluate if the solutions presented are appropriate and match with the Bank’s operational model. They will assess if the candidate has the technical knowledge required by the Bank and if s/he fully grasps the fundamental concepts of their specialized area.
- Knowledge about the organization: by asking the candidate what inspired them to work for the organization and the new WBG YPP model, the Banks expects candidates to demonstrate knowledge about the organization, such as its mission, its operational logic, its activities and its main objectives (refer to chapter 2 of the WBG YPP ebook).
- Cultural Fit: Demonstrating that you know the organization well is not enough. The candidate must show that there is cohesion between his/her own values, principles, objectives, perspectives and those of the organization. In the World Bank Groups’ case, an understanding of international development policies and strategies is an important element for a good cultural fit (refer to chapter 11 of the WBG YPP ebook). Certain words and expressions used in the text can also help the organization perceive the candidate’s personal characteristics.
- Communicative capacity: the essay enables an evaluation of the candidate’s capacity for writing, as well as their ability to structure ideas and defend arguments coherently.
- Competences: Candidates should constantly remind themselves that this is a competency-based selection process which, therefore, looks for specific knowledge, abilities, attitudes and values in candidates. As previously mentioned, the evaluation of competences does not only take place in the interview but throughout the selection process as whole. Therefore, it is important for the candidate to show in the essay that s/he has the competences that the Bank is seeking, which are: client orientation, professional expertise and team leadership (refer to chapter 1 of the WBG YPP ebook).
As in the past, the main focus of the essay is a presentation of the candidate and their view of international development. In the 2020-21 WBG YPP, the topic of the first essay must be developed from a presentation of your academic and professional background, indicating their competencies and experiences that demonstrate their passion and commitment to international development. The cultural fit between the candidate and the WBG must also be demonstrated. Present the contributions that you will make, if you become a young professional.
The second question, deals with the question of past essays on the challenges for international development, but it now has been reformulated. In the 2020-21 edition, you must discuss the importance of joint solutions by different WBG agencies, to tackle the challenges of international development. In other words, explain the importance of thinking about international development holistically, involving the different WBG agencies, but also the various actors (publics, public-private and private) and topics related to development. You must also present your background here, showing how you have the so-called T-Shape Profile (a broad knowledge of development, but a specialist in a specific area), and your capacity to think about development as a whole. Explain how you will help to construct joint solutions in the WBG.
Your essays, CV, and short summaries are evaluated as a whole and they should be able to “tell your story!”
2) Structuring the World Bank YPP Essay
An essay is like a puzzle: the parts should fit together carefully, providing a clear sense as a whole. Therefore, one of the main aspects of the essay is its structure – carefully “fitting together” different ideas. Different ways of structuring the essay may be selected, as there is no single approach. The fundamental aspect for an effective structure is that there is a logical sequence to the parts.
The most common way of achieving this is by using a traditional three-part structure: introduction, development and conclusion. By adopting this format, the candidate minimizes the possibility of the essay not being appropriately structured. However, should the traditional structure be used in an essay model for the World Bank Group YPP? We believe it should not.
Although the traditional structure is adequate and effective for various texts, candidates may – and rightfully so – think that this model is too generic to be used in the essay requested in the World Bank Group YPP. Therefore, an effective suggestion is presented here: adapt the Star Technique.
As explained in chapter 11 or our ebook, the STAR Technique is a model to structure responses to a Behavioral Event Interview (BEI). However, considering that all the rounds which make up the World Bank Group YPP selection process also seek to evaluate competences, it is believed that this model is an excellent way to structure the essay required in this selection.
It is true that what is suggested here is an adaptation of this model, since a BEI asks questions about the candidate’s past, setting off from the premise that their past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior; while what is requested in the WBG YPP essay is future behavior, that is, what the candidate would do if s/he were a Bank staff member. However, this does not prevent the logic of structuring responses suggested by the Star Technique from being used at this stage.
To better understand this suggestion and how to craft a powerful Application Essay, purchase our eBook: The World Bank Group YPP – The Essential Guide. This eBook was written and revised by a team of professors, human resources specialists and former young professionals with a great deal of diligence. What are you waiting for? The time to get ready is now!
3) Writing the World Bank YPP Essays: tips and recommendations
In this section, various tips and recommendations will be given to assist the candidate in all the phases of preparing their essay: from the initial preparation to the final revision of the text. If duly followed, they will help the candidate to write an outstanding essay, substantially increasing their chances of success in the selection process.
Preparing to write the essay: The preparation for writing the essay should begin as soon as possible and continue until it is actually written. This includes reading the Bank’s knowledge products, practicing the essay, making a decision about what will be written and maintaining an appropriate emotional state during preparation. A number of suggestions on preparation will now be given in this respect.
Language: As mentioned above, correct written communication is an important issue which the recruiters will evaluate. Consequently, the candidate should show a good command of English grammar rules. This includes the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences and the structure of the whole text. A broad vocabulary should be used, which is appropriate for the World Bank, the competences the program seeks and the technical area.
Content : Bearing in mind the numerous possibilities when writing a text, it is common for selection process participants not to know how to define what is and is not relevant for inclusion in the essay. Therefore, the following recommendations will help you to choose the best way to prepare the text and define the essential points to cover: 1) Keep the focus on the topic; 2) Concentrate on your specialist area; 3) Highlight your competences and relevant achievements; 4) Use trustworthy sources of information and data; 5) Do not needlessly repeat content.
Revising the essay: It is common knowledge that the first version of a text is not perfect. The rewriting process is as important as writing the text itself. 1) First, you should revise the structure of the text. The structure revision should be carried out in order to guarantee that all the elements of the text follow a logical sequence. 2) Revise sentences and words. It is important to verify that the phrases are clear enough to be understood by people who are not from your field of expertise. Also carefully read through the essay looking for grammar mistakes, repeated or unnecessary words, vague expressions and phrases in the passive voice, to change them to the active voice. 3) Ask a third party to review the text: Sometimes, even when the candidate revises their own text a number of times, mistakes can go unnoticed due to lack of attention, tiredness and excessive intimacy with the text, among other factors. If possible, it is important to ask for another critical viewpoint from a professional that you trust. This will help you to acquire a different outlook on what works and what needs to be improved in the text.
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4) World Bank YPP Essay Sample:
In this section of our comprehensive eBook – The World Bank Group YPP – The Essential Guide – an essay that was selected for a past edition of the WBG YPP selection process is presented! Based on this essay, we present a suggestion of two essays, adapted for the 2020-21 selection process.
Please, bear in mind that our team of specialists will NOT write the essay for you. We will suggest improvements and make sure that you are telling your story in the best way possible and to the best of your abilities! The merit of succeeding in the WBG YPP selection process is all yours – we are just here to make sure that you fulfill your potential.
Besides the World Bank itself, we are the ones who best understand the WBG YPP and have already helped dozens of candidates to get ready for this competitive selection process. Our 96% satisfaction rate is proof of our serious and committed work. We can’t wait to be a part of your WBG YPP journey!
5) Final reminders
Some general observations about formatting issues and sending the essay, which should always be remembered, are provided below:
- The essays must be uploaded in separate files in a .doc, .docx or .pdf format, with a maximum size of 5MB;
- The essays must be uploaded when you are completing the online application form. Therefore, it is important that you have them ready at the time of application;
- Both essays must be written in English (no other language is accepted);
- You must make sure that each text has a maximum of 500 words (approximately one page). This word limit requires candidates to have the skill of summarizing.
- The files cannot be password protected and their contents must be searchable. This is because the committee may use a special software to identify plagiarism. Therefore, great care must be taken not to include any plagiarism in the essays, even if it is a short section. In other words, you must be certain that your essays are 100% original;
- The questions should be answered in the first person. Therefore, avoid saying what you and your team could do and concentrate on your own contributions;
- Work in your comfort zone, showing your specific knowledge. Therefore, focus on a particular global practice (GP) area.
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