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Minimum Requirements

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements to be a World Bank YPP candidate are as follows:

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has prepared a comprehensive eBook and support and guidance services with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in this competitive process. 

Our comprehensive eBook will introduce you to the complex world of the World Bank Group and its approach towards international development; it will teach you how to prepare each of the documents required in detail, and will also get you ready for the interview and assessment center. This eBook was written and revised by a team of professors, human resources specialists and former young professionals with a great deal of diligence.

The eBook is divided into 12 (twelve) chapters and one attachment, and contains more than 190 pages.

In addition, we have developed support and guidance services. These services include reviewing your WB YPP application documents (essay, curriculum vitae and thesis/dissertation short summaries) and a mock interview as per the World Bank YPP model. 

This article is only a small sample of the extensive content present in our excellent ebook.

The majority of candidates usually exceed the minimum eligibility requirements. Therefore, it is important to observe that additional qualifications are also desirable in order to excel in the selection process and meet the World Bank YPP’s minimum requirements, such as:

Nationality requirements

Diversity, global mobility and international experience are elements in a young professional’s work routine. Therefore, it is strategic for the World Bank YPP to ensure international coverage in its selection process. Candidates whose nationality is from a World Bank Group member country are accepted in the selection process. However, it is important to point out that there are no nationality quotas on the program. Selection is based on merit, meeting the minimum requirements and the WBG’s needs. Find the member countries of the World Bank Group here.

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Age requirements

Age is a minimum requirement of the Young Professionals Program. The candidate must be a maximum of 32 (or, in other words, aged 32 or younger) by October 1 on the year that s/he is applying for selection. There is no flexibility regarding this criterion, even if it is a single day. The minimum age is 18 years old.

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Academic Qualifications

A criterion which defines a candidate’s eligibility for the Young Professionals Program is holding a Master’s or doctorate (PhD) degree in areas relevant to the Bank. In other words, holding a first-level university degree is not sufficient and s/he should have also obtained a Master’s qualification, as a minimum, on application. You can apply to the YPP if you meet the following minimum requirements and criteria:

  • Holding a Master’s qualification with a minimum of three years of: a) relevant professional experience related to development, or; b) continued academic study at doctorate level;
  • Holding a doctorate (even if you do not have any professional experience).

It is emphasized that the candidate must have a minimum of a Master’s degree on application. If s/he is going to finalize their Master’s following the application period, but during the selection process, s/he is not allowed to take part in the YPP that year. Further relevant information on this requirement is:

  • If you hold a Master’s with three years’ relevant work experience and are taking the first year of a doctorate program, you may apply;
  • The area of study for the Master’s and doctorate do not have to be the same;
  • The Bank confirms that it does not have an a priori preference for candidates who hold a doctorate to the detriment of those who hold a Master’s and relevant work experience;
  • The WB YPP considers face-to-face or distance qualifications from any university recognized by one’s national government to be valid. In addition, Master’s programs which do not require a final project (such as a dissertation or thesis) are also valid, as well as doctorates with no coursework.
  • If the candidate is invited to start work and is still undertaking a doctorate program, the qualification must be completed while s/he works at the Bank.
  • Having taken a Master’s program is not required to achieve a doctorate qualification in a number of countries;
  • It is emphasized that information suggesting that only professionals with Ivy League academic qualifications are employed is erroneous. Professionals with qualifications awarded by a broad range of universities are selected by the WB YPP.

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Language requirements

Fluency in English is a minimum requirement for the Young Professionals Program (YPP). Although there is no language test, nor will any proficiency certification be required on application, the entire selection process is conducted in English and a command of this language is an element across all stages. A command of one or more of the World Bank Group’s working languages (which are Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) is not compulsory (nor a minimum requirement) but is a desired additional qualification for a program candidate.

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Relevant professional experience

One of the minimum requirements for someone to apply to the World Bank YPP is at least three years’ relevant professional experience linked to development or continued academic study at doctorate level. However, the average relevant professional experience for YPs is 6 years. This requirement, specifically related to relevant professional experience, raises a number of queries, which we seek to clarify here:

  • Relevant work experience includes any professional activity which is related to international development and public policies. In other words, work in the field of economics, public policies, analysis of public policies or in sectors, such as agriculture, climate change, education, energy, gender, finance, environmental resources, public health, poverty, water, transport, public-private partnerships, development of the private sector, social protection and the World Bank’s other areas of activity;
  • The following, among others, can be considered professional experience: internships, part-time work, temporary work, voluntary work, full-time work, consultancy, teaching and research;
  • Experience at government organizations, in the private sector, at non-governmental organizations and other inter-governmental organizations is relevant;
  • Work performed both in the field and the office is considered, as long as it is related to areas relevant to international development;
  • The length of relevant professional experience should be counted considering intermittent experience. In other words, non-continuous professional experience can be added together. For example, imagine that you worked for 24 consecutive months (in an internship) in 2014 and 2015 but you only worked for the first six months of 2016 (as a volunteer at a NGO) and only the last six months of 2017 (as a government consultant). In this case, you have three years’ relevant professional experience and meet the minimum requirement;
  • Your professional experience does not need to be in a developing country. However, professional experience in developing countries is an advantage.

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Relevant fields to the World Bank Group

Candidates’ academic qualifications should be in areas such as finance, education, engineering, public health, social sciences, statistics, urban planning and natural resource management, among others which may be useful to the different WBG operations units. It is important that during your academic studies, you have covered questions relevant to international development, such as agriculture, climate change, education, energy, gender, public health, poverty, environmental resources, water, financial inclusion, violence, nutrition, public-private partnerships, social protection, among others. This academic focus can be shown through your dissertation or thesis topic, or through participation in research and extension activities. Academic experience which combines different areas is also valued by the WBG, especially when it includes a mixture of studies in technical (such as engineering, health, education, statistics and social sciences, etc.) and management areas (economics, public administration and planning, etc.), while retaining the central thread of international development.

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Experience in Developing Countries

The WBG’s work focuses on reducing extreme poverty in developing countries. Therefore, the YPs will frequently carry out field work in these regions. For this reason, professional experience in these regions, with topics related to international development, is considered a competitive differential on the WB YPP candidates’ curriculum vitae. This is not a mandatory requirement but a desired differential. Work experience abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn new languages, develop intercultural skills and leave your comfort zone; it presents you with new challenges and is also a form of practical learning. The experience in developing countries sought by the WBG refers to real life activities in these locations, with issues related to the different international development topics covered by the World Bank. This may be part-time or full-time work, internships or volunteering with government, non-governmental organizations or companies.

See also our material on the UN YPP 2019-2020.

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