Asian Development Bank (ADB)
How did you start your career?
During my studies, I interned with the Swiss Embassy and UBS. After graduating from the Institute, I worked briefly for Capital International, an investment fund, and the Swiss Foreign Ministry. Before joining the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as a Young Professional (Finance) in 2010, I worked for a political foundation in Shanghai and a decentralisation project with the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Why did you choose to study at the Graduate Institute?
The Institute was a good choice for me because I was interested in the social sciences and specialising in development economics as well as global economic and financial governance. Another reason I appreciated the Institute was its very personal approach to students. For example, I organised a student exchange with the Thammasat University in Thailand. The accreditation of credits was simple and un-bureaucratic and I highly valued the personal support of the student coordinator during my exchange.
Why did you choose a career at Asian Development Bank?
Ever since I graduated from the Institute, I aspired to work for a multilateral development bank such as the ADB. When I accumulated sufficient work experience, applying to ADB was a natural choice given my work experience and interest in Asia. I also feel that currently there is no region more dynamic and exciting than Asia to work in and I am happy to observe “history in the making” while contributing to shaping Asia though my work at ADB.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career at Asian Development Bank?
I think the following qualities are indispensible: (i) Master level education from an internationally recognised school such as the Institute or others; (ii) very specific technical skills relevant to ADB’s operations; (iii) a minimum of 3 years working experience; (iv) passion for and commitment to the organisation; (v) diplomatic skills and finally (vi) the ability to integrate into a big administration governed by its member countries. An important piece of advice is to get to know the institution before applying in order to carefully manage your expectations: at ADB you will work on projects with important leverage potential for reforms and change, but the nature of your job may not allow you to interact with the end beneficiaries of your projects on a daily basis (you may prefer to work for an NGO in this case).
Did the Graduate Institute prepare you well?
By providing an interdisciplinary education, the Institute prepared me well for my tasks as project officer at ADB which require a comprehensive understanding of economic, financial, legal, historical and political aspects of development projects.
What advantage did the Institute give you from an intellectual point of view?
I feel it gave me a strong theoretical framework which enables me to discuss and make a contribution to a wide range of topics, not all of which I am an expert on. This turned out to be an advantage in interacting with senior government officials and in dealing with complex situations. It also allows me to be versatile in terms of engaging in various project assignments at ADB.
How did you benefit from your position at Asian Development Bank?
Working with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds with substantially more work experience is both challenging and enriching. On top of this, the volume of assistance and the potential for policy reforms in ADB projects are considerable which allows you to take on substantial responsibility early on.