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Case Study: Thomas

Personal details
Degree:MALD (Social Anthropology) Profile picture
School(s): School of Philosophy, Anthropology & Film Studies
Year of Graduation:Jun-1990
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: The World Bank
Job title: Public Sector Governance Specialist, Public Sector Governance Unit See: World Bank or World Bank - Public Sector
Occupational Sector: International Development/ Organisations
What has been your route to getting your current position?
Initially, I worked as a long-term consultant in the Africa region for the Country Director for Mozambique and Zambia. I found this job via my grad school at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Currently, I work in the unit that coordinates issues such as anticorruption, civil service reform, decentralization, and legal and judicial reform. As a corporate unit, we also coordinate the World Bank’s overall governance and anticorruption strategy.

Application Process
For my current job, I applied via the internal online system, was short-listed, and then went through a panel interview process with five people on the panel (this is standard practice for both internal and external positions).

Selection Process
Some quick tips for students:
  • Always do research (e.g., via “google”) on each person before you contact them and especially before an interview. This may give you an opportunity to mention common interests, places you may have worked together, and to direct the conversation to common areas of expertise or interest (even if it’s a hobby like skiing or that you both have families, etc.).
  • Be very careful how you use email. Staff working at the World Bank receive tens to hundreds of emails a day and the more senior staff receive even more, and have less time to look at them. So, be careful what you put in the subject line (e.g., “CV” or “hello” is often deleted from people you don’t know).
What does your job involve ?
  • Much of the success in a new job means learning the ‘language’ and behaviors of the culture where you work – and social anthropologists are perfectly placed for this!
  • I would guess that in work in development and international organizations – or for nearly any organization – some 60-80 percent of what we do on a daily basis is pretty much the same for everyone: timely responses to emails, attending meetings, having good writing skills – especially under pressure with short deadlines.

Day in the Life of a Delegation Manager

For most staff at the World Bank, each day is different as we travel on “mission” to developing countries to work on various aspects of development projects. But in general, when in Washington, DC, we spend many hours of the day (and night) either in meetings or answering emails.

What are the best bits of your job ?
Why were you successful?
  • In order to get a job with many international organizations such as the World Bank, it requires a combination of luck, timing and having the right skills and experience. Social anthropologists often have wonderful experience based on fieldwork, often in developing countries. The challenge is ‘translating’ the social anthropological experience into practical work done by the development community. In this sense it is more “applied anthropology”.
  • In general, with international organizations – more education and language skills provides an advantage as pretty much all staff have either a PhD or a Master’s Degree.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?