IFC’s Global Internship Program gives students an opportunity to make an impact.

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By Xiaoting Huang

At a time when many companies have been canceling or scaling back internship programs, IFC saw an opportunity to attract young diverse talent to contribute to our teams globally and expand their skills and networks. The Global Internship Program has been redesigned following feedback from hiring managers and former interns and an extensive review of successful programs in the private sector and other international financial institutions. Internships not only provide IFC with fresh skills, but they also allow hiring managers to get to know students who may join IFC full-time in the future, as well as enhance IFC’s employer brand at universities.

The inaugural cohort of the Global Internship Program includes 46 graduate students from 31 schools who were selected from a pool of over 3,300 applications. All interns are current master’s degree students with at least three years of work experience. Interns can work across all departments and locations for a minimum of four weeks between May and October.

We spoke to three of interns about their background, experience at IFC and their aspirations.

Giacomo Alfieri.
Giacomo Alfieri. Photo: Courtesy of Giacomo Alfieri

Giacomo Alfieri, MBA ’22, Dartmouth College, Infrastructure ME & Africa Dept, Upstream

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Lugano, in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. After my degree in finance and gaining brief experience on the trading floor, I started working as an investment analyst, and then as portfolio manager, analyzing and investing in European listed companies. As I wanted to transition towards impact investing in emerging markets, I decided to pursue an MBA.

Why intern at IFC?

I have always been a true believer in the power of financial tools to lift people out of poverty, and no institution makes better use of these instruments than IFC. Thanks to the Global Internship Program, I can learn how to maximize the impact of every investment decision. At IFC, I have the additional bonus of working with incredibly brilliant people from every background and corner of the world who share my passion for finance and making a lasting impact where it matters the most. As one of my colleagues best put it: working at IFC is like working in investment banking, but with actual friendly people (and on projects that count, I would add)!

What projects are you working on?

I am part of the Madagascar Cluster Team based in Antananarivo. As an intern, I have the chance to work on a wide variety of projects, both on investments currently in IFC portfolio and on business development ranging from financial modeling of single companies to analysis of entire industrial sectors.

What have you learned?

There is a big difference between hearing about what IFC does and seeing the results first-hand. I am lucky enough to be part of a country office to see the tangible impact of IFC interventions directly. From financing SMEs to participating in big infrastructure projects, it is incredible to see how it is possible to change the world for the better! On a more personal level, this experience is an excellent learning opportunity for me as I need to adapt the investment framework that I have always used to analyze public companies in developed markets to study private companies in emerging economies. I find it incredibly stimulating being involved in balancing the difficult trade-off nested in every investment decision between immediate impact and financial sustainability.

Dilan Unutkan.
Dilan Unutkan. Photo: Courtesy of Dilan Unutkan

Dilan Unutkan, MS ’22, University of Toronto, Climate Business Dept, Climate Strategy & Business Development

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Istanbul, Turkey but spent most of my years in Canada and the Netherlands. My experiences as a refugee, first-generation immigrant in the Netherlands, and as a Turkish, Kurdish, and Canadian female play an essential role in who I am today and my interest in international development. As a member of a displaced and splintered family, I am committed to assisting others similarly affected and have a strong desire to make a difference.

Why intern at IFC?

While looking for internships, my goal was to find an organization that shares my values and offers an innovative workspace. I was also keen to find an internship that provides many learning opportunities, and I knew this would be provided through the Global Internship Program.

What projects are you working on?

I am currently working with the Climate Business Department to develop a climate-smart cities platform called APEX. There are many moving parts to consider while developing the APEX software. However, I hope to absorb as much information as possible while helping the team complete their goals.

What have you learned?

Over the last two months, I have learned a significant amount about IFC and how cities in developing countries can incorporate cost-effective actions into their investment and policy pipelines to achieve energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, and transportation targets. With an ever-increasing need for meaningful and sustainable urban planning processes in developing countries, this, of course, is a huge takeaway and will apply to my future work. I am incredibly fortunate to work with and be mentored by such a talented and bright team – they make me feel like a valued member of the team and have offered many learning opportunities.


Salima Raoundi. Photo: Courtesy of Salima Raoundi

Salima Raoundi, Master of Finance & Strategy’22, Sciences Po Paris, Middle East and North Africa Dept, Rabat Office

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Morocco but currently live in Paris as a master's student. Before joining IFC, I worked as a financial coordinator at Search for Common Ground.

Why intern at IFC?

Working for the World Bank Group has always been one of my dearest dreams. So, while looking for an internship, I tried to find an organization with a mission, aligned to my career plans and a working environment that would allow me to grow to my full potential. When the opportunity to work for IFC came, I had to take it.

What projects are you working on?

What's unique about the Global Internship Program is the opportunity to work simultaneously on several projects. Currently, I am working with two teams in Rabat: The Central Management Unit and the Public-Private Partnerships Unit. During the first month of my internship, I helped organize the visit of IFC’s Managing Director, Makhtar Diop, to Morocco. It was an exciting mission that allowed me to work with different departments and country offices; it also gave me a sense of belonging and accountability right from the start.

What have you learned?

I'm learning a lot of valuable lessons about how to stimulate the development of private sectors. Everyone in the office is so nice, and they are always ready to guide me through projects and processes. Also, during Makhtar's visit to Morocco, I shared a table with him during lunch. He told me to always to be myself and to be honest about what I know and what I don't know if I wanted to become a leader. It's such great advice that I will never forget!

Published in Movember 2021