The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a regional development bank established in 1966 and located in the Philippines, was modeled closely on the World Bank. The company maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia. With employees from more than 60 countries, ADB is a place of real diversity. If you want to start a career within the ADB, good preparation and possessions of the necessary skills could make you a perfect fit at one of the bank’s offices. Here is some advice from an independent consultant working with the ADB.
What major skills and requirements are necessary to begin a career with the ADB?
“The ADB recruits consultants with all kinds of technical ability. Typical requirements would be a certain level of educational, professional qualifications, years of experience (general and specific to the assignment) and excellent communication/presentation skills. Often projects have specific requirements, such as country/regional experience and/or language skills. If you aim for an international position, you should present yourself as a “fungible” resource, able to work within different economic, social and cultural environments. For a national position, your value would be, on top of other requirements, in-depth knowledge of the local conditions, be it technical standards, national legislation, an understanding of the stakeholders, etc. There is also a soft skill relevant to all consulting positions: you should be viewed as a self-driven achiever/problem solver/, rather than someone who can brilliantly explain why something cannot be done. All skills should be proven by a track record and/or recommendation, ideally from ADB staff/consultants or other players known in the field.”
What are the challenges one has to face when applying for an ADB position?
“The main barrier is winning your first consulting contract whilst being previously unknown to the ADB recruiting staff. A typical tendency (not exclusive to the ADB) is to stick with familiar consultants thus minimizing the risks. There is no easy solution to this challenge. As a minimum, you should very carefully read the TOR and requirements for the position advertised on CMS, and make sure that your application very specifically addresses these needs. You should be prepared to rewrite your CV to elaborate more on the work you have done in the past which is most relevant to the assignment. It’s a serious investment of your time, but otherwise, it’s very difficult to overcome this barrier, unless you possess really unique skills.”
What are the main benefits of working for the ADB?
“Working for the ADB offers you the great opportunity to learn new things, either in your own technical area of expertise or about the country of your assignment. ADB experience is also a great addition to your CV. You expand your professional network too, which is quite helpful for your future job searches. If you have a contract directly with the ADB, most of the conditions of your employment are predefined so there is no need to negotiate each and every small detail. Another benefit relates to appropriate remuneration which usually reflects your experience and skills.”
Check more about the Asian Development Bank opportunities here.