ECO Blog: Conversations with the CIA and World Bank

Monday, August 30, 2021

Conversations with Employers: CIA and World Bank

While many of you have been attending employer information sessions and meeting up with alumni for informational interviews, I've had some great conversations with employers that want to hire our majors. At the bottom of this blog, I've included some questions I ask when meeting with employers to learn about their internship and full-time opportunities. I've been thinking about how to get the information that I gather to you, and then it struck me that I could reach you all right here on our blog. If we see some traffic to this blog page, I'll use this method again to convey notes to you.  

Below I've included a few notes about both employers and how you may follow up for more information. These notes are specifically based on recruiting economics majors. The CIA is recruiting other majors for other positions, and I encourage you to check out their website for more technical and engineering opportunities.

1 - CIA - they are recruiting for financial analysts and political analysts. They do hire economic analysts but don't have an active posting right now. US citizenship is required. Second languages are useful but not required. There is great opportunity for promotion, advancement, and diversity of opportunity. 
These jobs require a security clearance, which can take some time to receive so connecting with the recruiter about interest early is helpful. I can connect you directly with the UVA recruiter. Send me an email to get started. 

As a Political Analyst at the CIA, you’ll support policymakers by producing and delivering written and oral assessments of the domestic politics, foreign policy, stability, and social issues of foreign governments and entities. Analysts examine actors’ goals and motivations, culture, values, history, society, decision-making processes, and ideologies in the context of how those elements affect U.S. interests and national security.

As a Finance Resource Officer Undergraduate Intern for the CIA, you will work with an accomplished and diverse team, providing a full range of financial support for mission requirements. Finance Resource Officers serve as one of the most trusted and financially accountable officers within the Agency and are responsible for the analysis and processing of financial transactions to ensure the financial integrity of the Agency’s funds. (taken from

Opportunities exist for foreign and domestic travel, language training, and analytic tradecraft and management training. You will have an opportunity to develop deep substantive expertise and participate in broadening assignments with other offices in the Agency and across the U.S. Government. (taken from 

The paid time off sounds very generous. Other perks are continuous training and career development along with federal retirement and insurance.

To speak with their recruiter now, please contact me and I'll connect you.

Visit them:
9/8 on Grounds at the Finance Careers Night
9/22 at Intelligence and Security Networking Night

2 - World Bank

I spoke with economist Collette Wheeler, who works on the biannual Global Economic Prospects report. The World Bank has Short Term Consultant (STC) opportunities for imminent/recent graduates, who are interested in macro-economics. Topics researched and reported on include: Macroeconomics and Economic Growth, International Trade and Economics, Financial Sector Development. 

Taken from the January 2021 report: "The world economy is experiencing a very strong but uneven recovery, with many emerging market and developing economies facing obstacles to vaccination. The global outlook remains uncertain, with major risks around the path of the pandemic and the possibility of financial stress amid large debt loads. Policy makers face a difficult balancing act as they seek to nurture the recovery while safeguarding price stability and fiscal sustainability. A comprehensive set of policies will be required to promote a strong recovery that mitigates inequality and enhances environmental sustainability, ultimately putting economies on a path of green, resilient, and inclusive development. Prominently among the necessary policies are efforts to lower trade costs so that trade can once again become a robust engine of growth. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Global Economic Prospects. The Global Economic Prospects is a World Bank Group Flagship Report that examines global economic developments and prospects, with a special focus on emerging market and developing economies." 

STCs may work for 150 days of the year and contracts may be renewed in subsequent years. These STC roles often lead to full-time employment with the bank either in the analyst track or the economist track. As I understood, the economist track requires stronger writing skills. The work involves data scraping and cleaning information from more than 160 countries in order for the bank to write its biannual reports. STCs will gather data from databases such as Bloomberg and create visualizations of their data using Excel, Matlab, and STATA. Familiarity with any of these tools will be helpful in the recruitment process. Ms. Wheeler works on Chapters 1 and 2 of the report. The research covers more than 200 commodities. The majority of Research Assistants at the WB, began as STCs, which means the STC job opens the door for future career prospects.

The application involves submitting a cover letter and resume. Then you may be contacted for a screening call, an Excel test, and a behavioral interview.  You may be asked macro-based questions in an interview and likely will be interviewed by multiple staff and scholars.

If these topics sound interesting to you, I encourage you to reach out to Collette Wheeler for an introductory call. Please contact me to connect with Ms. Wheeler.


Some Questions I Ask Employers
Often I conduct research before my employer meetings and may have answers to some of the questions below, in which case I either don't ask the question, or I confirm through the conversation.

  • What industry is your organization in and who are its clients?
  • Who are the competitors in this space?
  • What internship and entry-level positions are available now/typically?
  • What skills and knowledge are you seeking?
  • What makes a competitive candidate? (similar to the question above)
  • Are there other backgrounds you are seeking for your hiring needs? 
  • Talk about diversity initiatives you have in place for recruiting and inside the organization.
  • Are there mentorship opportunities for new employees?
  • What are the steps of the interview process?
  • How many students are you hiring?
  • At what other schools do you recruit and where do you see your best applicants and why? (Less important now with virtual recruiting)
  • How have our majors compared in the past to other UVA students/students at other schools?
  • What is the career trajectory?
  • What do employees typically do when they leave/why do they leave?
  • What is the compensation?
  • Who are the UVA alumni you work with at the organization (if any)?
  • How would you like to be involved with the department?
  • What kind of skill-building programs do you have in place to potentially share with our students?
  • How has Covid-19 affected your hiring/the work environment/on-boarding/start-dates?