Monday, February 28, 2011

World Bank Tour

Today I took the opportunity to tour the World Bank Treasury office, located near the Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. The tour was made possible by my professor, who currently works in the quantitative field on the World Bank, and also by my boss -- who allowed the liberty to work remotely after attending the tour. It turned out to be a very worthwhile experience..

The first thing I was impressed by the facilities of the World Bank office: it seemed very new, spacious, clean, and colorful. The latter caught me by surprise, since government-like institutions normally lack vibrancy whatsoever. I might even go as well as calling the office "chic".

Based on the quality of the tour, I will make the presumption that my professor is highly regarded at the World Bank. We were given presentations by two of his colleagues: a senior portfolio manager in libor, and another portfolio manager focused on fixed-income (read: I am not 100% sure). Both presentations were very informative -- only marred by their relative terseness given our limited time together. After the presentations, we were given a quick walk through the "trading floor of the World Bank". The previous is in quotations marks because these are not trading floors in the traditional sense of the word. Sure there are Bloomberg terminals and secure phones, but everyone trades at their own desks...which essentially are their respective cubicles. I guess this is the result of modern technologies.

Two things I took away from the tour: (1) a reinforcement that I eventually want to work in finance, and (2) the possibility of working for government-like institutions like the World Bank. I am determined even more now to eventually land a job in the finance sector, ideally in a position as a portfolio manager or investment specialist. Honestly, the main reason is money: salaries are significantly higher in the finance sector than most other fields. (I hope to land a $85k+ job following the completion of my Masters degree). The second is how there are institutions that do not act like institutions. The World bank struck me as very much corporate, but with the job security of any government agency.

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