The International Monetary Fund (IMF) seeks to ensure the stability of the international monetary system — the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables its 190 member countries and their citizens to transact with each other. IMF monitors economic conditions worldwide, acts as a lending resource for member countries, and provides technical assistance and training to help its members build better economic institutions.
You are fairly new to the IMF. What have you worked on so far?
As part of the strategy, policy and review department at the IMF, I focus on analyzing the effectiveness, inclusivity and success of the organization’s lending policies through a variety of lenses. Since I began my role eight months ago, I’ve been part of projects examining an organization’s extent and form of engagement with fragile and conflict-affected states and low-income and vulnerable economies.
Much of my work has been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has put an enormous strain on government budgets in lower-income and developing countries. As such, a central component of most of my projects is analyzing how economies have been affected, and how the Fund has supported countries in need of financial assistance.
Where did you fulfill your MPA consultancy and how did the consultancy experience prepare you for the work you are doing now?
I was thrilled to be able to undertake my MPA consultancy at the World Bank’s Global Solutions Group on Data for Policy Analysis alongside two other MPAs, Prateek Samal and Lory Chen. Our project consisted of building new indicators measuring internet access and use in Sub-Saharan Africa based on survey data, and exploring findings. The consultancy experience was crucial to landing my current role and helping me to succeed in it, as it prepared me in three essential ways.
First, I had the opportunity to learn how the “bubble” of international organizations works first-hand. The best knowledge always comes on the job, and working at the epicenter of the international development sector provided me with a functional understanding of how the industry works. I had been intent on working for an international organization for some time and being in contact with people who work in this environment was invaluable. It gave me a great sense of the development topics I could pursue and how to build a career out of them.
Second, I cherished the chance to explore an important topic in development and build familiarity and expertise with it. It’s easy to imagine the many ways in which digital connectivity and the internet are beneficial for individuals and economies, but it’s rare to be a part of an effort to quantify this and take stock of who is connected in the first place. It was also my first time using large quantities of survey data to carry out research. Besides practicing to manipulate and analyze it, I also took away the ability to think through and carry out a comparative data project from start to finish.
Finally, it was useful to apply the data and statistical skills I had learned in MPA classes to a development project. I gained fluency in coding for statistical analysis and learned how to deal with challenges that are common in this field. I use many of the methods and programs with much more ease and confidence in my current role, which I had the opportunity to develop, and at times struggle through, during my consultancy.