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Exclusive: Promising young Pakistani Ahmad Jamal Wattoo makes his way to World Bank

NEW YORK — In the age group in which most youngsters fall in love and then remain entangled in the ups and downs of their love lives, an ambitious Pakistani young man went to higher education institutions in the UK and USA in the hope to secure his future. 

After completing his master’s degree, he went to work with the United Nations. Instead of being satisfied with what he got, he continued his struggle for the better and finally land a good job at the World Bank at the early age of 24.

Ahmad Jamal Wattoo has joined the World Bank as a full-time investment analyst. He said in an exclusive interview with Daily Pakistan, “After completing my master’s degree in International Finance & Economic Policy Management from the Columbia University in New York in 2021, I had a strong desire to work at the World Bank. In which I eventually succeeded.

“Before joining the World Bank, I worked in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, for about five months. Before this, I have also been working there as a political intern for 10 months.” 

When asked why he left the lucrative job at the United Nations and joined the World Bank, Wattoo said the job at the United Nations was good, but because of his education in international finance, a job offer from a financial institution like the World Bank, IMF or IFC seemed more suitable. So, fortunately, he got a job offer from his favorite institution, the World Bank, which he accepted.

When asked about the work environment at the World Bank, Wattoo said his department, Manufacturing Agribusiness, and Services (MAAS), did not have many Muslim employees, especially Pakistanis. His supervisor was from Bangladesh. Only two other people were Pakistanis. While many Pakistanis work in other departments of the World Bank and there are many more Pakistanis in the Country Office of Pakistan, you get to learn a lot from a multicultural environment. 

Wattoo said: “I joined the World Bank in September last year. Since then, my experience at the World Bank has been very enjoyable. There is a lot of traveling to other countries, but nowadays Covid-19 has cut this international traveling. That’s why most office work is being done these days.”

Giving a message to Pakistani youth who want to work in international financial institutions, Wattoo said, “The youth should not give up. They should come for jobs at international institutions. Today is the age of the internet. There is a lot to learn. You don’t need to be from a major university. Jobs in such institutions are skill-based. Take my example.

“At the age of 24, I got a job in the World Bank on my own.  No recommendations are involved. I worked hard and practiced for many job interviews. You should also hone your skills. Apply to as many places as possible. Enhance your skills in computer literacy, Microsoft applications, data analysis, etc. Experience of working in good organizations comes in handy in getting a job. If you decide, nothing is difficult.

“The Pakistani youth is second to none in terms of talent and intelligence. They should apply for jobs in such international organizations without a recommendation. Such jobs are available. Prepare yourself, do your best, and then leave the rest to Allah.”

“Do you plan to live in the United States in the future?” Wattoo was asked. 

He replied that he would work in the United States for some time and then return to Pakistan. He said he never thought of settling permanently in the United States. Nor did he intend to. 

When asked, how do you see the recent political changes in Pakistan? 

Wattoo said, “Like many Pakistanis, I too am monitoring the current political situation in Pakistan. Mistakes are on both sides, but I don’t want to comment much on it. Even many people in my own family are very actively involved in politics.”

“To what extent the higher education in Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States helped you to secure a job at the World Bank?” he was asked.

Wattoo said in response, “You get the benefit of studying at really good institutions. Like people who were studying with me at Columbia University, many of them were two or three years older than me. Most of them have been working in the World Bank, IMF, or other major financial institutions. I used to take a lot of inspiration and advice from them. It helped.”

“The benefit of studying at the Columbia University in New York was that I made friends and connections with people, whose references and guidance helped me to find and move forward in new ways in life. Ultimately, these things pay you back in life. But it is not necessary that educated people of such institutions to reach everywhere. The students of normal universities reach good places on merit. Your commitment and hard work never go waste.”

When asked to compare Pakistani, British, and American education systems, Wattoo said, “There is more focus on networking in US schools than in Pakistan. Their focus is on enhancing soft skills. Conversely, in educational institutions in Pakistan, unfortunately, most of the work is done through cramming.”

“In America, I did not see things like cramming. There is not much focus on grades here. Emphasis is on skill enhancement. Because when you go into practical life, you see grades do not matter much; your soft skills come in handy. How do you speak there? How do you give a presentation? More attention is paid to such things. Your public speaking and your leadership skills are a big help in taking you forward in practical life.”

Wattoo recently shared two memorable pictures in a pleasant tweet, saying, “I was on a field trip with my university fellows to the World Bank in 2019. Now in 2022, I am in the World Bank working as a full-time employee.”   

Speaking about his hobbies apart from his job at the World Bank, Wattoo said: “I enjoy reading books. Apart from my subject, I like books on politics, international politics, and autobiographies. My favorite pastimes are chatting with friends, going to the gym, playing sports, doing tours, and traveling.” 

Wattoo is the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo and the son of Moazam Jahanzaib Wattoo . He was born in Lahore, studied at Aitchison College from first grade to intermediate, and then graduated from the University of London. Later, he received a master’s degree in International Financial Management from Columbia University in New York.

Courtesy: Daily Pakistan

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