Economist Program (EP)

Joining the IMF as part of our Economist Program (EP), will jump-start your career by giving you hands-on exposure to a cross-section of IMF work and an opportunity to apply your research and analytical skills directly to essential policy work which impacts our 190 member countries. We are looking for young economists who want to have influence on the global stage and who can bring the latest in economic thought and multidisciplinary approaches to help us address key global economic challenges, such as fostering global monetary cooperation, securing financial stability, boosting international trade, promoting employment and sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty.

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What Would I do

The EP offers you a well-rounded experience of the IMF’s work and provides a unique foundation for a thought-provoking and fulfilling career as an economist. During the three-year program, you will rotate through two departmental assignments, joining economic teams working in regional and country-specific surveillance as well as in fiscal, monetary, balance of payments, debt, or related issues. This is not a trainee position and from the start you will be given real work and real responsibilities as an IMF economist. This could include policy development, country or regional operational work, research, and capacity development and teaching.

By the end of the program, we hope you will be as excited by our work as we are and will choose to remain and build a long-term career as an IMF economist.

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Who Should Apply

You will need to be:

  • A recent PhD graduate or be within one year of completing your PhD in a relevant field of study
  • A national of one of our IMF member countries
  • Under age 34 when you join the IMF EP program
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    How to Apply

    The application process opens annually in late September, with a notice on the IMF Career Site. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed between October and January, with offers made in early February. The selection process consists of multiple stages, which may run in parallel to one another.

    Below is a summary of the four key stages:

    1. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to a 30-40-minute preliminary interview during which you will be asked for a high-level overview of your research paper and to respond to questions on economic topics related to the work of the IMF and on your interpersonal and communication skills. Dates for IMF campus visits will be added here.
    2. Following the preliminary interview, you may be asked to forward your most recent university transcript from your PhD program, provide three academic references (references cannot be from current IMF staff members) and submit a research paper (ideally of publishable standard) or one or two chapters of your dissertation.
    3. Successful candidates this year will be invited for an in-person panel interview comprised of two or three senior IMF economists and a Human Resources officer. The interview will follow a similar format to the preliminary interview, focusing on your knowledge of monetary, fiscal, balance of payments, and financial sector issues and your behavioral skills, to provide a deeper assessment of your analytical abilities, judgment, oral communication and interpersonal skills, knowledge of macroeconomics and related fields, and ability to convey complex issues in a logical and structured way. In addition to the panel interview, you will also be asked to take a 40-minute online psychometric assessment and a 90-minute written exam. The psychometric assessment is designed to identify preferred behavioral skills and approaches, while the written exam will assess your writing skills.
    4. Once the panel interviews have been completed (normally by late January), all candidates who reached the panel interview stage will be referred to an internal committee of senior staff for review and this committee will make the final selection. The committee will review all seven assessments (bolded above) with the highest weighting given to the panel interview and the research paper review.

    Offers to successful applicants will be sent out in February and the incoming class of EPs will start at the IMF the following September.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I have to be a macroeconomist to apply to the EP?

    No, the IMF is looking for adaptable applicants who demonstrate the potential to learn new fields as well as bring a variety of skills to our work. While you will be expected to have a grounding in macroeconomics and a good understanding of our work, EPs come to the IMF from a wide range of economic-related fields including finance, labor economics, development economics, gender and more.

    Will I go on missions to visit member countries as an EP?

    During the three-year program, all EPs are expected to have participated in at least one mission to a country. Depending on your assignments and interests, you may participate in multiple country visits.

    Will I be able to conduct research as an EP?

    Yes, IMF staff are encouraged to keep informed of latest developments in their field and this includes an active research agenda. IMF staff publish reports, working papers, and contribute to books and journals on a wide range of topics. Furthermore, with one of the largest bodies of economists in one place, you will find many opportunities to discuss, work, and collaborate with others. Your work as an economist will also lead to many ideas which could be explored further through research. However, your capacity to produce research papers can depend on your specific assignment, the relevance of the research to the broader work of the IMF, and your ability to balance multiple demands on your time. We also have an extensive roster of visiting scholars, training sessions and briefing which offers opportunities to broaden your learning, liaise with leading academics, and maintain your awareness of the emerging developments in your field. You can access the analytical reports, working papers, book chapters, and journal articles produced by IMF staff on the IMF Research website.

    Can I apply if I don't meet the age requirement?

    Due to the number of excellent applications we receive each year, exceptions to the age limit are rare. If there is a compelling reason why you were not able to apply earlier, please indicate this in your application.

    How are assignments determined?

    You will have two 18-month assignments as an EP, one will be in a department focused on a particular country or region and one will be in a functional department with a more specialized policy-driven focus that may cut across national boundaries. For the first regional assignment, we will ask you for your departmental preferences and try to find a good match based on your interests, skills, experience, and our existing departmental requirements. The second assignment is determined though an internal job market where you will apply and compete for positions.

    How should I prepare for the panel interview?

    We are looking for evidence of logical thought and clarity of communication, so you should be prepared to think clearly, make linkages between issues, and make your conclusions clear, complete, and concise. You shouldn’t be surprised by any of the topics since the questions will be related to the work of the IMF and will reflect the challenges and situations you are likely to face as an economist. Monitoring the media to keep abreast of key global economic events is essential, as well as reading how these issues are treated in our flagship IMF documents such as the World Economic Outlook. Also, a broader awareness of world economic developments should help you to identify possible questions. A sound knowledge of core macroeconomic theory will help you structure and develop your answers so refreshing your knowledge of key concepts is useful.

    What should be submitted for the research paper?

    Your paper should be complete and of academic publication quality. You should submit the paper that best showcases your writing, data analysis, research skills, and quality of thought. The topic does not have to be directly related to the work of the IMF, but you should outline the implications and broader policy applications of your findings. Co-authored papers can be submitted but you should indicate the extent of your contributions. The research paper will be requested following the preliminary interview. You do not need to submit it as part of your initial application.

    Who should I use as my references?

    The IMF will request references following the preliminary interview stage. You do not need to submit them as part of your initial application. They should be primarily academic references, but you can also include references from any work experience. References from current IMF staff will not be accepted.

    Does it matter if I attend panels in January or December?

    No. All results for candidates who reach the panel stage will be collated and presented to the EP selection committee which normally meets in early February. No offers will be made before this meeting.

    What is the career progression for EP graduates?

    The EP is designed to provide you with an accelerated start to your career, beginning with a broad foundation of the IMF’s work, and taking advantage of the information available from a strong network of other EPs. Most EP graduates have chosen to stay at the IMF after graduation and many have progressed to senior roles in the organization. Those who have left, have gone on to a wide variety of prominent roles in central banks, governments, academia, and the financial sector.

    How will the IMF support me as an EP?

    As an EP, you will receive additional training and support along with oversight from a dedicated central team managing the program and senior economists in each EP department. You will also join with a cohort of other EPs. This group will provide an important network to build your knowledge and exposure within the IMF, both during the three-year program and beyond.

    Can I get feedback on my performance during the selection process?

    Feedback will not be provided while your selection process is ongoing. However, we try to respond to candidates as soon as we have made a final decision about their progression. Once your selection process is complete, you are welcome to seek feedback.