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Valentin, International Development

Valentin Messmer has graduated in International Development. German/Swiss, Valentin did a dual degree with the Stockholm School of Economics. He is Public Sector Analyst at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. 

What is your role and main responsibilities? 

My role as a Public Sector Analyst in the EIB’s Sub-Saharan Africa team is to identify, appraise and manage projects in the public sector. I focus mostly on Kenya, where I work closely with the EU Delegation in Nairobi and Kenyan government agencies on projects that support local development objectives. My team is part of the Operations Department, which gives us the role of project managers that coordinate the work between the different other departments in the EIB such as our technical and legal experts, risk management, and compliance. As the front office of the bank, we are also frequent contact with our partners in the European Commission, EU Delegations, local government authorities and other development agencies.

How did you secure this role? 

I applied for this position during the final semester of my master studies through the EIB online portal. Because of the pandemic it took 6 months between my application and my start date. Previously, I interned in the private sector, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). I believe that the last two internship were the most crucial pieces in securing my current position as it demonstrated my motivation to work in the development sector. It also gave me already a good idea how the sector works, both from the perspective of both an implementing agency and a development bank.

What is the most fascinating and/or surprising aspect at your role?

The most fascinating part of my job is that I am constantly looking on the big picture while also acquiring a lot of knowledge in different sub-sectors such as water, housing and transport. I’m positively surprised and grateful for the amount of responsibility I have been given after just one year in the job with several projects being now under my responsibility.

How did your PSIA experience help you with the role? 

I consider my time at PSIA as crucially defining as it made me realize the amount of passion I have to work on development issues. Learning from established practitioners and studying with hundreds of idealistic, intelligent students inspired me to change my career path from private sector to development. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I never looked back. The highly divers student body also showed my how enriching and how much fun it is to work with people from all around the world.

What advice would you give to others? 

My first advice to others is to start thinking earlier about what your goals are and how to achieve them. There is usually more than one way, but it’s a highly competitive field and none of them is easy. Experience is the most valuable currency, even if it’s just an internship. Second, be patient and resilient. The amount of rejections in your inbox will always outnumber the amount of acceptances but if you keep going, great things are possible.

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