Asian Development Bank (ADB) internship programs for PhD and Postgraduate students


Have you enrolled for a Master's Degree or a PhD program and looking for an internship in an organization of international repute? Asian Development Bank is offering 17 internship programs in various divisions in their headquarters and 3 of their Resident Missions. This article has the details of the Divisions, eligibility criteria, advantages of these programs, application procedure and all other relevant information

About ADB

The vision of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a prosperous Asia and the Pacific with inclusive growth in all parts of the region. The region still has a huge number of poor people and to eliminate poverty, ADB provides financial, technical and all other necessary assistance to its member nations and partners so that they can develop in all aspects. Presently, ADB has 68 members. 49 members are from Asia and the Pacific and the rest 19 members are from outside. Through various development-oriented policies, expert advice and assisting in terms of economic needs it channelizes its resources in the required dimension.

ADB's nature of work

The work of ADB is spread into various sectors in 40 countries and depending upon the need of people around the countries they take up new projects that reach every underdeveloped corner. A brief overview of the sectors ADB works in is provided here and depending upon the requirement they offer internships in different projects under multiple sectors.

Energy: With the rising demand of energy, around 200 million and 1.7 billion people are projected to be living without electricity and clean cooking facilities respectively by 2030 and ADB is working in that direction to provide access to a clean source of energy to all. BLEN fuels (Biogas, Liquefied petroleum gas, Electricity, and Natural gas) are considered the clean sources of energy and these should reach every home to reduce pollution to a great extent.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): The growth of all the regions heavily depend on ICT and the more robust the ICT the more is the development. The development is not uniform in the entire region because ICT is not channelized properly to boost growth. By increasing the skills and field of application of ICT, ADB aims to include ICT to boost development.

Transport: The growth of any region depends on how efficiently the transport facilities work. The transport systems must be affordable to all, pollution-free and safe. Initiating new projects to expand the transport network of the regions will help to interconnect various parts which will further help in terms of business and movement of people.

Urban Development: The vision of ADB is "Livable Cities" that helps to make cities a better place to live in than the present ones. Many of the cities in Asia and the Pacific are overcrowded and do not have adequate amenities. The pollution is on the rise and all these things have to be taken care of on an urgent basis according to the complexity of the situation.

Water: It is the lifeline and most valuable resource on earth which is under severe threat. Water is misused and polluted in the region. ADB is working on that front with a vision of "Water for All".
Agriculture and Food Security: A large section of people living in hunger in this world is from Asia and the Pacific. The rise in the prices of food and the increasing population in the region is a major challenge that needs proper storage, marketing and distribution of food to all.

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: The climate is changing rapidly because of various contributing factors and it has given rise to severe storms, floods, droughts and rise in sea level. The marginalised section is more affected by this change and to protect them ADB is financing many projects to minimise the effect of climate change in the region.

Education: Education must reach all corners to have an inclusive growth in the region and though the rate of enrolment in primary education has increased a lot, more needs to be done in that area. ADB is providing loans to its member countries so that quality education can be provided to all.

Environment: The cities in Asia and the Pacific are developing rapidly and so is the change in the climate. There is a threat to the ecosystems, biodiversity cannot be protected which ultimately will increase natural disasters everywhere. ADB is planning strategies and helping the nations in the regions to reduce the impact.

Finance Sector: The growth of a region depends heavily on its financial strength. By initiating many reforms like developing small and medium enterprises, microfinance, etc ADB is supporting the nations in the region.

Gender and Development: Gender equality is essential for inclusive development of Asia and the Pacific and the equal participation of male and female is a must to develop society. ADB is constantly working on that front and undertaking various projects in the region.

Governance and Public Management: For the development of any region, the governance has to be good and without it, the development will not reach to intended sections of society. ADB is a promoter of good governance so that no region lags in terms of development.

Health: A good health and wellness for all are essential for development and health infrastructure of the region has to be increased through leveraging technology and increase in partnership-based projects so that facilities can reach the poor and needy.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): The advisory teams of ADB negotiate with various private and public entities to undertake key projects on PPP mode to spread development in different sectors in the region.

Regional Cooperation and Integration: The overall growth of the region can be achieved efficiently through the integration of trade, supply chain, improving infrastructure at the borders to facilitate movement, etc and promotion of all these activities is taken up by ADB.

Social Development and Poverty: Though the living standards of people in the region have improved over the years, more needs to be done so that it reaches the sectors that are yet to see true development. The poor and marginalized do not have proper access to even the basic services and ADB is working on different projects to increase social development and to uplift their economic conditions.

Sustainable Development Goals: The goals are not so many but a huge work has to be done to eradicate poverty, maintain peace all across the regions and to protect the entire planet from the natural disasters, climate change etc. With active support from ADB, the goals have to be achieved in the region.

About the internship program

The internship program offered by ADB helps students to gather huge experiences by taking part in assignments that require a lot of research work in various areas. Interns get a chance to associate with professionals from more than 50 countries having varied experience. They get the opportunity to introspect the impact of the work of ADB in the region. The talented individuals joining the internship program are impacted by associating with the developmental work of ADB which gives them the impetus to excel in the professional field. This internship program helps ADB to discover the talent required for future engagement in their workforce.

Available Internship Programs and its location

Currently, the internship program is available in the following Divisions of ADB. The location of the internship of each program is provided within parentheses.
  1. Education SG, SDSC (ADB Headquarters)
  2. Unit for Non-sovereign Operations (ADB Headquarters)
  3. NGO and Civil Society Center (ADB Headquarters)
  4. Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division, CWRD (ADB Headquarters)
  5. Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD (ADB Headquarters)
  6. Infrastructure Finance Division 1 (ADB Headquarters)
  7. Thematic and Country Division (ADB Headquarters)
  8. Portfolio, Results, and Quality Control Unit, PARD (ADB Headquarters)
  9. Urban Development and Water Division, SARD (ADB Headquarters)
  10. Water SG, SDSC (ADB Headquarters)
  11. Digital Innovation and Architecture Division (ADB Headquarters)
  12. Office of the Chief Economist and Director General, ERCD (ADB Headquarters)
  13. Sustainable Infrastructure Division, EARD (ADB Headquarters)
  14. Human and Social Development Division, SARD (ADB Headquarters)
  15. Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division, SERD (Cambodia Resident Mission)
  16. Thailand Resident Mission (Thailand Resident Mission)
  17. Viet Nam Resident Mission (Viet Nam Resident Mission)


Eligibility to apply

  • The applicant must be a resident of one of the member nations of ADB. India is one of the prominent members of ADB since 1966
  • The applicant must sign up for the PhD or Master's degree program, before and after the internship assignment, from an institute of the member nations of ADB
  • The applicant should also be associated academically with a domain that has a direct relation with the works carried out by ADB
  • The applicant must be proficient in English and have relevant work experience related to the assignment


The academic qualification required for each Division of the internship program is given below.
  1. Education SG, SDSC - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in social sciences, engineering or development economics
  2. Unit for Nonsovereign Operations - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in finance, business, economics, or law
  3. NGO and Civil Society Center - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in a domain similar to social development. The applicant must possess an undergraduate degree in Social Science or have experience in a field which is oriented to development work
  4. Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division, CWRD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in public management, finance, trade and economics
  5. Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in urban planning, urban design, landscape design, architecture or in a related domain
  6. Infrastructure Finance Division 1 -The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in accounting, business, economics, finance or management
  7. Thematic and Country Division - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in statistics, data science, economics, finance, business administration, communications, marketing or related domain
  8. Portfolio, Results, and Quality Control Unit, PARD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in Economics, Engineering, Finance or related domain
  9. Urban Development and Water Division, SARD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in Social Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Education, Regional Development, Community Development, Tourism Development or related domain
  10. Water SG, SDSC - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Health, Development Economics and/or Policy Studies, Health Sciences, Economics or in other related domain
  11. Digital Innovation and Architecture Division - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in business administration or data science and must complete the Bachelor's Degree program in computer science, mathematics, or engineering
  12. Office of the Chief Economist and Director General, ERCD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in industrial organization, econometrics or data science and must complete a Bachelor's Degree program in Economics
  13. Sustainable Infrastructure Division, EARD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in Transport Planning, Road Safety, Traffic Engineering, Civil Engineering or related domain and must have a B.E/B.Tech in Civil Engineering
  14. Human and Social Development Division, SARD - The applicant must sign up, before and after the internship assignment, for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in public health that centres around global health systems across the developing countries. The applicant should also be associated academically with a domain that has a direct relation with the works carried out by ADB
  15. Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division, SERD - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in finance, economic or financial management of the public and private sector and should possess a Bachelor's Degree related to the domain of finance
  16. Thailand Resident Mission - The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in social sciences, economics, development studies, or gender studies
  17. Viet Nam Resident Mission- The applicant must sign up for either a PhD program or a Master's degree program in economics, urban/rural planning, development studies, or in a related domain


Advantages of these internship programs

ADB works in various areas and undertakes projects whose main intention is to develop the region. The main advantage of doing the internship programs in ADB is getting the opportunity to associate with the workforce of an organisation of international repute that focuses on development. Interns get an exposure to various sectors in Asia and Pacific and also interact with professionals around the globe which helps in broaden the view about the functionalities of organizations around the world. Interacting with new people in the professional field is always an advantage in terms of getting employment in reputed organizations and for young and talented interns this opportunity always works in their favour. The research they carry out on their subject of interest helps to analyze the need of various people from many aspects which is not possible in an ordinary organization or even in a country where the exposure is limited to only a particular space or within the boundary of a country. They learn the collaborative approach to carry out projects and also do a lot of research work which helps them to advance their career in their area of interest. These internship programs are also an opportunity for the interns to get noticed by ADB to recruit them in future depending on their performance during the programs.

Duration of internship

The minimum duration of all the internship programs is 8 Weeks which may be extended up to 6 Months.

Important dates

In 2020, application to the internship programs can be submitted in 2 batches.
  1. The period to apply for the 1st batch is from 1st August 2020 to 30th September 2020 and the internship program for the 1st batch will start from January 2021
  2. The period to apply for the 2nd batch is from 1st December 2020 to 31st January 2021 and the internship program for the 2nd batch will start from June 2021


Application and selection procedure

  • Applicants need to go to ADB Career and Employment System (ACES) to apply for the internship programs
  • According to the interests of the applicants, they need to choose the assignments announced there
  • The required documents along with the CV and essay should be uploaded to the ACES site
  • Applications must be submitted within the mentioned period beyond which application will be rejected
  • The applications are evaluated according to the eligibility requirements of the internship program, professional experience, interest of the candidate to carry out the development work
  • A balance in nationality, gender and institutional representation is taken into account to select the interns


Important points

  • A stipend is paid to the interns for 56 days. If interns work beyond that period, no stipend will be paid to them for that period
  • Close relatives of the employees of ADB cannot apply for the internship programs
  • Selected interns should arrange for the cost of transport, accommodation and food along with a portion of the airfare. ADB covers a part of the airfare
  • The interns need to have insurance coverage during the entire internship period and the cost of the insurance has to be borne by the intern
  • For internship programs in the headquarters of ADB, the interns must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months until the completion of the internship program
  • If the interns require an entry-visa to Manila, the ADB will forward a request to the Philippine Embassy in the nation of origin of the intern and the intern has to apply for the visa
  • Former interns of ADB cannot do an internship for the second time


Contact information

Asian Development Bank
Address of Headquarters: 6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone: +63 2 8632 4444
Website: https://www.adb.org/


Article by Sankalan Bhattacharya
Sankalan "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

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