Esther Varkay, Architect - Project Manager | IFC (International Finance Corporation)

Esther Varkay

About IFC:

"IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. 

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, advances economic development and improves the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries. 

We achieve this by creating new markets, mobilizing other investors, and sharing expertise. In doing so, we create jobs and raise living standards, especially for the poor and vulnerable. Our work supports the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity."

 

Esther Varkay is an alumna of our Advanced Management Development Program who recently returned to the GSD for Building Future Cities: How to Go Net-Zero by 2030. We caught up with her to discuss her experience in both programs:

 

You completed the Advanced Management Development Program in 2007. Thinking back, what stands out from that experience?

It was a very good experience, looking back. What stands out is the connection I made with the other student participants, people from different professional backgrounds and interests, a very good mix of international and US based cohort. Having a program where people came together from such diverse countries gave me a perspective on issues that I found useful to this day.

 

Can you think of an example of how the AMDP has impacted your work?

Within the last few years, I ran a very complex project for the World Bank in Africa, for which the AMDP equipped me with a different type of knowledge base.

 

You recently returned to the GSD and took Building Future Cities: How to Go Net-Zero by 2030 with us. What did you enjoy about the program? And how has it contributed to your outlook on global issues?

Given the urgency of climate change, the timing of the program contributed to my thinking on how to target my response within my field of work. The speakers having a variety and rich backgrounds, from Mathis, putting it together from the private sector side, Kari, working with cities to implement sustainability plans, to Joel and his work with digital twins of entire cities. The digital twins are especially a key component of how lay people can visualize the issues at hand and find solutions to the challenging issues facing cities.

 

The variety of participants in the program, from different backgrounds and age groups, allowed to me to hear the frustrations and challenges they face in different parts of the world, and the relevant constructive thoughts put forward.