Wilhelm Irwe


I am 28 years old, from Sweden. I completed my bachelor’s degree in political science with economics at Uppsala University in 2014. I also have a master’s degree in international relations and sustainable development.

Wilhelm Irwe
Wilhelm Irwe

I work in the climate change group at the World Bank in Washington D.C. One of my key responsibilities is to oversee the climate program in one of the World Banks many trust funds. In short, this means that I review and provide suggestions on incoming proposals for financing, and work to strengthen climate aspects in the project proposals. I then go on to recommend strong applications for financing to the trust fund management team. Recently approved proposals include a project to strengthen the resilience to prolonged periods of droughts for national parks in Tanzania, and a study to explore the potential for climate risk insurances to small-scale farmers in Nepal.  

This work is part of the World Banks ambition to mainstream climate change into all its operational activities.

What was your first job after graduation?

This was my first job after my master’s degree.

To what extent is what you learned during your studies in economics at Uppsala University applicable in your current job?

My master’s degree was not that heavy on quantitative methods, so I relied a lot on my economics coursework from Uppsala when working on my master’s thesis where I did a quantitative analysis of the role of ODA in strengthening developing countries resilience to climate change. My thesis played a key role in landing my current job so the courses I took in Uppsala have undeniably had a profound impact on my career thus far.  

Why did you choose to study economics at Uppsala University?

I studied political science but after the mandatory course in economics, I decided to continue with economics instead of political science. I am not sure why I decided to change but it’s certainly nothing I regret.

What is your best memory from your time at Uppsala University?

I had three great years in Uppsala so singling out one memory is very tough. Two memorable experiences during my years at Uppsala University include my semester abroad in South Africa and doing an internship in New York.

What advice would you give to current and future students of economics?

I think the answer will vary a lot depending on what you want to do with your degree in economics. If you, like me, want to work internationally I would suggest making use of Uppsala University’s well-established partnerships with other universities and try to do an MFS or internship abroad.

I also think it is important to have fun and to enjoy the time you have as a student. Skills in econometrics and statistics are high in demand on the job market so there is no need to worry too much about the future.