IMF Reviews

Updated October 4, 2014
Updated October 4, 2014
84 Reviews
3.8
84 Reviews
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IMF Chairman and Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde
47 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • And work-life balance is much better than Wall Street; 40 hours a week is typical (in 8 reviews)

  • Good pay and benefits, travel with many jobs, intellectual stimulation (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • No career mobility, terrible work life balance and the starting compensation is paltry (in 4 reviews)

  • Staff are overqualified for what they do and very low turnover, so opportunities for career development and advancement are very limited (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Access to decent Professional development trainings

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, transportation perks, international culture, and training opportunities

    Cons

    Contractual based, staff positions are limited. No much vertical movement.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Great

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at IMF

    Pros

    Good experience in term of international finance

    Cons

    I dont see any cons, it was a good experience

  3.  

    Field Office IT Coordinator- Contractor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Field Office Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Field Office Coordinator in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Pay is pretty competitive for the same opportunity in other companies

    Cons

    Little mobility within the company, Contractors are not treated as well as staff

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great group of highly educated international employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Back Office Role in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Back Office Role in Washington, DC

    I worked at IMF full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Loved the multi-cultural aspects of the workplace. Great pay and benefits by US standards are routine by western European standards

    Cons

    Fake deadlines and too much redoing of otehr people's work for those not dealing with economic crises in member countries, and often even in those circumstances there is a great deal of unnecessary flurrying around

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maintaining respect for the organization's role is paramount.. Staff need to understand and demonstrate their understanding of political realities of member countries, e.g., concessions requested of finance minister may not be possible without legislative involvement and assent. That can be very difficult to achieve

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great place to start but once you plateau, not much will change (for better or worse)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The IMF is a great name to have if you're interested in economics or macro. There may be no better place to learn the basics in an academic type multilateral environment; if that's what sounds appealing to you, look no further. However, with a BA, you'll probably end up leaving for grad school or somewhere else. If you enter with an MA, you'll eventually have to leave too for somewhere else. There are no long-term career options in my opinion. They basically kick you out after 4 years being a Research Analyst.

    The job takes 4-8 months to get used to (semi-steep learning curve) but once you're there it's fairly easy day-to-day. Economists are nice. Bosses are reasonable. No major demands, no overtime (for me). Boring infrequent social events. Can start working 9-10AM and leave around 5-6. No opportunity for travel (to go on missions) in my department, although others are better. You get some research experience/exposure, but I doubt they'll publish your name as an author unless you're really good and have been there a while. They'll probably thank you in a footnote or something.

    People in DC are impressed when you tell them you work here. It also offers flexibility in terms of how you can sell yourself for the next position: i.e., you can make convincing pitch for "I'm a quant guy", "I can do macro/econ" "I'm great in multilateral environment" "I'm meant to work in government" "My skills are relevant to Wall Street/private sector" "I'm a development professional" etc. You can really pivot in a lot of ways in your next interview, and sell the IMF experience however you want.

    Work is fairly independent. Things are done on teams in theory but really everyone works on their own on a minute by minute basis. Great opportunities for macro/econ/IT/statistical/econometric trainings for free. World class lectures on hardcore econ stuff.

    Cons

    No long term career path, but hey I don't want to stay in DC anyway so not really complaining. Plus you should probably have a PhD or lots of work experience before you get hired as an economist. So don't expect this to happen after being a research analyst for 2-4 years although it is possible (and some people make the jump but they're very good).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your economists on the countries they work on (politics, history, etc., not just econ). They often seem to see the countries as economic black boxes. The gap in knowledge seems to be significant in some cases, and you have to wonder whether they're able to make great policy decisions without it. (Although I suppose the low level economists are not calling the shots.)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    very smart, diverse people, interesting work, but also very bureaucratic and risk-averse, top-down, hierarchical culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits, travel with many jobs, intellectual stimulation

    Cons

    Differential employment contracts create resentment among staff who do not have tenure.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The top-down hierarchical structure stifles creativity. Let your talented people experiment with new ways to solve problems!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Excellent place for economists

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a great place for macroeconomists to work; maybe the best, in fact. You will work with incredibly smart colleagues. It is a very collaborative environment. You get to influence the international macroeconomic policy debate. There is a lot of travel involved if that is your thing, or you can choose positions where not much travel is required. Thanks to its being a UN agency that has been run by Europeans, the expat benefits are excellent--tax-free salaries (NB: if you are a US citizen your pay is topped up so your after-tax income is the same as your colleagues; effectively the IMF pays your tax for you); education benefits (75% of tuition is covered, up to $24T per child); you can bring a nanny; generous leave (25-30 days a year plus holidays); maternity and paternity leave; it has fully-funded defined benefit pension (you can hardly find this anymore!). Job security is excellent; they effectively hire for life (downsides to this, see cons below). And work-life balance is much better than Wall Street; 40 hours a week is typical.

    Cons

    As an international organization, it is prone to bureaucracy, although one consolation is that it is better-run than the World Bank across the street. It is a pretty flat organization so promotions tend to be slow; you should derive your satisfaction not from moving up, but from the variety of assignments available. No one gets fired, which is good for job security but it also means that poor performers are shuffled from one department to another instead of being fired.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    While the IMF is a great place to work, its compensation and benefits package vis-a-vis academia and the private sector has been eroded over the past few years. If management wants to be able to attract and retain good economists, it should restore the competitiveness of its compensation and benefits package. Just as important, it should do more to differentiate compensation based on performance, rewarding good performers properly. Finally, it should make employment more flexible so it can get rid of poor performers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Experience at the IMF

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant (RAP) in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant (RAP) in Washington, DC

    I worked at IMF full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work life balance, opportunities for growth, and desirable compensation

    Cons

    i cant think of anything at the moment

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Competitive Salary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good experience to place on resume. Multicultural, working with people with good connections, good work environment.
    Good exposure to international macroeconomic issues, a lot of learning events.
    The benefits (when you get them) are great! No income tax.

    Cons

    Not enough opportunities for younger staff to advance and gain meaningful experience. Can take years to earn a permanent position. The slim chance of becoming staff from a contractor position.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop drinking coffee.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work rich in cultural diversity.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at IMF full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Respect of colleagues. Exposure to leading edge technologies. Ability to work remotely. Flexible work schedules. Good work ethics.

    Cons

    Under staffed. Work load is extremely high. Salaries could be more competitive. Relationship with vendors could improve. Appearance of a cast system could be eliminated. Reward high performing people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    work on being more transparent and apply policies uniformly. improve collaboration across divisions

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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