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Interview with a Successful UN YPP Candidate: Tips from a Top-Tier Professional

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Interview with a Successful UN YPP Candidate: Tips from a Top-Tier Professional

May 3, 2023

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Welcome to the first part of our special series of interviews with professionals who have applied for the prestigious United Nations Young Professionals Program! To preserve her confidentiality due to contract restrictions, our interviewee has chosen to use the codename “Lee.”

In this interview, Lee, who was raised in Shangai, shares her experiences and insights on how OpenIGO has helped in her career journey. She provides valuable advice from her own perspective to those seeking an international career.

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has prepared a comprehensive eBook and support and guidance services with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in this competitive process.

Discover our UN YPP – Products & Services


Lee is a young professional with a background in finance and a master’s degree in energy. Join us as we explore her valuable insights and experiences.

1. Can you tell us about your background and experience?

I was born in Shanghai and later moved to Dubai with my parents, who work in the power sector. I saw for myself the consequences of rapid economic development and the resulting increase in energy demand. It became clear to me that this progress was not evenly distributed, and some people benefitted more than others, which only made existing social and economic disparities worse. Moreover, this kind of progress also contributed to climate change, which poses a real threat to the planet and everyone who lives on it. These experiences have motivated me to work towards finding more sustainable and equitable solutions.

My educational journey has taken me to different parts of the world. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting in Sydney, and worked at an Oil & Gas company in Singapore. During my work, I supported the analysis of a natural gas exploration project, which allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the energy industry.

So, I have developed a mix of skills and cultural adaptability that made me a strong candidate for the UNYPP. My understanding of finance and business, combined with my knowledge of the current needs regarding promoting sustainable development, sets me apart.

2. How did you know about the United Nations YPP selection process?

I first learned about the United Nations YPP selection process in 2020, while researching career opportunities in the international development field. During my research, I came across the YPP program and was immediately drawn to its reputation as a prestigious and competitive program that attracts talented professionals from all over the world.

When I saw that they were offering vacancies for the Management and Administration Network (MAGNET), I knew it was the perfect fit for my background and expertise, and decided to apply.

3. Why did you apply for the UN YPP?

I applied for the United Nations YPP because I believe that working for the United Nations presents a unique opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the world. As someone who is deeply committed to promoting sustainable development and social justice, I am drawn to the UN’s mission of creating a more equitable and peaceful world for all.

The YPP program in particular appealed to me because it offers a chance to gain hands-on experience working on a variety of projects and initiatives across different UN agencies. I am excited about the prospect of being able to contribute my skills and knowledge to important issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, and gender equality.

Moreover, the YPP program provides a supportive and diverse learning environment, where I can connect with like-minded individuals from all over the world and learn from experienced professionals in the field. Overall, I see the YPP program as a launching pad for a fulfilling career in international development, and I am eager to take on this challenge and make a positive impact through my work at the UN.

4. What were the main challenges of applying for the UN YPP and how did you find OpenIGO’s services?

“One of the biggest challenges that I faced was understanding the UN’s complex hiring procedures, including their terminology and specific requirements. This is where OpenIGO’s services proved to be invaluable.”

The main challenges of applying for the UN YPP are numerous and can be quite daunting for many candidates. One of the biggest challenges for me was navigating the complex selection process, which involves a rigorous set of written assessments, as well as a panel interview. The competition is also extremely tough, as the YPP attracts thousands of talented professionals from all over the world, each with their own unique set of skills and experiences.

However, one of the biggest challenges that I faced was understanding the UN’s complex hiring procedures, including their terminology and specific requirements. This is where OpenIGO’s services proved to be invaluable. They provide a really complete manual on the UN YPP selection process, guiding you through every stage. I found their materials on the written assessment and oral interview particularly helpful, as they gave me a better idea of what to expect and how to present myself in the best possible light.

Additionally, OpenIGO’s services provided me with access to a community of experienced professionals and mentors, who were able to provide valuable advice and support throughout the application process. Their feedback and insights helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and to better tailor my application to the specific requirements of the YPP.

Overall, I would highly recommend OpenIGO’s services to anyone considering applying for the UN YPP. They offer an excellent range of resources and support services that can make a significant difference in the success of your application. 


Interested in the UN YPP eBook? Download a free sample to get a taste of its quality!

UN YPP Guide: Sample Download

5. How far did you get in the UN YPP selection process?

“I am thrilled to share that I have been placed on the roster for UNYPP!”

I am thrilled to share that I have been placed on the roster for UNYPP! This is an incredible opportunity that I have been working towards for some time, and I could not have done it without the priceless support of OpenIGO. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been a part of my journey, especially the interviewer who conducted the mock interview with me.

Your guidance and expertise have been instrumental in helping me succeed, and I am grateful for all the time and effort you have invested in my professional development.

6. What recommendations do you have for someone who is applying for the 2023 UN YPP?

Great question! Based on my experience, I would recommend starting early and being well-prepared. The YPP selection process is highly competitive, so it’s essential to research the program, understand the requirements, and prepare your application thoroughly.

Developing relevant skills and experience is also crucial. The UN values candidates who possess a diverse range of skills and experience, so it’s essential to focus on developing expertise in areas that align with the program’s needs. This could include sustainable development, policy analysis, project management, and research.

Finally, building relationships with UN professionals can provide valuable insights into the program’s selection process and give you an edge over other candidates. It’s a good idea to reach out to alumni or current UN staff members to learn more about their experiences and get their advice on how to prepare for the YPP. OpenIGO can also help with this, as they have an extensive network of coaches who are former staff members or consultants at the UN.


Do you want to become the next UN’s Young Professional? We can help you as we did with Lee!

OpenIGO is an extensive network composed of former young professionals, professors and researchers from the best universities in the world, international civil servants and Human Resources specialists.

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