Aneeka Rahman graduated from the IB Diploma Programme (DP) at the George School in Pennsylvania, USA, and continued her studies at the University of London, UK. She is now a senior social protection economist at the World Bank based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Why did you originally decide to pursue an IB diploma?
Having grown up in various countries under multiple systems of education, when I started high school in the US, I knew I wanted to keep my options open in terms of where I chose to pursue my undergraduate studies. Ultimately, I returned to the UK, where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies in Development Economics and Environmental Economics at the University of London. The IB is held in high regard in the UK and was critical for my entrance into British universities, which do not recognize the US high school diploma, and I was fortunate in having made the right decision to be part of the Diploma Programme.
“So much of what we retain in later years is traced back not to what was important for an exam, but how we were taught by our teachers.”
Which of your IB teachers inspired you most?
At my high school, students following the DP were not exclusively separated (other than for specific courses) and most of our classes were together with students who would be taking Advanced Placement exams. This was a good system, there were few IB students and being integrated with students following other programmes allowed us to learn much more from each other. The classes were rigorous, but the teachers were fantastic and made learning fun. Maths, history and biochemistry were among my favourites. So much of what we retain in later years is traced back not to what was important for an exam, but how we were taught by our teachers.
“Grades are important to move you onwards and upwards, but after a certain stage, they no longer matter — what will stay with you are those things that you enjoyed: friendships, laughter and knowledge.”
How did you reach where you are today and what advice do you have for current students?
I work as a Senior Social Protection Economist at the World Bank and am currently based in Bangladesh. My work is largely focused on strengthening government systems and institutions to reach out to and better the lives of the poorest. I’m sure most of my advice will be lost on current students — but if there’s any valuable guidance I can offer, it would be to enjoy learning for its own sake. Grades are important to move you onwards and upwards, but after a certain stage, they no longer matter — what will stay with you are those things that you enjoyed: friendships, laughter and knowledge. The rest works itself out!