Still, Malala, who has shown remarkable poise for a teen who was thrust into the international spotlight after she was shot in the head by members of the Taliban for advocating for girls' education, was gracious in defeat.
"If we just forget about the decision that was taken about the Nobel Peace Prize, I think people gave me their prize," Malala, 16, told PBS Newshour, in an interview that will air Friday night.
"They nominated me," she said. "And that is the great prize for me. If I get an award, if I get a paper, it does not matter, because when I look at the prayers of people and their support and how much they love me, I think that is the biggest prize that I have ever received."
"And then I have a prize in my mind that -- for which I’ll struggle, for which I’ll do the campaign, and it is the prize that is the award to see every child to go to school," she said. "And I’ll serve my whole life for that, for that is the prize that I want to get in my life."
"And I think Nobel Peace Prize committee -- if they take a decision, I think they would have a criteria, and they will sit together; they will take a decision. The decision they have taken is a right decision because I need to work a lot."
Speaking at the World Bank Friday afternoon, Malala said she's proud of her work so far, but she wants to "deserve" the Nobel is she ever wins it.
Instead, she has a more concrete goal.
"I want to become prime minister of Pakistan," she said. "Because through politics I can serve my whole country. I can be the doctor of my whole country."
Caroline Berg Eriksen: Soccer player's wife triggers debate with post-birth selfie
Theater accidentally screens 'Nymphomaniac' trailer instead of Disney's 'Frozen'