Electrical engineer Olsen Garland has set a cracking pace in his first few months as a Menzies Scholar.
As part of the latest group of Menzies Scholars to arrive in the UK, Olsen has started his MBA at the London Business School (LBS) and says from orientation week on it has been nothing short of amazing.
Listening to lectures from some of the world's leading minds, playing his first game of Rugby, being appointed to the Board of the LBS Energy Club, not to mention hiking the Inca Trail as part of a world wind trip on the way to London; Olsen is powering into the next phase of his professional and personal life
"Over 90 per cent of the students have come from some 60 different countries, so we all feel as though we've made this change together and that we have responsibility for everyone to get the most of out of our short program.
"My study group consists of an Argentinian, Indian, Nigerian, Norwegian and a Londoner and in the lectures I sit next to a cancer researcher from Italy and a marketing manager for LEGO in China. It's really interesting hearing their different perspectives on the content that we're covering. Before coming to LBS, I had a fair idea about how diverse the students were and this was one of the reasons why I wanted to come. However, I am really surprised at how strong the sense of community is here", Olsen said.
"I have been impressed by the amount of personal or small group time I have had with experienced management coaches who have guided me to a better understanding of myself as a member of a diverse group. Another highlight of the pre-term was having the previous Dean of LBS, Sir Andrew Likierman, discuss the ethics with applying accountancy principles in an ethical manner. Sir Andrew is a world leader in this field, having been a member on a number of boards and contributing heavily to the Cadbury Report that established corporate governance procedures in the UK which then spread across Europe, the US and the OECD."
Olsen and his classmates are now undertaking the core courses (accounting, finance, economics and strategy) that will form the basis for more directed learning in coming terms.
"Being in the centre of London - a world economic hub - gives the school access to some of the most successful business people and thought leaders in their fields, which gives us insights into the latest in the business world."
Outside of classes, the LBS students run 70 professional, sporting, and hobby groups. "It's really good to meet like-minded class mates. I have been appointed to the board of the Energy Club as an editor for their online site, Plugged In, so look for my articles in the coming months.
"I have also joined the Rugby club and played my first ever game yesterday! In addition, there has been a trek to another country every weekend since I started."
Before he started at LBS, Olsen was lucky enough to travel to some amazing parts of the world with his fiance, Laura Wells. "We left home on January 4 and in that time have visited Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, USA, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Ireland before settling in London. It's pretty hard to choose the highlights!
Olsen Garland was awarded the 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Engineering for his outstanding academic record, including the 2013 University Medal from the University of Newcastle, and his contribution to community. He plans to help bring cheaper, more efficient, zero-emission electricity to markets at home and abroad by combining business nous with his electrical engineering skills. Read more about that here. The scholarship is valued at up to $75,000 and will help him complete his MBA at the London Business School.
Olsen (third from the left) with his study group ready to tackle some team building challenges.
Olsen on the stunning front lawn of the main LBS campus just off Regent's Park.
The newest LBS campus, the Sammy Ofer Centre, the Old Marylebone Town Hall, which opened in September.
Olsen diving off the Galapagos Islands