Ten years ago, when the Dean shook me by the hand and enquired about my plans post-graduation, it was with a certain degree of embarrassment that I admitted I still had no idea what I wanted to do. Two years of soul searching, career vision workshops and talking to every alumnus on the planet had left me with a gaping hole in my career plans. I still hadn’t found that true passion in life, something to make me get out of bed on a Monday morning.
As many of you know, this lack of comprehension led me to an elongated holiday in Bali, where I finally managed to learn to surf, and cultivated the sort of tan that I rarely got near in my previous working life. The money kept coming in, by hook or by crook, largely through the freelance consultancy that I could perform via the island’s ever improving telecommunications network. It seemed that my enjoyment for both marketing and finance did indeed lead to some income opportunities. However, I made sure that the workload was far from stressful.
It was in Bali that I met Jane, my wife, who turned out to be another MBA grad grappling for her own meaning in life. The two of us married and remained on the island for close to five years before the “Big Change.” It was on a fairly routine flight back to England that I had the fortune to sit next to the Senior Vice President of the International Olympic Committee. We discussed at great length the issues surrounding the upcoming Beijing Games, which as you will remember at the time were close to collapse. During the course of a 12-hour flight, the two of us chewed the fat on some of the key logistical and political issues, and I was astounded when he asked me to forward my resume. Within a matter of weeks, Jane and I found ourselves in China, and for the first time in a long time I truly relished the opportunity to work, as did Jane who also found herself a role in the IOC.
And it is with the IOC that we remain, and since the Games of 2016 are scheduled for Boston, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I find myself living in the Cambridge area once more. The role is challenging, yet lets me enjoy the free time to spend with my young boy twins, Thomas and Zac, who are now nearly four years old.
So as I look back on the last ten years, I am proud to say that I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, and that I didn’t follow the herd and rush headlong into banking. Life has been too good to worry about how much money I might have made.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the request of The Harbus, Neil was gracious to submit this article, which he originally wrote as an assignment in last term’s LEAD class.