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On-Campus Interview Series: Oliver "Ollie" Corlette, Star of the HBS Rugby Team and True Renaissance Man

It is hard to believe that Oliver “Ollie” Corlette once called one city and country his home. He grew up in Sydney, Australia, but over the past decade he has made the world his home. Some of his recent travels have taken him to Argentina, Barbados and China, just to do the ABC’s.

Before coming to HBS, Ollie lived and worked in New York, where, rumor has it, he was the man about town. Ollie says New York was the perfect city for him to live in with its diverse population and multifaceted cultural offerings. It is his interest in different cultures and world perspectives in combination with his passion for sports that has encouraged Ollie to travel the world. He has been spotted surfing in Brazil and Panama, skiing in Austria and Argentina, golfing in the Caribbean and horse-back riding in Mongolia.

At HBS, Ollie is an all-star athlete. He is the starting fly-half (the rugby equivalent of quarter back) of the HBS rugby team and is frequently seen serving his deadly ace on the tennis court.

When he is not indulging in sports, Ollie likes to discuss Russian literary classics over a glass of Malbec with his friends at restaurants in Boston’s South End.

Here is an opportunity for you to meet this star athlete and 21st-century Renaissance man.

FACT FILE
Name: Oliver “Ollie” Corlette
Section: OC
Nationality: Australian
Height: 6′ 1″ (“At least in stature”)
Weight: 155 lbs.
Eyes: “Blue or green, not sure”
Hair: Brown (“With little salt and pepper on top.”)
Marital Status: Single (Editor’s note: a great catch?!)
Favorite Foods: “Surf and turf” – Japanese sushi and steak from Argentina
Favorite Drinks: Capri-sake and Malbec wines
Favorite Film: Touching the Void
Favorite Band: AC/DC (“They are Aussie, you know.”)
Nicknames: Batman
How Acquired Nicknames: I used to collect Batman magazines

Harbus: What’s your involvement with sports at HBS?
Ollie:
I play rugby for the HBS rugby club, and I am involved with multiple other sports. I play tennis, surf, ski and golf. And, of course, I am a member of the dancing and yoga clubs.

Harbus: How do have time for so many sports?
Ollie:
HBS is all about a balanced education: a healthy mind is not possible without a healthy body and soul. Therefore, I make sure not to neglect my passion for sports, even when in an environment like HBS where time is the scarce resource.

Harbus: Would you say that you have a healthy body and soul?
Ollie:
I go through cycles of extremes, from very healthy to very unhealthy. So, on average, yes!

Harbus: What position do you play on the rugby team?
Ollie:
Currently I play fly-half, which is the quarter back of the rugby team. But, throughout my almost 20 years of playing rugby, I have tried most positions.

Harbus: How would you look at your first year of playing rugby at HBS?
Ollie:
It got off to a disappointing start with a hamstring injury. I played my first game with the team during the winter semester last year. It was not until the world MBA rugby championship at Duke that I hit my straps and got my game back. I am looking forward to another vintage season and hope that we can win the Duke tournament this year!

Harbus: When did you first get involved with sports?
Ollie:
I didn’t play rugby until I was a bit older. I started out as a soccer player. It was at the age of 10 that I developed a life enduring passion for the game they play in heaven.
(Editors note: I suppose he means rugby?)

Harbus: What is your best sporting moment on the field?
Ollie:
Winning the national high-school cricket championships in Australia. I was the leading wicket taker and highest run scorer.

Harbus: Amazing! And what is your worst sporting moment?
Ollie:
In the final of the Australian high-school swimming championships, in front of more than 2,000 spectators, I dove in and swam 20 meters under water only to realize on resurfacing that it was the free-style final-not breast stroke!-and that all other competitors were 20 yards ahead of me.

Harbus: What’s the biggest challenge of being involved with sports at HBS?
Ollie:
No challenges. Being involved with sports at HBS has been one of the best investments of my time here. I love meeting all the people who I wouldn’t have met in other parts of the university. I consider myself extremely lucky to have such great people to play sports with. I might have made more enduring friendships doing sports at HBS than during other, more intellectual pursuits.

Harbus: What do you do when you are not pursuing your passion for sports?
Ollie:
I read a lot and go for the occasional drink with my friends. I also love meeting new friends over good wine or a great meal.

Harbus: What do you read?
Ollie:
I just finished Sophocles “Antigone,” but my favorites are probably the 19th-century Russian writes, such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. I love “War and Peace”! I have also developed a new love for Latin languages, and I will both study Spanish this semester and read more South American authors. I really enjoy Gabriel Garcia Marques’s “magical realism” and Pablo Neruda’s poetry.

Harbus: We have also heard that you are quite the globetrotter?
Ollie:
I guess one of my real passions is exploring different cultures from my own; and I want to have a life of continuously refreshing my cultural sensibilities. This summer I spent time volunteering in Sri Lanka (tsunami relief); touring the Gobi dessert in Mongolia; enjoying the delights of the “Paris of the East” (Shanghai); acquainting myself with the sophisticated culture of Japan; skiing in Argentina with Pescarmona and the boys; surfing along the Atlantic coast of Brazil; and unwinding in the lap of luxury in Barbados with true Irish hospitality.

Harbus: Wow! That is quite extraordinary… what a summer!
Ollie:
Yes, it was really amazing. Especially all the wonderful people I met during my travels across the continents.

Harbus: Coming back to sports. What is your next athletic challenge?
Ollie:
Continuing to practice as many sports as I have had so far in the face of increasing other demands on my time. I want to take a year off after HBS to explore my sporting and cultural passions by traveling to destinations all over the world. For example, I am planning to spend at least four months in Argentina developing my polo game.

Harbus: Other life challenges ahead?
Ollie:
The greatest challenge is to enjoy every day. Life is a long journey. It is important not to be caught up in the avarice that a career after HBS can develop. Enjoy each and every day fully!

Harbus: Finally, do you have any advice for other HBS athletes out there?
Ollie:
Get in, have a go! Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy soul. The people you meet through sports at HBS will be life long friends without that dimension to your experience at HBS, you will not have fully reaped the benefits of this great institution.

Harbus: Great, thanks for your time.
Ollie:
Cheers mate!

September 19, 2005
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