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Anton Oliver

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BPhEd, BCom (Otago), MSc (Oxford), MBA (Cambridge)

Subject: Physical Education

The discipline and resolve it took to complete two degrees at the University of Otago while travelling around the world as an All Black has stood Anton Oliver in good stead with employers.

“I think that has been instructive to employers that I'm no quitter and once I set my sights on something then nothing will get in the way of me completing that.”

Anton, formerly All Black captain and now Head of Equities Business Management, M&G Investments, in London, graduated from Otago with a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Bachelor of Commerce.

After he retired from rugby he went on to read for a Master’s in Science at the University of Oxford, and an Executive Master of Business Administration at the University of Cambridge.

He came to Otago to study first year health science, with a plan to figure out what to do next once he’d learned more. He also liked the way the Otago Rugby team played, and thought if he was good enough he’d like to play for them one day, he recalls, dryly.

University was a big change for a young man from Blenheim. “Kicked out of the nest and sent down south to fend for myself, Dunedin and student life were a new kind of freedom and autonomy that I'd never experienced before, and the friendships I made that first year have proven to be the most enduring in my life.”

“I have so many treasured memories from Otago that will stay with me forever. After I completed my second degree I stayed on to play footy so all up I was in Dunedin for thirteen years, and while each of those years carry special memories for different reasons, the very first year - when I was doing my time as a fresher - still counts as one of the most formative and profound years of learning and growth in my life.”

Anton says no other University in New Zealand has a geographic footprint like the campus at Otago, where one area is so heavily populated with students “and that area is completely enmeshed with the campus like hand in glove”.

When asked what Only Otago means to him, Anton says: “Otago is the place where I grew up from a boy to a man. It was where I first experienced great successes and great failures on a very public stage and had to learn how to handle these moments in life.”

And Otago remains his home away from home. “As I got older - and got a car! - I started to explore the peninsulas, beaches and surrounding natural features that Dunedin is blessed with and ended up buying a small cottage in Central Otago which I still own. It is my spiritual earthing rod: it's grounded me in a metaphysical way that's been invaluable as I've lived overseas these last few years.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Physical Education and the Bachelor of Commerce

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