Justin Oliver ‘12’s desire to try new things and venture into the unknown was nurtured by his time at Greenwood. The school’s flexibility and accommodating environment motivated him academically. He never felt restricted from pursuing subjects that interested him; in his time at the school, Justin took several art courses alongside a full suite of science and math classes and extracurricular activities. While he has always been a very quantitative and analytical person, he appreciated the ability to explore his artistic side while at Greenwood.
“The school definitely trusted us to be leaders,” says Justin. “That vote of confidence in our ability helps us believe in ourselves.” That perfect mixture of independence and support from Greenwood gave Justin the opportunity to take on many leadership roles. Whether it was being the Head Ambassador, editing the school newspaper, participating in Hockey HEROS or organizing an inter-school talent show
for charity, Justin’s Greenwood experiences developed his leadership qualities and confidence to tackle new challenges.
After graduating, Justin took the leap to study at Harvard University in Boston. He applied with support and encouragement from Greenwood staff. After he received his acceptance letter, Justin said, “I was lucky enough to get into a school that I was really excited to go to.”
Part of what excited him about attending Harvard, as opposed to a Canadian university, was the ability to explore his interests before he declared Applied Math as his specialization in sophomore year. Outside of the classroom, Justin was a part of Harvard’s Canadian Club and The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers (THUD)
, a percussive performance group similar to The Blue Man Group. He leaned into his leadership skills by becoming the Canadian Club’s Prime Minister and THUD’s director for a few semesters.
Justin moved to New York after his undergrad to work for a financial services consulting firm. After a little over three years, he felt a yearning to explore something more challenging and he dove into the art/tech startup world where he helped develop tools to automate art valuation. The role involved a nice combination of technology and art, which were two subjects in which Justin was very interested. Eventually, Justin wanted more stability and thus pivoted to working at the digital practice of McKinsey & Company
, a global management consulting firm.
“What I love about it is that dynamic nature,” says Justin. “We’re always doing different things. The clients and the functions you’re dealing with change all the time.” On any given day, Justin might be doing a myriad of intriguing tasks for projects, whether it is interviewing ex-CIOs for research, building projection models, speaking with clients or creating solutions.
Justin credits his peers and mentors at Greenwood for sparking that lifelong curiosity and drive to face the unknown. “The people, both the students and the staff, are what make Greenwood just an amazing place,” says Justin.
And what is Justin’s advice for Greenwood students? “Try as many things as you can and push yourself to do that. Really take advantage of all that the school has to offer.” Given the encouraging and supportive environment of the school, he feels this is an ideal time to explore what you may be interested in before you become too busy to try out new things.