Leadership and diversity set James Hargest graduate up for Otago scholarship

Leadership and diversity set James Hargest graduate up for Otago scholarship

Leadership and diversity set James Hargest graduate up for Otago scholarship


The potential of James Hargest College 2013 Head Boy Liam O’Connor for future success has been underlined by the University of Otago with a $5000 Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarship.

Liam says his application for the scholarship may have attracted attention because he had ‘a few’ leadership roles within and outside of school: Head Boy; captaining hockey and cricket teams; membership in a stage challenge leadership team, Leo Club young Lions charity foundation and Treasury 2013 Schools Challenge team; plus involvement in many school groups.

Liam has embarked upon an Otago Commerce degree majoring in Economics, continuing an interest he discovered while at high school.

“I’m curious about why people make decisions and what influences them. I used to hear news on TV about the recession and it went over my head, but the more economics I did at school the more it applied to the real world.

The demands of Liam’s first-year papers haven’t completely swamped him. He has continued playing hockey, competing with Dunedin’s Albany Club Premier Team. He has also participated in the Business School’s business case competitions in which, as part of a team, Liam had to come up with a commercial business plan over a day.

“Working with a team in a business environment is the main thing we get from the competition; it’s a bit of real-world application. The teams are made up of students from all different years, so some have a bit more overall commerce experience.”

Liam says receiving a scholarship from Otago wasn’t the only reason he chose to study in Dunedin.

“I was planning to do engineering in Christchurch, but my brother and two older sisters went to Otago. They had such a good time I decided to come too.”

For their first year, his siblings all lived at Arana College, one of 15 residential colleges on or near Otago’s Dunedin campus, each offering support and care in its own unique style. Most also offer tutorials, plus sport and social activities.

“I applied for Arana because I heard it’s quite a good academic hall but with social life to it, too,” Liam says. “Arana has lots of character, lots of in-house jokes and there’s always some good event to look forward to. You get to know the Warden, Jamie Gilbertson, too. He lays down the law, but he’s fair; it’s not like a school/student relationship, he’s more like an older mentor.”

Moving to Dunedin wasn’t a problem for Liam who had visited many times for training with the under 18s Otago Southland Hockey Team and to see his brother and sisters.

“I really enjoy Dunedin. It’s amazing. I used to drive everywhere in Invercargill, but here you walk to lectures and into town. It’s pretty easy to get around, driving to the beaches or the local swimming hole.”

Liam says anyone thinking of applying for Otago scholarships, or heading to Dunedin to study shouldn’t doubt themselves.

“Even if you think you won’t get a scholarship or into a course, apply anyway because, more often than not, not many people apply and you may get in. I definitely recommend getting a wide variety of experiences. Don’t just do all sport or choir or what you specialise in – branch out a bit!”

Liam’s confident and diverse ambitions are a prime example of “branching out”.

“Potentially I’d like to get into providing business advice or banking economics. But you never know. Ideally I’d like to stay at home and raise children – my mum has always been so happy bringing up her children and I just feel like it would be a rewarding use of time.”

Learn more about University of Otago Entrance Scholarships [].



category News
01 January 1970