An opportunity to learn from world-leading researchers and commentators has drawn Queensland business graduate David Lancaster to Harvard University.
The 25-year-old, who received a First Class Honours degree in Finance from Griffith University, is off to the John F Kennedy School of Government later this year to study a Master in Public Policy.
“I believe the program offers the right balance between technical training in economics and statistics, and training in ‘soft’ skills such as leadership, negotiation and communication,” says David, who works with the Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney.
“These skills will equip me to not only create good policy, but to action it.”
The opportunity to spend two years in Boston came about after David successfully applied for the RBA’s Post Graduate Award, which will cover his tuition in the United States.
“I will learn from some of the world’s best researchers and commentators,” he says.
“The strength of the Harvard brand means the Kennedy School regularly hosts high-profile speakers from around the world. Their talks will engage me with a broader range of interesting and challenging public policy issues, as well as provide me with an insight into how policymakers are thinking about important problems.
“These benefits convinced me that studying my Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School would greatly enlarge my ability to contribute to the RBA’s important work here in Australia.”
David joined the RBA’s Financial Markets Group in Sydney in 2011 after graduating from Griffith. He had initially completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance, Accounting) before advancing to an Honours program. On graduating, he was also awarded a Commerce Medal and University medal.
Driven by an ever-increasing fascination with economics and the RBA’s role and impact in Australian society, David transferred to the RBA’s Economic Group.
“I have had the opportunity to work with an exceedingly talented and diverse group of people. And like them, I have become increasingly convinced of the importance of economic policy for advancing the public good.
“I found that the more I involved myself in policy debates, the more I wanted to contribute.”
With suitable encouragement from colleagues and the RBA’s supportive environment, David decided to take his interest to the next level. The RBA’s Postgraduate Study Award beckoned.
On learning of his successful application he set about applying to globally renowned Masters programs in the US and the UK. It proved a demanding and involved process that he also had to incorporate into his life’s other focus – last summer’s marriage to Alexandra.
David’s efforts and focus brought their reward last month (March) when he accepted an offer from Harvard University. In August, David and Alexandra will move to live and study in Boston for two years.
“This will involve many big life changes, but we are both very excited to pursue this opportunity,” he says.
“Harvard Kennedy School intentionally recruits a global student body. In fact, applications for admission this year came from 137 countries.
“I eagerly anticipate learning from my classmates’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and meeting many global leaders of tomorrow.
“I have always appreciated the support that Griffith University provided me and this has undoubtedly played no small part in setting me up to pursue my career interests with passion and confidence.”