Oliver Garrett-Jones is an Economic Adviser at the Australian Treasury in London. He has worked on domestic and international economic policy in the Australian Public Service in both the Department of Finance and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Oliver completed a Master of Public Policy at the ANU Crawford School in 2015. He says: "Many people come into the public service as generalists from other backgrounds. You can learn a lot and apply existing skills to policy work on the job, but I felt that further study would help me develop well-rounded expertise."
Oliver worked full-time while completing one class a semester for his Masters. His studies provided a balancing influence to his work:
"At the time I found study really helped me take a step back from the hectic day-to-day travails of government, and take stock of the bigger picture, delving into the philosophies of governance, global trends and broader political forces."
Some of Oliver's fondest ANU memories involve time spent out on Lake Burley Griffin with the ANU Sailing Club. He learned to sail from scratch, both solo and with a crew, and recalls:
"Of course learning to sail was trial and error; on the first day my boat capsized, tipping me into the water. I could feel the carp in the lake brushing against my legs!"
Oliver has found that, since graduating, he approaches policy problems at work differently:
"My approach feels well-informed and grounded, and I've learned tools that have allowed me to introduce a new level of rigour in addressing the problems of government. And the strong sense of context and big-picture thinking instilled by the course opened up new avenues in my career and new professional interests."
Since commencing his current role in London, Oliver has found renewed appreciation for the contacts and networks that develop over time. He considers the ANU alumni network to be "full of talented and distinguished people." Lately, Oliver has been involved with the Alumni Committee in the UK to help bring graduates together and expand the network's presence in the region.
Oliver's advice to ANU students includes not to rush into postgraduate studies. He says:
"It took me several years between completing a Bachelors (in commerce) before I found what really interested me professionally. On the back of that, you'll get the most from a Masters degree if you are working in the field that you're studying. I found that being able to instantly apply principles learned at University to my work was key to expanding existing knowledge and skills, and cementing new ones."