Three-time Olympian William has MBA goal in sight

1/08/2016

William Henzell has represented Australia in Table Tennis at three Olympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and won a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

 

Now William has another goal in sight, completing an MBA part-time while we works at Slater and Gordon as an Analytics and Reporting Manager.

We sat down with William to find out how he’s adjusting to study at Melbourne Business School. 

Do you still have time to play table tennis?
I retired from playing about a year ago. I felt it was better to focus doing two things well (work and my MBA) rather than doing three things (work, MBA and playing) poorly. So the MBA has certainly helped me prioritise and make decisions about where to invest time. I did make a brief comeback for the MBS - AGSM Cup in June and, despite being very rusty, was able to help the team to get the Cup back.
 
As a past Olympian, what has been the most life-changing aspect of competing at the highest level? Has it opened doors for you?
Australians hold sport and especially the Olympics in high regards so it serves as a good conversation starter and differentiator. I moved to Europe by myself when I was 14 to have a proper crack at table tennis so I had to be self-sufficient from a young age. I had to take care of the present, like doing my own cooking and cleaning, as well as plan for the future, like what I needed to do to develop my game and what opportunities I needed to pursue. I think my parents for very brave to let me go.
 
How are you finding study at Melbourne Business School?
I'll be half way through my MBA at the end of this term so I've still got a way to go. As anyone who has been through the experience knows, it is very challenging to balance work, the MBA and a personal life. I'm learning a lot and am in a fortunate position to have the opportunity to apply many of the learnings at work straight away.

What are the differences between elite sport, study and full time work?
As an athlete, especially in an individual technical sport, you need to single-minded and self sufficient. You don't have anyone else to rely on when you're out in the spotlight competing and nearly every decision you make is about how to improve yourself. The biggest difference I found transitioning to the professional world was the importance of building up a great team around you with complimentary skills, where it's less about self-motivation and more about how to motivate and bring those around you on the journey.

*Image courtesy of NewsCorp Australia