While a student at the Colleges, Oliver Meeker ’09, fell in love with Vietnam. It was in the fall of 2007 that Meeker first journeyed to Vietnam, spending a life-changing semester abroad. Following graduation, Meeker’s passion earned him a prestigious Fulbright research grant in Vietnam, providing him with another 10 months of the vibrant Vietnamese culture.
Today, Meeker is living and working in Vietnam as a senior investment analyst with Vietnam Investments Group, a private equity firm started in 2007 by two Harvard Business School graduates that manage $250 million in commitments and co-investments.
“My semester abroad changed my perspective on life and career-path moving forward. I was blown away with the dynamism, energy, and rapid change in a country that a mere 15 years before was importing rice and close to famine and 15 years prior to that it was war-torn from 100 years of colonialism and 30 years of U.S. conflict,” says Meeker. Today, Vietnam is the number two exporter of rice in the world – just behind Thailand. “At that point, I knew I wanted to be a part of this country’s fascinating development.”
In his position as a senior investment analyst, he works mainly on post-investments, monitoring strategies put in place by the firm and insuring that they are carried out and executed properly. For the past year, Meeker has been on the post-investment team managing a manufacturing roll-up of eight different companies in southern Vietnam producing glucosamine from shrimp shells resulting in the largest glucosamine supplier in Vietnam.
“Professors Jack Harris and Jim Spates were critical in my Vietnam decision. Both of them have spent extensive time in Vietnam and highly recommend I stretch my horizons and explore a country that is completely different tomorrow compared to today,” explains Meeker. It was the strength of the Vietnam abroad program that Meeker credits with igniting his passion for the country, and leading him on his current path – which includes the pursuit of an MBA. “The biggest strength of this program was it provided the students an opportunity second to none to experience a country in rapid change from all perspectives by traveling extensively during the term and connecting students to Vietnamese peers.”
Meeker graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in sociology. On campus, he was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and a member of the tennis team – for which he was named a Liberty League All-Academic and an ITA Scholar Athlete. Under the guidance of Harris, Meeker completed an honors project on “One Viet Nam — Post War Memories and Future Aspirations.” He was also the recipient of the Irving Louis Horowitz Prize in Sociology, Durfee Award for most outstanding senior, and the James Mickel Williams Prize in Social Sciences and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society.