With an Olympic gold medal, a swimming world record and a biomedical science degree already under her belt, Melanie Wright (nee Schlanger) added yet another achievement to her impressive list when she graduated with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), with high distinction, from Bond University on the weekend.
In 2015 alone, Wright maintained a high distinction average in her studies while juggling the demands of a professional swimming career that saw her compete in the FINA World Championships in Russia and the Australian Swimming Championships in Sydney, as well as maintain a gruelling training schedule ahead of the Rio Olympic trials to be held in April this year.
Wright joined 400 graduates at a special ceremony at Bond University on Saturday, February 13, where her achievements were honoured alongside fellow graduates and guests, including leading Australian Indigenous art collector, Ken McGregor, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his extensive work in advancing Indigenous communities.
Wright said her time at Bond University had been fantastic in every aspect and she hoped to use the skills learnt throughout her MBA to contribute to the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
"There is no better feeling than achieving a goal I’ve worked hard for, so looking back on the work I completed to reach this milestone is extremely satisfying and I am really looking forward to donning the cap and gown to receive my degree," she said.
"Being involved in the Bond Elite Sport Program, competing for my university in the Australian University Games and seeing the development of sport at Bond over the past two years has been incredibly rewarding.
"Also, having small class sizes made each lecture interactive and allowed me to gain so much more from my professors, and I have also been able to network and develop great friendships with many of my classmates and colleagues.
"I find university studies and sport complement each other really well, because life balance is really important in elite performance and having something else to commit to while swimming has been a blessing.
"The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is coming up quickly and it will be 2018 before we know it. I hope to use my MBA in some capacity with the organising committee, GOLDOC, and contribute to what is going to be a fantastic event, not only for the Gold Coast, but for Queensland and Australia."
Wright said she was hoping to qualify for her third and final Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August, and was looking forward to the challenge that lay ahead.
"The Olympic Games is the pinnacle and I feel extremely fortunate to have represented my country at the past two," she said.
"I dreamed of becoming an Olympian when I was a child, so becoming a dual Olympian and winning five Olympic medals has already exceeded my own expectations. Making a third Olympics would really be the icing on the cake.
"The support I have received throughout my degree has been unwavering and provided a critical foundation that enabled me to excel both in the classroom and in the pool.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to study at Australia’s premiere private University on a scholarship, and I would like to thank Bond University and ADCO Constructions for the chance to do so."