Political Science Grad Goes From Campus to the Capital

Nels Olson ’89

Nels Olson ’89

It’s a passion for Nels Olson ’89 to help others succeed.

Olson splits his time between the Washing­ton, D.C., and New York City offices of Korn Ferry, the world’s largest executive talent firm, ensuring that the top-tier executives his team identifies and coaches are the best fit for his clients.

Olson serves as vice chairman and co-leader of the Board and CEO Services Practice and office managing director of Washington, D.C., as well as head of the Global Government Affairs Practice.

After graduating with a political science degree from Oswego, Olson relocated to the nation’s capital to work at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel under President George H.W. Bush, identifying and recommending top candidates for senior political positions. He later joined Korn Ferry in 1993.

While at Korn Ferry, Olson has advised more than 1,000 companies around the globe, many of them Fortune 500, working with executive boards through management transitions, vetting top candidates and planning managerial successions.

Like the companies he helped navigate toward success, Olson believes in giving back to SUNY Oswego so that current students are able to find their success.

Olson was a member of the Sigma Gamma fraternity and active in student government while at Oswego, and urges others to get involved early on: “It’s important to think about the building blocks of your career from the start.

“Oswego was a very meaningful part of growing up for me,” Olson said. “My education gave me a great foundation to build upon, and I want current students to have the same opportunities I had.”

—Tyler Edic ’13

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