RU Olympian Returns to Talk Achievement and Goal-Setting


Former Olympian Goran Nava '04 (right) recently returned to campus to share his thoughts on success with current students.

Since he left Radford University, Goran Nava ‘04 has been busy with peak experiences.   He has developed his career as a consultant in Europe, competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and is now a graduate student at the prestigious London School of Business (LSB).

After representing the LSB at the recent Venture Capital Investment Competition in Chapel Hill, N.C., Nava visited RU to speak to students in the School of Communication and the College of Business and Economics on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

A native of Castello Di Brianza, Italy, Nava was successful on both sides of the student-athlete equation at Radford University. With a double major of finance and media studies, he accumulated several academic honors throughout his career. Nava became the first Big South student-athlete in any sport to be named to the Academic All-American First Team squad twice.

Nava shared with students his reflections on his time at Radford University, as well as his post-university careers, which includes the monumental achievement of qualifying for the Olympics at the age of 26 after being out of competition for three years while working for a strategy consulting boutique in Milan, Italy.  

Nava’s advice to today’s students can be simply stated as “be passionate and aim high.”  

Nava recounted for the members of RU’s Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization (SMIPO) – of which he is an alumnus – and the Financial Management Association (FMA) his decision to fulfill his lifelong dream of being an Olympian.  

“I was driven by the concept of ‘never,’” he said. “The realization that if I didn’t do it at that specific time gave me the drive and the passion to start and the courage to go after what I really wanted before it was too late.“

While the Olympic experience was profound on a variety of levels – travel to China, a chance to wear his country’s uniform and the chance to compete at the highest level – Nava found real value in the effort of achieving a supreme personal goal.

“That was it, a lifelong dream, for me.  The experience will have a tremendous impact on whatever I do afterwards because once you achieve success, then you know what it takes in one area and can do it in other areas of endeavor.”  

Currently a student in the LSB’s Executive MBA program, Nava built upon the success he enjoyed at Radford University as an undergraduate.  He left Radford holding eight school records, seven of which were set during his senior year. At the time, he was just the third RU track and field/cross country student-athlete to qualify for the NCAA Nationals and finished second in the 800 meters at East Regionals.

Nava said he was able to leverage his full intellectual capital thanks to the teachers, coaches and mentors he found here at Radford University, who inspired his confidence and success.  

“The reality is you can compete with the best out there because of the teaching you have been receiving,” said Nava to more than 40 SMIPO and FMA members. “Now that I am studying at a top international business school, I have the benchmarks to prove that this is true. In my LSB classes in London, I often think ‘I learned that at RU.’”