Age Knows No Bounds: DBA Student Aged 80 shares inspiring journey!

Blog > Age Knows No Bounds: DBA Student Aged 80 shares inspiring journey!

In a remarkable testament to the timeless pursuit of knowledge, the Swiss School of Business and Management Geneva (SSBM) proudly presents the extraordinary journey of its Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) student, John Corley, at the age of 80. Breaking stereotypes and proving that age is no barrier to academic excellence, our oldest DBA student offers a compelling testimonial.

What motivated you to pursue an Online DBA at SSBM Geneva?

I started my higher education studies late in life and gained my first degree (an MBA) at the age of 57. Two degrees later, having retired to a foreign country, but not having lost the thirst for knowledge in my chosen field, I became aware of SSBM’s doctoral programmes. I was doubtful that I could succeed in gaining a DBA but, thanks to my previous knowledge, the content of the programme and the support of my mentor, I achieved a successful result in just under two years.

The indicated time for completion of the SSBM DBA is two years. This obviously depends on the student’s personal motivation, but I found that the School has expectations, not strict timetables, so I could adjust my work schedule to suit my way of working, which is short bursts of high activity followed by longer periods of reflection (and sleepless nights, when I planned my next step!).

An advantage of completing a DBA course online without a fixed timetable is that it enables you to carry out your regular activities at the same time, which must also contribute to the quality of your life and work.

What has been your favourite aspect of the DBA program at SSBM? Is there a particular course, professor, or experience that stands out to you?

The SSBM courses which led to my DBA Thesis follow a logical and engaging path and allowed me to formulate a research plan which would both answer the questions which had occupied me for some years and which would, at the same time, be of sufficient academic quality to reach the DBA level. However, an important point for me was not only the gaining of a higher degree but also that the work which produced it should be of use to practitioners in the field. As has been noted elsewhere, my Supervisor/Mentor, Anna Provodnikova, is meticulous in her approach to work. She said that she wanted to be 100% confident that my thesis would succeed and the proof is that it did. 

What advice would you give to prospective DBA students, especially those who may be older or have extensive professional backgrounds like yourself?

SSBM Geneva’s motto is Never Stop Learning. I never have and, at the age of 80, I have just gained my DBA at SSBM. I had decided that if I was going to go for a doctoral degree it would have to be at an institute of higher education of good standing. I therefore researched deep into SSBM’s faculty and course materials. I found that they were all well respected. I was also impressed with SSBM’s Admission procedures. To achieve good results, not only are top class materials necessary, but the student must also be of high quality.  The admission process at SSBM ensures that this is the case. A long experience in business has taught me that knowledge is not enough. The Doctoral programmes at SSBM have confirmed to me that the other essential ingredient is determination. Online courses demand an abundance of determination from their students. If you have that, you cannot but succeed.

Two weeks after my Thesis Defence I ran the Dublin Marathon. I am now embarking on another course of higher educational study.

Thank you very much John for your interview and sharing your experience!