85-year-old man goes back to school to earn MBA degree

June 18, 2018 - 09:00

Lê Phước Thiệt, 85, from the central coastal province of Quảng Nam, has just been awarded his master’s degree in business management from Duy Tân University.

Thiệt (left) receives the certificate on graduation day.— Photo tienphong.vn
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG NAM — Lê Phước Thiệt, 85, from the central coastal province of Quảng Nam, has just been awarded his master’s degree in business management from Duy Tân University.

Thiệt set his mind on gaining his master’s 14 years after graduating from university in the United States.

“Graduation day was one of the most important days in my life because it fulfilled all my dreams,” he said.

Thiệt took his wife and seven children to the United States since 1975. When all his children were married, he started to think about going to university. Thiệt was 60 years old at the time.

He graduated in finance at a university in California in 2001. After getting his bachelor’s degree, Thiệt was planning to go for his master’s, but his wife fell seriously ill, so he had to spend both his time and money to take care of her.

His dream was delayed for many years.

When his wife recovered in 2012, the couple decided to return Việt Nam, Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

Three years later, Thiệt once again thought about going back to school. He began his master’s course in 2015 at Duy Tân University in Đà Nẵng, registering for a class that started at 6pm and finished at 9pm three days a week.


The university is about 40km far from Thiệt’s house, so he had to take a bus to school. When the class finished, his nephew picked him up and took him home by motorbike. His nephew, Lê Phước Mỹ, is also Thiệt’s classmate.

“My uncle is very studious,” Mỹ said.

The only time he missed a class was when he was in hospital, he added.

“Bad weather was never a reason for him not to go to the school,” he said.

Mỹ said his grandfather’s dedication gave him the motivation to learn.

Thiệt said if the rain was light, he and his nephew returned home after class, but if it was heavy they would rent a hotel room.

“Sometimes I think of those days sitting behind my nephew on his motorbike in the pouring rain. I don’t know how I survived,” Thiệt added.

“Fortunately, God blessed me and I feel thankful for that,” he said.

Non-stop efforts

Thiệt said to complete the course in three years, he had to arrange subjects depending on levels of difficulty. Based on the list, he would spend more time learning subjects with higher levels of difficulty so that he could pass his exams.

English, philosophy and human resources were three subjects he was good at, he said.

He spent a lot of time on his homework, and talking to younger students in his class to learn more about issues that he found difficult.

“I learnt a lot from my younger classmates,” he said.

Thiệt learnt how to use a laptop, chat with teachers and classmates and make slideshows.

Thiệt is also working on his health, and recently bought a treadmill and which he spends 30 minutes per day on.

“I need to stay healthy to go to school and finish the course of my life,” he said.

Võ Thanh Hải, vice principle of the university, said he admired the way Thiệt had tried to finish the course.

“He is an excellent example for youngsters,” Hải said.

Thiệt was one of the outstanding students on the course thanks to his non-stop efforts, Hải said.

Speaking at his graduation day, Thiệt said: “I feel happier than ever; my old-age has become more meaningful thanks to this day.”— VNS