Business guru Leigh Baker, 70, gets PhD
LEIGH Baker has just completed his first PhD at age 70, but the Bokarina businessman has no thought of slowing down.
He wants to use the more than 40 years of knowledge he has gained working with multinational companies to help guide the way China does business with the outside world.
"When I finished working I wanted to gather up my experience, package it up and put it into the China market because I had a pretty unique body of knowledge and experience and a PhD seemed to be a good way to do it," he said.
Mr Baker, who has lived on the Coast since 2008, spent 20 years doing business in China, including eight years in a major role with one of the world's largest software companies, Oracle.
His post-career university course explored the success of Chinese firms looking to expand abroad and the factors that contributed to success and failure.
This year he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree by Griffith University for a thesis called Going Global - Factors Influencing Chinese Business Leaders' Success in International Assignments.
The 92,000-word document could serve as the groundwork for the latest act in his career - one that involves publishing his analysis of Chinese business practices.
As someone who could be in the centre of an area that will be crucial in the coming decades, Mr Baker believes other recently retired practitioners should turn to academia.
"I took myself off in my mid-30s to do an MBA after 15 years of management experience and found it was much more useful and rewarding combining the academic side with the practical side," he said, adding that people with hands-on experience needed a greater voice in the academic world.
"There are a lot of people with a lot of practical experience and they just don't get heard, and academic theory is good but it's only one side of the coin."