Senior Citizen Goes Back to School, Redefines Technology | Technological Leadership Institute
At 72 years old, Hans Anderson found himself laid off for the third time in seven years.
“I was filling out unemployment papers when I got a call from Premier Technologies, where I had previously worked for 13 years as an electrical engineer.”
The telecommunications equipment company was asking him to come back – this time as the director of engineering. Since Anderson graduated with his M.S. in Management of Technology (MOT) degree from the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) just a few months earlier, he knew he was ready for this new opportunity.
“My continued education was appealing to Premier Technologies. The world has changed, and TLI gave me the confidence and resources to stand my ground as an elderly engineer in a fast-paced, changing industry.”
Being the oldest M.S. in Management of Technology student on record, Anderson says it brought an interesting aspect to the classroom.
“No professor was older than I was. I could confirm, debate or deny what they were saying because I had actually experienced it. But I was still able to grasp new concepts, and that’s really important.”
Anderson says TLI offers an opportunity for people of all ages, but especially older students, to take their tribal knowledge and apply it to modern business situations.
“Most people who are 62 or 63 years old are looking to retire because they’re sick of what they’re doing. They’re wondering if they’re going to be able to contribute more to an organization,” he explains. “The M.S. in Management of Technology program allows you to do something productive with what you already know. It allows you to change how you do it.”
In his new role, Anderson says he’s been able to make decisions to bring product opportunities to Premier Technologies that he wouldn’t have without his MOT education. The most significant was converting the company’s hardware from the analog copper wire telephone network interface to the Internet digital file-based interface. With this conversion, they can now move files to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems digitally instead of through aging analog wire processes.
“Because of what I learned in the MOT program, I now understand the original technology was a mistake, and I redefined it in seven months,” Anderson says. “I learned to stop, step back, look outside and take into consideration all the parameters again. I was able to move us from one market to another, and I wouldn’t have thought that three years ago.”
Before earning his Master of Science in Management of Technology degree in 2015, Anderson had gotten an MBA, but he says he was missing the content understanding of the marketplace.
“Now I understand that before you can come up with a new product, you need a channel to market it to first. In the MOT program, I learned about things like position and opportunity. What is the configuration of the world? Or locally? What is the market?”
Anderson says he’s planning to develop two to four more new products for Premier within the next year.
“I can still do the technical stuff – I still do it at my job today – but I can also create new things. TLI professors ask students to think through not only what’s happening now, or three to five years from now, but what’s going to happen in the next 10 to 20 years.”
As for Anderson’s future, he knows if he ever ends up unemployed again, he doesn’t have to worry.
“I can go on a job interview today and no one would even realize my age. With a current degree from a reputable institution and my experience, my credentials are age-independent. The skills I gained through MOT allow me to continue to be relevant. It allowed me to reinvent myself.”
The Technological Leadership Institute Master of Science in Management of Technology degree program is aimed at transforming engineering, science and other technical professionals like Hans Anderson into business leaders, no matter what career stage they may be in. Check out the admissions requirements to find out if you’re qualified to take this step toward professional development.
The world has changed, and TLI gave me the confidence and resources to stand my ground as an elderly engineer in a fast-paced, changing industry.