In an age where the media can’t make up its mind whether you are too old at 60 or whether 80 is the new 70 and 70 is the new 60 and so on, it’s good to hear from a Fellow of the Institute who ignored others’ opinions and just got on with doing what was right for him.
I’d like you to meet Ramgopaul Roop.
Last year Ramgopaul graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree – at the age 70. He achieved academic success even though his parents Poyah and Roop Bataw could not read or write.
Ramgopaul – who has seen his three children study to degree level and beyond – fulfilled his ambition by combining full-time work on his smallholder farm under the blazing tropical sun with long nights of study, sometimes until sunrise.
His dedication paid off when he was awarded on MBA Distinction.
He said: “This being the last chance on the last train, the only option was to sit tight and hold on.” He added: “The past 32 months have been very challenging but stimulating. It shows there is no age limit to academic achievement and personal professional development.”
Ramgopaul – who is also Regional Administrator of the Caribbean Agribusiness Association – studied online at Edinburgh Napier, one module per trimester.
He was supported by his wife Beena, who read and re-read drafts, and even the family dog, Coco, who had a special bed made up in Ramgopaul’s study.
The farmer completed his studies last autumn but was unable to travel from the West Indies to Edinburgh for the ceremony as it clashed with his commitments at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in the Cayman Islands. So he now picks up his degree at this summer’s graduations instead.
In the intervening months, using research from his MBA dissertation project he has helped develop a policy framework document for CARICOM on the cassava industry – a 21st century multi-purpose crop thought to have the potential to transform the economy of the Caribbean.
He is a farmer of international repute. Soil and water management technique on his farm which can pave the way for intensive vegetable and tree crops production were also praised as “a diversification dream” in his submission to the 2017 Global Contest on Sound Solution in Farming for Biodiversity.
Ramgopaul said: “The skills acquired in writing assignments and my dissertation are now being applied in my everyday activities.”
In addition to his MBA he also has an Advanced Diploma in Administrative Management from the IAM, so take a lesson from Ramgopaul and never accept that you are too old to learn.