Senior student embarks on PhD at Bond University

If anyone exemplifies the concept of ‘life-long learning’, it’s Bruce Dwyer.


The soon-to-be Bond graduate completed his bachelor's degree at age 50; his master's at 65 and, now in his late 70s, he is about to submit his thesis for his PhD.

Bruce Dwyer

“Education has definitely been a lifetime exercise for me,” said Mr Dwyer, a private equity specialist who runs a successful investment and venture capital consultancy on the Gold Coast.


“It was built up over the years, based on the qualifications I needed at different stages of my business life.


“Each time I enrolled in a degree program, I had a fair amount of practical experience in the field – I’d set up and run two or three businesses when I decided to do my first degree in Economics; and I had another business venture under my belt and was doing accounting work part-time when I went back to do my Master's in Accounting – all of which brings a very different dynamic to the learning experience – so my PhD research draws on my skills and experience investing in these smaller listed companies.”


It is quite a success story – and a life story – for a young bloke who was brought up on a dairy farm in Victoria’s Gippsland region and didn’t finish high school.


“I left the farm when I was about 17 and got a job in Melbourne as a salesman in the furniture department at Myer – I think I was one of the youngest sales people they’d ever put on at that time,” said Bruce.


“I did pretty well and became second in charge of the department after three or four years but I wanted to learn more about how the business actually worked so I signed up for a correspondence course in accounting. I guess that was the start of my ‘addiction’ to education.


"I needed some serious, recognised qualifications to fall back on – so I enrolled at La Trobe University and did my Bachelor of Economics.”


He then enrolled to do a Masters of Accounting that would allow him to do contract accounting and tax work.


“The area I’m researching [for the PhD] is known as ‘behavioural finance’. It recognises that psychology has a significant input in driving share prices because those prices go up or down based on how investors think the company will perform.


“With smaller and emerging companies, the factors that predict the performance of the big cap companies listed on the All Ordinaries Index simply don’t apply, so my research is looking at what factors do apply, with the idea of developing an algorithm that will help investors predict which of these smaller listed companies are most likely to generate share price growth.


“There’ll be a lot of articles, papers and books to come out of this research,” he said.


Bruce’s PhD research represents the culmination of six years of study, starting with the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) he completed by distance education.


Associate Professor of Finance, Dr Colette Southam said “We often compare completing a PhD to a marathon but Bruce’s speed makes it look more like a sprint. His energy for this work is simply unparalleled and there is so much that our Transformer students can learn from him on both a practical and academic level.”


23 March 2018.