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At Stanford, Older Professionals Get a Chance to Hit the Books Again

A gap year for 60-somethings, at $65,000 a head.
Stanford hosts lunches and other events to help its DCI fellows bond.

Stanford hosts lunches and other events to help its DCI fellows bond.

Photographer: Molly Matalon for Bloomberg Businessweek

As senior vice president for HP Inc.’s laser-jet business unit, Pradeep Jotwani put in 70-hour workweeks and traveled tens of thousands of miles each year, leaving him little time for much else. So when he turned 60 two years ago, he was ready to wrap up his 28-year career at HP. Yet he dreaded the thought of retiring.

Then he heard about Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute, a yearlong program for executives and professionals mostly in their 50s and 60s who, like him, were grappling with what to do after ending successful careers. In January 2016 he began attending classes and seminars at one of America’s most selective universities as part of a group of 25 DCI fellows, each of whom paid $65,000 for the privilege. “I’m a closet nerd and always wanted to go back to school and learn new things, plus I got to be with people my age who want nothing to do with retirement,” he says. “We were all in exploration mode, trying to figure out what we wanted to do next, and we had the chance to share that journey.”