Forty and fab – why I’m starting a degree now

Studying again aged 40? Most people don’t really understand this. For Susanne, keeping up with new trends and continuing her education is a given.


My name is Susanne, I am 40 years young and began an IUBH distance learning course on 1 February 2019. Further education has always been important to me: learning drives me on. I am passionate about digital trends and technology such as drones and smart home applications, as well as online marketing topics; areas which are constantly changing. If you’re not up to date, you quickly fall behind and lose important competitive advantages.

In my job as Marketing Communications Officer – Digital Sales at Cathay Pacific Airways, a Chinese airline, you have to stay on top of things of course. Therefore I didn’t find it difficult to choose a degree course. The Bachelor of Arts in “Digital Business” focuses on IT and business administration, as well as opportunities for specialisation in the areas of digital marketing and data science. Learning modules such as the “Internet of Things”, “Digital Future Commerce”, “Digital Business Models” and “Change Management” particularly appealed to me.

New career opportunities with the IUBH distance learning degree in Digital Business

My employer knows about my studies and was pleased with my initiative and self-motivation, but I am leaving the company at the end of March for operational reasons. I would therefore like to use my degree to open up new career opportunities. Right now in my job, I’m seeing tasks become automated and outsourced as the number of employees decreases. This also makes you question your own field of work and responsibilities. Digital disruption affects all companies and therefore, aged 40, I cannot rest on my previous knowledge and experience. I am currently looking for a new professional challenge within an international company in the area of online marketing, digital business and data analytics. As I am an ambitious and motivated person, I hope that in the medium term my studies will provide me with the necessary knowledge to guide companies through the digital transformation and support them in the analysis of large data volumes and the digitisation of value-added processes.

My husband is my biggest support, because he gives me the space I need to concentrate on my studies. He studied 20 years ago and knows very well how much time and space I need. It’s not a problem if I need to lock myself away in my study for a few hours at the weekend. But friends, family and colleagues were also enthusiastic when I told them about my plans to study for a degree, especially when they heard about the technical possibilities of distance learning at IUBH. Sitting exams at home on your own PC at any time? Yes, it works, it works really well and that was also one of the reasons why I chose IUBH. I can also easily incorporate my studies into my everyday life, because I can study at my own pace and learn anywhere, at any time. So I always have up-to-date learning content with me on my iPad and can also cram during my lunch break in the kitchen, at the airport gate or on the plane.

I’ll tell you one thing: you’re never too old to learn something new, especially not at 40. With distance learning in particular, you won’t get funny looks when you join the course’s Facebook or WhatsApp groups as a new student. Nobody asks your age and no one sees your grey hair. 😉

“I find it easier to learn than at 20”

I bet that studying wasn’t as fun 20 years ago as it is today. I can interact with my fellow students in Facebook and WhatsApp groups, listen to podcasts on individual lessons, get in touch with lecturers via live tutorials and train my long-term memory using a flashcards app. This has worked very well so far. I also find it easier to study today than when I was 20 and I am definitely more motivated as now I know what I want. I have concrete goals and the motivation to achieve them.

I study full-time, i.e. 36 months and still work full-time. From the end of March, I will have more time for studying until I find a new job. But I have never shied away from change, because it wakes you up, opens up new perspectives, helps you develop and stops you becoming professionally blinkered. As an online marketing all-rounder, I can imagine either working in this sector again or in the area of data analysis. In my opinion, this sector will continue to gain in importance: pooling and analysing collected data, using it in a value-adding way and in compliance with data protection requirements to create positive customer experiences.


Susanne is 40 years young and lives in Taunus near Frankfurt am Main. As Marketing Communications Officer – Digital Sales at Cathay Pacific Airways, she appreciates the flexibility of her IUBH distance learning programme "Digital Business". In her spare time she enjoys travelling. She puts all her travel tips in her blog “Airliner on Tour”.

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