Personality Biases of Accounting Students: Some Implications for Learning Style Preferences

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CDI 13,4

Factors influencing career choice of management students in India Tanuja Agarwala
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to explore the influence of a range of factors on the career choice of management students in India. The importance of different individuals in the family and at work in making career choices among these students is also to be explored. In addition, the study seeks to address the relationship of the cultural values of individualism-collectivism and the protean/conventional career orientations of MBA students from India, with factors as well as people influencing the choice of a career. Design/methodology/approach – Participants consisted of 93 students from India entering management, who were starting their first year of the two-year full time MBA program. Self-administered questionnaires were used to gather data on factors and types of relationships influencing career choice, individualism/collectivism, and protean/conventional career orientation. Findings – “Skills, competencies, and abilities” was the most important factor and “father” was the most significant individual influencing the career choice of Indian management students. The predominant cultural value was collectivism, although the students demonstrated individualist tendencies in some contexts. A protean orientation guided the career orientation of these students. Research limitations/implications – The data were collected only from one management institute in India. Originality/value – Empirical research on factors and types of relationships influencing career choice, and their correlates, has not been conducted among Indian students. The paper addresses this issue and the study has implications for career counseling. Keywords Careers, Career guidance, National cultures, Students, India Paper type Research paper


Career Development International Vol. 13 No. 4, 2008 pp. 362-376 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1362-0436 DOI 10.1108/13620430810880844

Introduction Globalization has brought about a radical transformation in what organizations need to do to maintain their competitiveness. As managerial skills become crucial for organizations to achieve success in a competitive and turbulent business environment, there has been a sharp rise in the demand for managerial professionals worldwide. Sturges et al. (2003) proposed that the MBA degree imparts certain key competencies to students. These competencies may be of key significance in the career success of students as “management” has gained in importance over other forms of professions. Industry demand for new managerial resources in India far exceeds supply. According to one estimate, the total number of entry-level managers needed by corporate India every year stands at 2,735[1]. But the best business schools in India produce about 1,740 managers in any given year. This demand-supply gap, amounting to almost 36 percent, has resulted in competition for scarce managerial talent, high levels of attrition, and an increase in the compensation levels of managerial professionals. For a large number of students in India, a managerial career has become the most preferred career choice. The emergence of management as a formal education is fairly

recent, yet the MBA degree has emerged as one of the most sought after higher educational qualifications. There was a 55 percent increase in the number of institutes imparting management education in India between 1999/2000 and 2005/2006. More than 100,000 students are studying towards an MBA degree in approximately 1,200 institutions offering MBA degrees in India. Business factors coupled with several sociocultural changes have led to changing career preferences among young people in India. An individual’s choice of career is likely to be influenced by several factors,...
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