Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Factors Influencing Finance as a Career Choice among Business School Students in India: A Qualitative Study

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Factors Influencing Finance as a Career Choice among Business School Students in India: A Qualitative Study

Article excerpt

The fast changing educational processes in the 21st century have affected the syllabus and methods of teaching in all the disciplines, prominently in B-Schools. Various factors influence the students' decisions in exercising their option for the subject area of specialization in the Post Graduate Business Management (PGBM) programs. The present study tries to gain insights into the underlying motives and perceptions of the students in opting for finance as a career. The study also provides some interesting inputs to B-Schools which would enable them to select the right candidates.


Higher education environment has become increasingly competitive, and institutions have to compete for students in the recruitment markets (Maringe, 2006). The transition from college to the world of work is a major life change for many college seniors, during which they face the complex demands of the economy; of a challenging, highly competitive job market; and of an increasingly diverse population and workforce. The transition from higher education to employment warrants particular attention because it represents a critical threshold between adolescence and adulthood. Students invest a great deal of their time, energy, and resources in obtaining a higher education degree; hence, they have high expectations regarding their future careers and employment status (Wood, 2004). It is common for graduates to have negative reactions to their initial postcollege employment, partly due to inflated expectations (often fostered during recruitment) (Keenan and Newton, 1984).

To bridge the transition gap, it is important to gain a clear understanding of student career expectations and perceptions, and the influence they have on career choice. Faculties bear some responsibility for these patterns of students' choice which they bemoan. Students make their course choice in response to a powerful set of incentives, but at the same time, expectation of grades is also likely to influence course choice. There are two aspects of course choice as they pertain to utility maximization; one involves the intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction derived from the course and grade received, and the other involves student's knowledge and their learning abilities (Sabot and Linn, 1991).

According to Dick and Rallis (1991), grade inflation plays a significant role and acts as a deciding factor for choosing the course. They also noted that economics and mathematics are low grading subjects. But since finance as a subject is the combination of both these disciplines and is more inclined towards applied economics, it can also be regarded as a low grading stream. Students perceive that marketing offers a wide variety of career opportunities when compared to other majors (LaBarbera and Simonoff, 1999). Unlike finance, marketing is considered as an easily graspable subject for students. It does not include mathematical aptitude, and is more related to real-world situations. There is no alternative to Marketing/HR courses as they are equally essential for the survival of any organization, but finance as a specialized area of study has other branches in the form of renowned professional courses like Chartered Accountancy (CA), Company Secretary (CS), The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). The present study, therefore, tries to gain insight into the factors, motivations and perceptions of B-School students which drive them in making finance as their career elective. Apart from the factors mentioned above, there could be intrinsic motivational factors which could influence the students to opt for finance specialization. Also, the non-technical factors play a vital role in their career choice. This study attempts to uncover these factors influencing the choice of finance as a sought-after elective.

Literature Review

Many studies have been conducted in the past concerning the career orientation in the disciplines of accounting and economics which are closely related to finance. …

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