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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

This study employed a survey in examining the important influences that shape a student’s selection of a major in the College of Business (COB). In particular, it compared these influences, by major, to assess which items were most (and least) important to the students majoring in accounting, general business, finance, management, marketing, and MIS. The influences, totaling 37, included internal influences (e.g., interest in the field), external influences (e.g., projected salary), and interpersonal influences (influence of significant others). Some of the findings were consistent with those of prior studies. For example, interesting work was highly important for all business majors, and specific interpersonal influences such as parents, high school teachers, and peers were relatively unimportant. The findings presented herein suggest that the overall impact of interpersonal influence may have been underestimated in previous studies. Unlike many previous studies, this study showed that job availability and job security were more important to students than interest in the field. This study augments the extant literature in that the survey was conducted right after the 2009 recession, which allowed an analysis of student decision making during a period of high unemployment and lingering economic uncertainty. Implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.

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