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Factors influencing career choice of management students in India

Tanuja Agarwala (Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




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.


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.


“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.


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.



Agarwala, T. (2008), "Factors influencing career choice of management students in India", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 362-376.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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