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Goal orientation, academic competences and early career success

Dirk van Dierendonck (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Eline van der Gaast (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 25 November 2013




This paper aims to focus on early career success as determined by a combination of what young professionals learned at school (in terms of their grades and academic competences) and how this, together with their self-regulatory focus, influenced their early objective career success in terms of salary growth and subjective career success, in terms of career satisfaction.


Using an online survey, 247 alumni from a major business school in The Netherlands participated.


The results showed that, within this sample, a person's goal orientation was an important determinant of subjective and objective career success. A master orientation was more beneficial than a performance orientation. In addition, a high mastery or a high performance orientation buffered the potential negative influence of low levels of academic competence and grades on career satisfaction.


The study showed the limited predictive value of grades and academic competences to predict early career success.



This research was made possible by a grant to the first author by the Vereniging Trustfonds Erasmus University Rotterdam.


van Dierendonck, D. and van der Gaast, E. (2013), "Goal orientation, academic competences and early career success", Career Development International, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 694-711.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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