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Examining US business undergraduates’ use of career information sources during career exploration

Mun Yuk Chin (Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA) (Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Chelsea A. Blackburn Cohen (Scholars at Risk, New York University, New York, USA)
Matthew T. Hora (Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA) (Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 12 December 2019

Issue publication date: 3 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Campus career services are increasingly scrutinized as the primary career development resource for undergraduates. The purpose of this paper is to use Career Construction Theory to examine all sources of career information used by undergraduate business students and their contributions toward career exploration and development.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a mixed-methods design, a survey was first administered to 372 university students enrolled in an undergraduate business school in the USA. Focus group interviews were conducted with 35 students from the survey sample. Descriptive statistics are reported, and inductive themes and causal networks were derived from qualitative data.

Findings

In order of prominence, students endorsed using sociocultural (e.g. family) and institutional (e.g. career services center) resources, and exploratory activities (e.g. work experience) as career information sources. These sources contributed toward students’ vocational development by enhancing their psychological readiness for work, building social capital and facilitating decisions.

Research limitations/implications

Participants were sampled from one undergraduate business school in the USA and were self-selected into the study.

Practical implications

Career services and higher education professionals should think of the career-related information sources available to students as a complex ecosystem of advice instead of singular resources that exist in isolation. Professionals should also attend to students existing sources of career information and consider ways to support students’ development of social and professional networks and opportunities. Furthermore, universities should consider the potential for integrating career exploration into course curricula as opposed to tasking career services offices to be fully responsible for students’ career-related outcomes.

Originality/value

This study is the first to examine undergraduate business students’ sources of career information and their contributions to career development. Its insights offer evidence for ways to tailor interventions to support students’ use of available information sources beyond campus career services.

Keywords

Citation

Chin, M.Y., Blackburn Cohen, C.A. and Hora, M.T. (2020), "Examining US business undergraduates’ use of career information sources during career exploration", Education + Training, Vol. 62 No. 1, pp. 15-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-05-2019-0103

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited