Asee peer logo

A Comparison Of Business And Technology Students, And Their Choice Of Academic Major

Download Paper |


1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.6.1 - 4.6.8

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Ganesh Pandit

author page

Gopal Mohan

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2548

A Comparison of Business and Technology Students With Respect To Their Choice of Academic Major

Gopal Mohan, Ganesh M. Pandit Purdue University / Clark Atlanta University


When students select a major, do they think before they make the choice or is that a spontaneous decision? In other words, do undergraduate students give importance to the career prospects of their academic discipline and the intellectual challenges posed by the subject matter when choosing their major, or do they simply follow their parents’ and friends’ advice when choosing their disciplines? Further, are Business students and Technology students similar in their thinking when weighing different factors in the selection of their respective disciplines? The research described in this paper solicited answers to these questions. The study examined the values attached to a hypothesized set of factors that might be considered by undergraduate students in the selection of their academic majors. It appeared that, in general, all students in the sample gave higher importance to the financial prospects associated with the academic major, nature of the subject matter and their own aptitude. Also, these students gave relatively lower importance to any influence from their family, friends and high-school teachers. The study then compared the responses of Business students with those of Technology students with respect to the selection of their majors. The findings showed that both groups of students gave similar importance to their career prospects; but the Technology students gave higher value to the nature of the subject and their own capabilities when selecting their particular major.


Past research made various comments about college students and the selection of their academic majors or their career choices. Paolillo and Estes (1982) found that availability of employment was the most important factor to accountants when compared with other professionals. Parental influence was certainly not the most important factor for the accountants in their study. Hafer and Schank (1982) found that financial security was an important factor to undergraduate students in choosing a major. In 1984, Robey reported that college students were more interested about money and careers. Later, Berger (1988) claimed that individuals were likely to select majors with more emphasis on their predictions of future earnings as compared to the predictions of initial earnings at the time of entering their profession. Bundy and Norris (1992) surveyed accounting students and found that their respondents considered job security as the most important factor to them. In their study, the older students gave more importance to the starting salary. However, in general, the challenging and interesting nature of the work was also important to the accounting students in the sample. Kramer, et al. (1994) hypothesized that most students did not have sufficient information when they chose their academic majors. They found that students who entered colleges did not plan adequately and had no decision-making skills. In

Pandit, G., & Mohan, G. (1999, June), A Comparison Of Business And Technology Students, And Their Choice Of Academic Major Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1999 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015