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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Learning to Aspire: The Making of Career Aspirations in Business Schools

Daniel Meyer


 
A business degree is a solid foundation for a successful career in business - at least that’s what the degree promises and what many students hope. This dissertation project investigates which jobs business students desire, how their career aspirations are shaped by business schools, and how their professional goals change over the course of their studies. To this end, the project identifies central sociodemographic, biographical, and institutional influences on career ambitions; and, by adopting a practice-theoretical perspective, it explores the underlying processes, different styles, and concrete performances of occupational socialization on campus. Empirically, a mixed methods approach is taken: Conducting a twelve-month-long ethnography at a German business school, the project investigates how study-related activities and other social practices shape business students’ career aspirations. Additionally, survey data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) are analyzed to determine the effects of sociocultural background characteristics and biographical experiences on students’ occupational aspirations. The thesis aims to understand the practical formation of career ambitions on campus and to further develop the idea of aspirations as a sociological concept. Project duration: October 2016 to March 2020.
 

 
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