IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Factors explaining the choice of a finance major: the role of students' characteristics, personality and perceptions of the profession


  • Andrew Worthington
  • Helen Higgs


This paper examines the role of student characteristics, personality, and perceptions of the banking and finance profession in determining the choice of an undergraduate finance major. The data employed is drawn from a survey of first-year business students at a large Australian university. Student characteristics examined include gender, secondary school studies in accounting, business and economics, grade point average and attendance mode. Perceptions of the banking and finance profession revolve around questions of overall interest, relationships of persons working within the profession, the manner in which the profession deals with problems and tasks, and the nature of these problems. A binary probit model is used to identify the source and magnitude of factors associated with a student's choice of major. The evidence provided suggests that the choice of a finance major is a function of students' overall interest in the profession, perceptions of how the profession deals with problems and tasks, the nature of these problems and tasks, mode of attendance and, to a lesser extent, gender. The study emphasizes the need to incorporate factors associated with students' personality and perceptions in analyses of this type.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Worthington & Helen Higgs, 2003. "Factors explaining the choice of a finance major: the role of students' characteristics, personality and perceptions of the profession," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 261-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:12:y:2003:i:3:p:261-281
    DOI: 10.1080/0963928032000088831

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosina Mladenovic, 2000. "An investigation into ways of challenging introductory accounting students' negative perceptions of accounting," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 135-155.
    2. Philip Lewis & Keith Norris, 1997. "Recent Changes In Economics Enrolments," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 16(1), pages 1-13, March.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Preferences and prices in choice of career: The switch to business, 1972-1987," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-34, June.
    4. Ann L. Owen & Elizabeth J. Jensen, 2000. "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 466-470, May.
    5. John J. Siegfried & Michael K. Salemi, 1999. "The State of Economic Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 355-361, May.
    6. Rumberger, Russell W. & Thomas, Scott L., 1993. "The economic returns to college major, quality and performance: A multilevel analysis of recent graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, March.
    7. Alex Millmow, 1995. "The Market For Economists In Australia," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 14(4), pages 83-96, December.
    8. repec:wly:coacre:v:10:y:1994:i:s1:p:21-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. William E. Becker, 1997. "Teaching Economics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1347-1373, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kathleen Goffey & Andrew Worthington, 2002. "Motor Vehicle Usage Patterns in Australia: A Comparative Analysis of Driver, Vehicle & Purpose Characteristics for Household & Freight Travel," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 117, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    2. Beverley Jackling & Claude Calero, 2006. "Influences on Undergraduate Students' Intentions to become Qualified Accountants: Evidence from Australia," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 419-438.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:12:y:2003:i:3:p:261-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.