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What are the factors that shape the careers decisions of LSE students?

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This study examines the effects of culture on career decision making for students at the London School of Economics (LSE). There is an existing body of research which highlights the differences between individualist and collectivist cultures. However, it has been limited for international students based in the UK. At the LSE the majority of students are international so this presents a unique opportunity to carry out research into different cultures within one UK institution. The research seeks to identify differences and similarities between students from different continents. Firstly, it looks at whether they fit into the categories of individualists and collectivists and secondly if they fit with current theories of career development. The research approach is a quantitative study based on a questionnaire distributed online and completed by over 1300 students representing all six continents. The results reveal that there are many commonalities between students from different continents such as the importance of personal interest and parents. Whilst there are also differences it would seem that applying cultural stereotypes to international students at the LSE would not be appropriate. As the study is based at a single institution the research strategy used does not allow for wider generalisation but provides an important insight into the career decision making of international students.

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