An investigation into the internal and external factors influencing career choice over a period of approximately ten years amongst postgraduate students in a business school in KwaZulu-Natal.
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This research aimed to investigate the internal and external factors influencing career choice and development over a period of approximately ten years and subsequently the variation in, or development of, these factors over this time. In addition, further investigations aimed to understand the extent to which broader economic and global shifts have influenced career trajectory or the experience of careers. The participants in this research were five males, aged between twenty-eight and fortyone, currently completing their Master of Business Administration (MBA). The participants, from different race groups, were interviewed twice using semi-structured interviews and their information recorded and analysed. The analysis, making use of inductive thematic analysis, realised approximately 17 themes that aided in the following findings being confirmed: Firstly, both internal and external factors influenced initial career choice with external factors being somewhat predominant. Secondly, findings suggested a strong relationship between these two sets of factors, with initial internal factors increasing considerably with time, becoming strongly dependant on an entirely new, different set of external factors. Thirdly, findings suggested that career direction and trajectory has become more dynamic and diversified as a result of immense changes in the actual job, resulting in individuals recognising the need to acquire more specialised skills and knowledge to adapt to the current job. In terms of the acquisition of skills, findings suggest that there is no need to change/move jobs; instead it is more important to acquire skills necessary to grow and develop within their current job and company. Results conclude that employees would only be inclined to move/ change jobs only if there was no room for growth and development. Finally, considerable emphasis is being placed on the self, i.e.: self-management of one's career, one's quality oflife and emphasis on personal development (such as the enrolment for an MBA).