An investigation into the factors influencing career choice and development of previously disadvantaged MBA students in a business school in KwaZulu-Natal.
This research paper aimed to investigate the factors influencing career choice and development among previously disadvantaged individuals, specifically focusing on MBA students. The core aim was to analyse and better understand the factors that have played a key role in shaping the careers of people of colour within the South African context, taking into consideration the political, social and economic climate and its impact on previously disadvantaged individuals from a career perspective. The research group comprised of both male and female South Africans of colour, namely Indian or African or Coloured. These participants ranged in terms of age from thirty to forty one years old. Participants were sourced from a business school in Kwa Zulu - Natal and were all in the process of completing their MBA (Master of Business Administration) degrees. Participants were interviewed using semi- structured, in depth interviews that ran for approximately forty five minutes each. Each interview was recorded. This information was then transcribed and analysed using Inductive Thematic Analysis. This approach to data interpretation ensured that the rich wealth of information was analysed effectively by the researcher and more importantly, made sense of. Seven key themes emerged from the data. Themes such as the impact of circumstance, parental and family life, culture and society, and context and the environment emerged and were discussed further. Other key themes emerging from the data included identity and self awareness, interests versus goals, and drive and self belief. Factors Influencing Career Choice 8 Findings indicated that the careers of previously disadvantaged individuals were impacted by unique circumstances experienced by these individuals. The political, social and economic climate had a profound role to play in shaping the paths taken by these individuals and also significantly impacted their development within organisations thereafter. Findings indicated mixed reactions to the pro transformation policies and unveiled thought provoking feedback from participants on their experiences and opinions with regards to the above.