ACCOUNTING STUDENTS' CHOICE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THE INDUSTRY OR ACADEMICS: LESSONS FROM SELECTED PRIVATE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES

O. Nwobu1, S. Faboyede1, J. Oyewo2

1Covenant University (NIGERIA)
2University of Lagos (NIGERIA)
Career choice is one of the major decisions that a student has to make in tertiary institutions. This choice also cuts across a number of disciplines in business, social sciences and pure sciences. At the final year stage, a student of accounting consciously or sub-consciously makes up his/her mind on the kind of career to pursue after graduation. Three distinct areas from where an accounting student makes a choice are to work in the industry, gain academic relevance or to diversify completely from accounting. This makes it worthwhile to empirically examine the career choice of accounting students in tertiary institutions and the extent of difference to pursue a career in the industry or academics. These are the dominant issues in this study and they stem from the dearth in the Nigerian literature on studies seeking to assess the career choice of accounting students. With the aid of a survey instrument (questionnaire), the objectives of this study were actualized. Copies of the questionnaire were made and the same administered to one hundred and fifty (150) accounting final year students in two Private Universities in the South-West of Nigeria. The questionnaires were distributed equally across the two universities. Data was analyzed using factor analysis and t-test. Factor analysis was used to decipher the factors influencing the choice of students to pursue a career in the industry or academics. T-test was employed to examine whether a difference exists in the career choice of the accounting students based on gender. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 was used to analyze the data collected from the respondents. The outcome that there is a wide gap between the choice of students to pursue an accounting career in the industry rather than in academics makes this study recommend that there could be more incentives to encourage accounting students to balance their career by engaging with academics. The accounting professional bodies could also encourage students to pursue postgraduate studies in accounting by sponsoring them. These steps could reduce the gap between accountants in the industry and academics.