ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS OF STUDYING FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING: THE CASE OF THE MASTER DEGREE STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GDANSK
Recently, a relatively significant number of students choose to study in the field of Finance and Accounting (F&A). There are many reasons why students decide to take up this kind of studies. The choice of this study area is influenced by both the economic and the social factors. In addition, having this type of education is associated with an expectation of a good, well-paid job or with the possibility of a future career. However, the conception of what studying F&A means has been changing over time - from being perceived as rather unknown scope of knowledge at college level, to being viewed as professional knowledge at the level of second degree studies.
The purpose of the paper is to present the educational path of the F&A students, based on the prepared survey. In particular, we attempt to answer the following questions:
1) Is the selection of the study area (F&A) related to secondary school education?
2) Is the selection of the second degree studies (F&A) a consequence of the first degree studies?
3) Is it possible to identify the social factors (such as the family status, gender etc.) which influence the selection of the studies undertaken at the faculty?
4) Can we identify the economic factors behind the decision to study F&A?
The study was carried out in order to determine the answer to the question whether students change their perception of the future at different stages/levels of their education. The results allow estimation of a logit model, for the purpose of identifying the determinants of the decision to study in the field of Finance and Accounting.
The methodology used in the study was based on the survey. The students of the second degree program were questioned regarding their choice of the study area. The results were obtained via a survey among the students of the University of Gdansk in Poland, during the winter semester of the academic year 2016/2017. The survey covered all the students, hence a total of 455 properly completed questionnaires were received. The results of the survey allowed a complex description of the preferences as well as of the social and the economic factors which have influenced the choice of the study area.
Further, a logit model of the relationship between the social and the economic factors determined via the survey and the studied field of economics were estimated. The model allowed identification of these factors and observation of how strong the relationship is.
In general, the results of the study showed that more than 90% of the second degree F&A students are women. Predominantly, they have been continuing their first degree studies, however, the choice of the study area is not related to their choice of the secondary school. Moreover, family background and the place of residence (small town or big city) are not significant. Most of the students have an average or good economic/financial situation. As such, the important social factors identified in the survey are gender and the material status of the family.
One of the most important elements is the students’ perception of the current and the future carrier. Most of them also indicated experience, apart from knowledge, as an important element. Consequently, the economic factors behind the choice to study F&A are the expectation of a well-paid job in a large or in a medium-sized company.