Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Considering the ongoing concerns regarding enrollments in MIS programs, it is necessary for MIS educators to understand the underlying motivations that influence student choices of major, as well as how students view the field of MIS related to these factors. To address this problem, a series of focus group sessions were conducted on three distinct samples of students which examined the following questions: (1) What factors influence a business student’s selection of a field of study and/or career? (2) What factors encourage or deter a business student’s choice to enter the field of MIS? and (3) What strategies can an MIS department employ to increase awareness about MIS-related careers among business students? Results from these focus groups suggest that most students rated job scope as an important issue in their deciding on a major; however, students with little or no knowledge of MIS perceived this career path as narrowly focused (e.g., sitting at a computer and coding all day). Results also suggest that non-MIS majors held more negative perceptions of the characteristics associated with MIS professionals, whereas freshman and sophomore students declaring MIS as their future major held more positive perceptions than non-MIS majors, and junior and senior MIS majors held even more positive perceptions.