College-to-Career Culture and Gender: Investigating Perceptions of BBA-Liberal Arts Double Majors at a Liberal Arts University Open Access

Lawrence, Julia (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL:


Previous research supports the idea that a students’ gender and experiences within their university’s campus context intersect as two cultural processes which influence their decision-making processes as it relates to career path. I investigate how gender and the dominant discourse and interactions among undergraduates who inhabit the local campus context, in this case Emory University, might influence the peer prestige system of its students. I also seek to understand how students’ experiences with college-to-career culture may influence their own career path decision making. This path has two decision points: the academic major and the intended career plans. I conducted in-depth interviews with ten males and nine females who are members of the sub-population of students who are in the process of pursuing a liberal arts major in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences (ECAS) along with an undergraduate BBA in the Goizueta Business School (GBS). The findings do not suggest a clear difference in the way in which male and female BBA-liberal arts double majors perceive campus culture or career paths. This may speak to the egalitarian ideologies held within next-tier institutions such as Emory. The findings of this study do support the work of scholars such as Amy Binder who suggest that the cultural constructions of elite universities influence students to be funneled into a narrow range of careers. Additionally, my analysis suggests that the undergraduate BBA programs found in institutions such as Emory University leads students to view business school and liberal arts as two separate campus contexts in which they experience two distinct college-to-career cultures. 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Research Questions 1

Research Questions 2

Variables 2

II. Theoretical Framework & Empirical Work 3

Organizational Structure of College 3

Society’s Career Hierarchies 4

Gender and Career Ideologies 5

Definitions of Success 7

Career Funneling (Binder) 10

III. Conceptualization 11

Operationalization of Variables 12

Variables 12

Restatement of Specific Research Questions and Variables 13

Research Questions 13

IV. Methods 13

Research Design 14

Population/Cases 14

Sample Selection and Recruitment 15

Data Collection 16

Data Analysis Procedures 16

V. Results 17

Students’ own college-to-career paths (RQ 1): Academic Path 17

Students’ perceptions of college-to-career culture at Emory (RQ’s 2a and 2b): Academic Path 24

Students’ perceptions of college-to-career culture at Emory (RQ’s 3): Career Path 31

Students’ own college-to-career paths (RQ’s 3): Intended Careers 38

VI. Discussion & Conclusions 48

VII. References 55

VIII. Appendices 57

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files