NTU Career Aspiration Survey 2011

NTU Career
Aspiration Survey
      2011
   Dr. Chan Kim
            Kim-Yin             (NBS)
   Dr. Ho Moon-
          Moon-Ho, Ringo        (HASS)
   Dr. Marilyn Uy               (NBS)
   Dr. Olexander Chernyshenko   (NBS)
   Ms. Sam Yoke Loo, Emma       (HASS)
   Mr. Phan Wei Ming Jonathan   (HASS)
   Dr. Olwen Bedford            (HASS)
   Dr. David Golmuya            (NBS)
   Mr. Wong Lun Kai, Francis    (HASS)
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents ....................................................................................................................... 1
List of Tables ............................................................................................................................. 3
List of Figures ............................................................................................................................ 4
List of Appendices ..................................................................................................................... 5
Foreword .................................................................................................................................... 7
Section 1: Executive Summary .................................................................................................. 9
  1.1        Background ................................................................................................................. 9
  1.2        Main observations of the inaugural 2010 NTU CAS were replicated ........................ 9
  1.3        Additional / new observations from 2011 NTU CAS ................................................. 9
  1.4        Recommendations ..................................................................................................... 11
  1.5        Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 11
Section 2: Rationale for the Career Aspiration Survey ............................................................ 13
  2.1        A vital aspect of tertiary education: Entrepreneurship .............................................. 13
  2.2        The EPL framework informs the breadth of CAS inquiry ........................................ 13
  2.3        EPL framework for a holistic assessment of career aspiration ................................. 14
  2.4        Intent, motivation and efficacy enhance the depth of EPL inquiry ........................... 16
Section 3: NTU CAS 2011 ...................................................................................................... 17
  3.1        Methodology ............................................................................................................. 17
  3.2        Questionnaire ............................................................................................................ 17
  3.3        Participation .............................................................................................................. 17
  3.4        Representative groups ............................................................................................... 17
Section 4: Main findings of 2010 & 2011 CAS ....................................................................... 19
  4.1        Although only 8% of the students intend to pursue entrepreneurial careers upon
             graduation, 1/3 of the students report having either a viable business idea and / or
             have sought information on how to start a business ................................................. 19
  4.2        There exists a negative relationship between entrepreneurial and professional career
             intentions, suggesting that students generally think of these as “opposing” career
             choices....................................................................................................................... 20
  4.3        There are proportionally more students with high entrepreneurial aspirations in
             Engineering and Business programs than in Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences
             and Science programs ............................................................................................... 20



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Section 5: Additional / New observations from the 2011 CAS ............................................... 23
  5.1        Students with different levels of entrepreneurial motivation and experience had
             different reasons for not starting a business.............................................................. 23
  5.2        Differences in EPL career aspirations between sub-samples of students ................. 25
  5.3        Entrepreneurial Climate: While students rated NTU highly in terms of its provision
             of programs, events and facilities (i.e., structural aspects) to support
             entrepreneurship, more can be done to strengthen social / cultural aspects of
             entrepreneurship in NTU .......................................................................................... 32
  5.4        Changes in EPL over time ......................................................................................... 34
Section 6: Future Directions, Vision and Conclusions ............................................................ 37
  6.1        Trial of NTU CAS Developmental Feedback Report: Feedback from students ....... 37
  6.2        Discussion ................................................................................................................. 38
  6.3        Implication and recommendations ............................................................................ 39
  6.4        A Vision for holistic E, P & L development for all NTU students & graduates....... 40
  6.5        Conclusion................................................................................................................. 41
References ................................................................................................................................ 43
Appendix ................................................................................................................................. 45
Author Details .......................................................................................................................... 88




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List of Tables

Table 2.2.1. The three principal career forms (Kanter, 1989) ................................................. 12
Table 3.4.1. Summary of survey participation ......................................................................... 16
Table 4.2.1. Predictors nascent entrepreneurial activity, entrepreneurial intent, and
         professional intent ..................................................................................................... 18
Table 5.1.1. Reasons for not starting a business by job choice ............................................... 20
Table 5.1.2. Reasons for not starting a business by sum of entrepreneurial activities ............ 21
Table 5.1.3. Reasons for not starting a business by types of entrepreneurial activities students
         engaged ..................................................................................................................... 22
Table 5.2.1.1. Reasons for not starting a business by nationality ............................................ 24
Table 5.2.2.1. Reasons for not starting a business by pre-university educational background
         ................................................................................................................................... 26
Table 5.2.3.1. Reasons for not starting a business: Ph.D. students .......................................... 27
Table 5.2.4.1. Reasons for not starting a business by gender .................................................. 29
Table 5.3.1. Students’ perception of entrepreneurial climate (university perspective) ........... 30
Table 5.4.2.1. Changes in students’ EPL intent ....................................................................... 32
Table 5.4.2.2. Predictors of individual-level change in EPL intent over time ......................... 32
Table 5.4.2.3. Changes in students’ EPL motivation ............................................................... 32
Table 5.4.2.4. Predictors of individual-level change in EPL motivation over time ................ 32
Table 5.4.2.5. Changes in students’ EPL efficacy ................................................................... 33
Table 5.4.2.6. Predictors of individual-level change in EPL efficacy over time ..................... 33
Table 6.1.1. Frequency of responses: Post feedback reactions ................................................ 34
Table 6.2.1.1. Frequency of responses: Students’ expressed entrepreneurial interest and past
         nascent entrepreneurial activities ............................................................................. 35
Table 6.3.1.1. Frequency of responses: Ph.D. students’ expressed entrepreneurial interest and
         past nascent entrepreneurial activities ...................................................................... 37




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List of Figures

Figure 2.3.1. A career aspiration trajectory in a multidimensional EPL space ....................... 13
Figure 4.1.1. Job choice after graduation ................................................................................. 17
Figure 4.1.2. Percentage of students engaging in nascent entrepreneurial activity ................. 17
Figure 4.3.1. Entrepreneurial motivation by group.................................................................. 19
Figure 4.3.2. Entrepreneurial efficacy by group ...................................................................... 19
Figure 5.2.1.1. Leadership career aspirations by nationality ................................................... 23
Figure 5.2.1.2. Entrepreneurial career aspirations by nationality ............................................ 23
Figure 5.2.1.3. Professional career aspirations by nationality ................................................. 23
Figure 5.2.2.1. Entrepreneurial career aspirations by pre-university educational background ...
         ................................................................................................................................... 25
Figure 5.2.2.2. Leadership career aspirations by pre-university educational background ...... 25
Figure 5.2.3.1. Ph.D. students’ entrepreneurial motivation by overall / gender / nationality /
         group ......................................................................................................................... 26
Figure 5.2.3.2. Ph.D. students’ awareness / participation rate for NTU innovation and
         enterprise initiatives .................................................................................................. 27
Figure 5.2.4.1. Entrepreneurial career aspirations by gender .................................................. 28
Figure 5.2.4.2. Professional career aspirations by gender ....................................................... 28
Figure 5.2.4.3. Leadership career aspirations by gender ......................................................... 28
Figure 5.3.1. Students perception of entrepreneurial climate .................................................. 30
Figure 5.4.1.1. Students immediate vs. future entrepreneurial intent ...................................... 31
Figure 6.3.1.1. Students passion for entrepreneurship ............................................................. 37




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List of Appendices

Appendix A. The longitudinal CAS instrument—2011 model ............................................... 42
Appendix B. Biographical data ................................................................................................ 49
Appendix C. Entrepreneurial climate ...................................................................................... 50
Appendix D. Reasons for not starting a business (new scale) ................................................. 51
Appendix E. Career aspiration indicators: EPL intent ............................................................. 52
Appendix F. Career aspiration indicators: EPL motivation ..................................................... 53
Appendix G. Career aspiration indicators: EPL efficacy......................................................... 56
Appendix H. Nascent entrepreneurial activity ......................................................................... 59
Appendix I. Involvement in programs organized by NTU (new scale) ................................... 60
Appendix J. Post survey follow-up: expressed entrepreneurial interest .................................. 61
Appendix K. Job choice ........................................................................................................... 62
Appendix L. Student perceived EPL intent by Cohort Year ................................................... 63
Appendix M. Student perceived EPL motivation by Cohort Year .......................................... 65
Appendix N. Student perceived EPL efficacy by Cohort Year ............................................... 67
Appendix O. Student perceived EPL intent by Group ............................................................. 69
Appendix P. Student perceived professional and leadership motivation by group ................. 71
Appendix Q. Student perceived professional and leadership efficacy by group ..................... 72
Appendix R. Student perceived entrepreneurial career aspirations by nationality .................. 73
Appendix S. Student perceived professional career aspirations by nationality ....................... 74
Appendix T. Student perceived leadership career aspirations by nationality .......................... 75
Appendix U. Student perceived professional career aspirations by pre-university education
        background................................................................................................................ 76
Appendix V. Student perception of entrepreneurial climate ................................................... 77
Appendix W. Student immediate vs. future entrepreneurial intent ......................................... 79
Appendix X. Sample of EPL feedback report ......................................................................... 81
Appendix Y. Student post survey follow-up response I .......................................................... 86
Appendix Z. Student post survey follow-up response II (open-ended responses) .................. 87




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Foreword

Innovation Asia is one of the 5 peaks of excellence identified in the NTU 2015 strategy. The
new emphasis on innovation led to a number of initiatives dedicated to supporting and
nurturing aspirant entrepreneurs and start-ups within the NTU community.

The NTU Career Aspiration Survey (CAS) is one of those initiatives. It is a 5-year
longitudinal study to track factors related to student career aspiration and to better understand
factors related to innovation and entrepreneurship among NTU students. The CAS has
descriptive and prescriptive capabilities that will inform and optimize the efficacy of NTU’s
innovation initiatives. As part of our research program, we are now also adapting the CAS for
use in pre-university settings (e.g., in Singapore Schools) and also in workplace and
hopefully, international settings. Once fully developed, it will not only be useful within NTU,
but also at national and international levels. Our goal is also to provide NTU students with
feedback and guidance on their career motivations that will enable them to consider a more
holistic career spanning the entrepreneurial, professional and leadership dimensions over time.

This report introduces the NTU CAS initiative, outlines the rationale behind it,
explores possible factors that may affect student career aspiration, and summarizes the main
findings from the second NTU CAS conducted in 2011. This report explores the robustness
of the findings from the 2010 CAS survey and examines additional factors thought to
influence the change in career aspirations over time.



NTU Career Aspiration Survey Research Team
Nanyang Innovation & Enterprise Office
NTU Ventures Pte Ltd
1 August 2012




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Section 1: Executive Summary
1.1     Background
The NTU Career Aspiration Survey (CAS) was conducted for the second year in September
2011. 6,162 NTU students provided valid responses (19% of total student population). The
main aim of the survey was to monitor students’ entrepreneurial motivations (i.e., interest in
founding or joining start-ups) relative to competing professional and leadership motivations
(i.e., interest in joining established businesses as specialists or managerial trainees).

1.2     Main observations of the inaugural 2010 NTU CAS replicated
Three key findings were consistent with those reported in 2010 CAS as follows:
   i.   Potential vs choice. Although only 8% of the students intend to pursue entrepreneurial
        careers upon graduation (cf about 69% professional and just over 23% leadership or
        management), over 35% or 1/3 of the students report having either a viable business
        idea and / or have sought information on how to start a business (see Section 4.1).
  ii.   Competing options. There exists a negative relationship between entrepreneurial and
        professional career intentions, suggesting that students generally think of these as
        “opposing” career choices. The relationship between entrepreneurial and leadership
        intentions is slightly positive (see Section 4.2).
 iii.   Comparing across the four main colleges, Engineering has the highest proportion of
        entrepreneurially motivated students (57%) followed by Business (48%), HASS (43%)
        and Science (40%). More Business students have high entrepreneurial efficacy (64%)
        followed by Engineering (58%), HASS (49%) and Science (39%) (see Section 4.3).

1.3     Additional / new observations from 2011 NTU CAS
This year yielded a number of additional findings and observations:
   i.   Different mindsets. Students with different levels of entrepreneurial motivation and
        experience had different reasons for not starting a business (see Section 5.1).
        a. Among those who decided or intended to be entrepreneurs or those with high
            levels of nascent entrepreneurial activity / experience, the main reason (most
            endorsed) for not going into a business was a lack of resources or capital followed
            by a lack of relevant training, experience and skills. They did not see starting a
            business as a gamble or a risky career option.
        b. In contrast, those who decided to pursue professional or leadership careers rather
            than entrepreneurship believed that it is “safer” to be a professional than to start a
            business, that business involves a “gamble”, that it is risky and that business
            owners have too many “hassles and worries”. These were in addition to the “lack
            of resources or capital” and “lack of relevant training, experience and skills”.
        c. The main difference between students who reported having viable business ideas
            versus those who do not that the latter “do not have a passion for business” and
            believe that “there aren’t many opportunities for new businesses”.

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ii.   Group differences. We examined the EPL career aspirations of students in four sub
       samples to determine if there were any differences existed between EPL career
       aspirations (see Section 5.2).
       a. Singaporean students (n = 3,967) were significantly higher than international
           students (n = 2,195) in leadership intent and motivation, while the international
           students had significantly higher entrepreneurial motivation, intent and efficacy.
       b. NTU students with polytechnic backgrounds (n = 1,409) had significantly higher
           entrepreneurial motivation and intent than those who came from junior college (n
           = 2,818). The junior college students reported higher leadership intent and
           efficacy than the polytechnic students.
       c. Over 60% of Ph.D. student respondents (n = 583) indicated interest to receive
           more information about innovation and enterprise from NTU at the end of the
           survey. Ph.D. students with high entrepreneurial motivation tended to be
           international, males and from Engineering.
       d. Female students (n = 2,640) have significantly lower E, P & L motivation,
           efficacy and intention scores than male students (n = 3,515). Female students
           were also more endorsed the list of reasons for not starting a business compared to
           males.
iii.   Structures vs culture. While students rated NTU highly in terms of its provision of
       programs, events and facilities (i.e., structural aspects) to support entrepreneurship,
       more can be done to strengthen social / cultural aspects of entrepreneurship in NTU
       (e.g., the perception that it is okay to start a business during university studies as well
       as, finding entrepreneurially-minded students, etc.) (see Section 5.3).
iv.    Time horizon. When asked for their intentions to start a business in the future, NTU
       students’ (projected) intentions increased from an mean of 2.49 immediately after
       graduation to 2.83 at 5-years and 3.13 at 10-years after graduation (note: on a 5-point
       scale; see section 5.4.1).
 v.    Change over time. While group-level EPL scores (i.e., overall university / college
       average) did not change significantly over two years, there were changes in E, P & L
       motivation at the individual level. Higher risk aversion scores predicted increases in
       professional and leadership intent and decreases in entrepreneurial intent over time
       (see section 5.4.2).
vi.    CAS Feedback for Holistic Student Development. A small scale trial was conducted
       in three undergraduate elective courses to provide students with insight into their
       current career aspirations in E, P & L aspects via a CAS Developmental Feedback
       Report. Overall, the students responded positively to the tool. Many students also
       expressed interest in getting involved in the feedback study in the future. Some
       requested for such feedback to be provided sooner, while others wanted to understand
       the methodology and rationale behind the results as well as the interpretation of their
       EPL profile. Others requested for their EPL aspirations to be reported along with
       other variables (e.g., personality) as part of holistic development during university
       (see Section 6.1).


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1.4     Recommendations
   i.   Beyond organizational survey purposes, CAS can evolve to become a system for
        holistic E, P & L development for NTU students. The CAS can also be used as a
        “gateway” to provide all students / alumni with pointers toward entrepreneurial (and
        professional and leadership) development information and opportunities throughout
        their studies, and help them to “construct” more holistic, E, P & L dimensions over a
        lifetime (see Section 6.4 “Vision for CAS”).
  ii.   Tackle “mindsets”. Strengthen the culture of enterprise by influencing (see Sections
        5.1 & 6.2.2):
        a. Beliefs that students cannot or should not start their business during their studies;
        b. Beliefs that entrepreneurship, professionalism and leadership are alternative, or
             even “opposing” career options;
        c. Beliefs that entrepreneurship is necessarily more “risky” or a “gamble” than
             professionalism or leadership work.
 iii.   Strategy. Apply different strategies to promote entrepreneurship (see Section 6.3):
        a. Students with high / advanced levels of entrepreneurial experience / activity need
             help in terms finding capital and resources to start-up.
        b. Students with some entrepreneurial ideas / activity should be provided with
             information, training, knowledge and skills and facilitate networking among them.
        c. Students with no nascent entrepreneurial activity or who never considered it as a
             viable career option may be provided with career guidance using CAS, so to plant
             the seeds of enterprise as a dimension of their future careers.
 iv.    Take a long-term view of I & E support for NTU students. The survey shows a rising
        (projected) intent among our students to start a business. This suggests the possibility
        of NTU extending its I&E support to its alumni by building and maintain the strong
        social network so that our students will always think of NTU when they are ready to
        start an enterprise.

1.5     Conclusions
The results of this year’s CAS were generally consistent with the findings of the previous
CAS (2010). The replication of these key findings inspires confidence in the CAS and serves
as evidence for the robustness and reliability of the EPL framework. Several new findings of
note were observed in the 2011 CAS. These findings such as the difference in EPL
aspirations between Singaporean students and international students present new and exciting
avenues for future research. While macro-level changes in EPL scores cannot be expected
within two years, individual EPL scores that did change were small but predicted by factors
such as risk aversion.

Clearly, there exists much more entrepreneurial interest and potential beyond the 8% of
students who report that they wanted to become entrepreneurs after graduation: many who
report wanting to enter professional or leadership careers also have high entrepreneurship
motivation and are interested in innovation and enterprise initiatives at NTU. This suggests
that there is room to enhance entrepreneurship in leadership and professional career-minded
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students at NTU. The CAS is uniquely placed to inform NTU initiatives as to how best to
target and cater to students of different sub-groups of students (e.g., prior entrepreneurship
experience, gender and education level). Building the entrepreneurial culture of NTU will
require a systematic approach and the combined effort of the NTU leadership, faculty
members and students.

In the future, one way to capitalize on the usefulness of the CAS as a long-term monitor of
student EPL aspirations could be to invite all freshmen to participate in the NTU CAS and
giving them a personalized NTU CAS feedback report. This process can also be integrated
with other entities within NTU to better target students or even to measure the EPL “change”
in students as a result of their programs and courses. To achieve this, NTU can redesign CAS
to be part of a system for holistic E, P & L development for NTU students—beyond being
just a monitoring survey.

In the next annual NTU CAS survey in late August 2012, longitudinal data collected next
year from repeated respondents who participated in 2010 and 2011 will be essential in
reliably examining the overall trends in the development of career aspirations over a cohort.
Based on the 2010 and 2011 data, the retention rate of repeat participants was approximately
20%, despite additional incentives for participation (an additional chance to win a prize).
Other methods of motivating student participation will be necessary to ensure the continued
quality of the data collected.




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Section 2: Rationale for the Career Aspiration Survey

2.1    A vital aspect of tertiary education: Entrepreneurship
Economic development has become increasingly reliant on entrepreneurism as the means for
continued economic expansion. Most modern universities in developed economies are
designed for highly professional faculties to train future professionals. It is not surprising
that the dominant mindset of university graduates today is to prepare for a particular
profession, enter the workforce, and rise up the ranks within the safety and security of an
organization. Under this model, entrepreneurship is left to certain kinds of individuals who
choose to take a different, non-mainstream path. Universities may be the point from which
careers take off on a trajectory along an entrepreneurial, professional, or leadership paths.
As a research-based university with subject-defined colleges and programs that aim to
produce highly qualified professionals and experts for society, NTU must consider how to
imbue its professionally-minded students with the culture and capacity for enterprise and
innovation, which is vital for Singapore’s economic competitiveness in the 21st century. To
meet this challenge, NTU has launched various strategic initiatives to encourage
entrepreneurial drive in its students.
In order to ensure the efficacy of these new initiatives, a tool for assessing the level of
entrepreneurial drive in students was needed along with a means of identifying ways to
augment and refine current initiatives. Given that career aspirations can affect individuals’
initial career decisions, how they move from one job to another, and even how individuals
see themselves in relation to previous work experiences (Derr & Laurent, 1989), NTU
decided to launch the Career Aspiration Survey (CAS) to gain a better understanding of the
factors that affect students’ career aspirations and the extent to which these career aspirations
change over the course of their tertiary education. The CAS design encompasses a number of
domains, constructs, and factors that may exert influence on student career aspiration. It will
provide insight on how best to refine and augment NTU’s many educational and innovation
enterprise programs, not just to increase entrepreneurial drive, but also to ensure NTU’s
ultimate goal of providing holistic education for its students.

2.2    The EPL framework informs the breadth of CAS inquiry
In 1989, the renowned organizational strategist Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1989) called for a
better understanding of the connections between careers and economic, social, and political
issues in societies beyond individual-psychological or organizational perspectives. Kanter
presented three principal career forms, namely, entrepreneurial, professional, and leadership
(EPL), as a means of better understanding these connections. Each career form, Kanter
argued, possesses its own separate logic and growth requirements (see Table 2.2.1). Most
research to date regarding career aspirations has examined them in relative isolation.




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Table 2.2.1. The three principal career forms (Kanter, 1989)
                       Leader                      Professional              Entrepreneur
      Logic defined                                Craft or skill &
                       Advancement                                           Creation of new value
      by…                                          reputation

                                                   Monopolization of
      Key resources    Rank & position in                                    Capacity to create
                                                   socially valued
      for individual   organizational hierarchy                              valued outputs
                                                   knowledge & reputation

      “Growth”         “Moving up” in the          Increased cross-
                                                                             Organizational growth
      involves…        hierarchy                   organizational mobility

      Essence of                                   Rarity & quality of
                       Security                                              Risk
      career…                                      one’s skill & expertise

                                                                             Freedom, independence
                       Anonymous &
                                                                             & control over one’s
                       predictable; but can get    Freedom, independence
      Nature of                                                              tasks & organizational
                       stuck in hierarchy (can’t   & control over one’s
      career…                                                                context; also more
                       move until others           tasks
                                                                             uncertainty about the
                       leave)…
                                                                             future.


As a result, the current scientific understanding of “who chooses an entrepreneurial career” or
“how to train and educate entrepreneurs” is based on findings independent of alternative
career options such as professional or leadership careers. Without considering
entrepreneurship relative to other career domains, important competing variables and
constructs that could affect the development of entrepreneurship might be overlooked. For
example, what do those who choose professional or leadership paths think about
entrepreneurship? Why don’t they choose entrepreneurial careers?

2.3      EPL framework for a holistic assessment of career aspiration
The protean or boundaryless career (Arthur, 1994; Arthur & Rousseau, 1996; Hall &
Associates, 1996) in which individuals adopt a personal values-driven, self-directed attitude
toward career management has become more common. With this sort of mindset, rather than
developing in a single vocational domain, careers aspirations can be conceptualized as a life-
long trajectory in an evolving multidimensional career space. The CAS applies this
perspective by measuring the breadth of career aspirations in a three-dimensional EPL space
over time (see Figure 2.3.1).




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Entrepreneurship


                                                   Leadership



                                                                     Entrepreneurial
                                                                     career aspiration




                             Professional

                          career aspiration                          Professionalism


     Figure 2.3.1. A career aspiration trajectory (dashed arrows) in a multidimensional EPL space

Examining EPL career aspirations is increasingly relevant in an environment in which
individuals can and should grow and apply themselves in all three dimensions. Although
university students may choose a specific discipline or area of study, over the course of their
careers, their careers aspirations may be dynamic over the course of their working lives. For
example, from Figure 2.3.1, a starting engineer might be initially reliant on in-depth
knowledge of a field (professional); this same engineer might later be promoted to
management (leadership) or later still be tasked with the creation of new products or services
to capture a new sector of a market (entrepreneurial). To meet the growing need for such
dynamic careers, universities must encourage and provide opportunities for students to gain
skills in all three career paths.

The CAS incorporates the EPL framework into its survey design for a more comprehensive
and holistic view of career aspirations as well as for a better understanding of how these three
career paths relate to one another. It is expected that the results of the analysis will provide
the university insight into how to tailor its programs to ensure that graduates have the training
they need to ensure them fulfilling careers.

In part, the CAS was designed to overcome some of the limitations of extant measures of
career aspirations. The EPL framework, which encompasses all three career paths, is broader
than other measures. Examination of not only intent, the dominant construct for measuring


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entrepreneurial aspiration among students, but also motivation and efficacy enhances the
depth of the CAS relative to other measures.

2.4    Intent, motivation and efficacy enhance the depth of EPL inquiry
Entrepreneurial intent is defined as a self-acknowledged conviction by a person to set up a
new business venture and the conscious plan to do so at some point in the future (Thompson,
2009). Despite entrepreneurial intent being a key construct in understanding the formation of
business ventures, there was still no reliable way to measure the construct. The CAS
provides a more comprehensive measure of intent by examining it concurrently with other
factors that may contribute to an individual’s career aspirations.

The CAS model encompasses the motivations that influence an individual’s attitudes towards
a particular career path. Motivation for a career path should not be confused with intent. In
the CAS, intent is operationalized as the readiness of an individual to pursue a particular
career path, whereas motivation is based on factors such as personal identification with a
career path and the norms of the immediate social environment that affect the direction,
intensity, and persistence to achieve career aspiration.

According to the CAS model, efficacy is a component of career aspiration. Individuals
seldom pursue a career path in which they possess no expertise. Efficacy is operationalized
as how capable or competent individuals perceive themselves to be at performing the various
proficiencies associated with a particular career path. The survey design for the CAS
incorporates all three factors (intent, motivation, and efficacy) with the EPL framework. For
in-depth details regarding the CAS model see Appendix A.

2.5    Developments and changes in the CAS

Since its inception in 2010, the CAS has been refined and expanded to include a broader
range of factors thought to influence the career aspirations of students. Specifically, the
survey now incorporates scales measuring perceived structural and cultural support for
entrepreneurship. Structural support in this case refers to the institution infrastructure such as
extracurricular activities and programs that promote and develop aspiring entrepreneurs,
whereas cultural support refers to the general socio-milieu in support of entrepreneurship,
which includes the positive attitude and regard of professors, administrators, and peers
towards entrepreneurship.

The CAS and the EPL framework have been gaining validation and interest within the
academic community. Since 2010, the EPL framework and the results of the various CAS
studies have been accepted for presentation at prestigious conferences such as the Academy
of Management (Chan et al., 2012) as well as being published in peer-reviewed journals
(Chan et al., 2012).




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Section 3: NTU CAS 2011

3.1    Methodology
Data collection began on 29 August 2011 and lasted for 7 weeks until the 14th of October
2011. Participants were recruited via email and the survey was administered online.
Participation was voluntary, and a chance to win in a raffle was offered as an incentive for
participation. An additional second raffle was offered only for the students who had
participated in the last CAS as an incentive for repeat participation. As part of the
longitudinal design of this study, survey data were linked to university records to examine the
extent to which career choices may have been influenced by personal background, education,
and society. Detailed procedures including ethical considerations and informed consent are
provided in the research application approved by the NTU IRB on 12 August 2011 (reference:
10/08/05 Amendment).

3.2    Questionnaire
All scales and items used in the 2010 NTU CAS were included in the 2011 NTU CAS, a total
of 54 items measuring EPL intent, motivation and efficacy; a few new items were added in
motivation and intention scales to enhance the measurement reliability. To improve the
entrepreneurial climate scale, some new items were added to measure student perception of
entrepreneurship support by the university/the government. A new scale was also added in
2011 CAS to examine the reasons that deter students from choosing entrepreneurship as their
future career. For full details regarding the 2011 NTU CAS questionnaire see Appendices A
& B.

3.3    Participation
Out of a total of 31,805 students invited to participated in the 2011 CAS, 6,391 (20%)
completed the survey. Data were screened and problematic cases (defined as having two or
more missing responses or highly inconsistent responses with identical items) were removed.
This resulted in 6,162 valid cases. Over half (57%) of the respondents were male (43%
female). A majority of students were 20 to 29 years of age, with 10% below the age of 20
and 4% above the age of 30.

3.4    Representative groups
Data from valid cases were split into four representative groups: Business; Humanities, Arts,
and Social Sciences (HASS); Engineering; and Science. Due to the small size of some
schools surveyed, data from schools such as the S. Rajaratnam School of International
Studies and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information were merged with
HASS data. For similar reasons of size, valid data from the Nanyang Technopreneurship
Centre (NTC) were merged with data from the Business group. Although the participation
rate of 2011 CAS was lower than the 2010 CAS, the participation rate of about 20–25% of



                                                                                  17 | P a g e
the total population was representative of each group. Table 3.4.1 summarizes the 2010 and
2011 CAS participation by group for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Table 3.4.1. Summary of survey participation
                                                           No. of valid     Participation        Participation
                                            No. of
                    Group                                   cases for       percentage of        percentage of
                                          studentsa
                                                           2011 CAS        2011 NTU CAS         2010 NTU CAS
                    Engineering             10,759            2,523            23.45%               37.20%
    Undergraduate




                    Science                 3,843              927              24.12%              39.70%
                    HASS                    3,826              818              21.38%              37.30%
                    Business                3,433              845              24.61%              44.00%
                    Total Undergraduate     21,861            5,113             23.39%              38.70%
                    Engineering             3,676              632              17.19%              29.50%
                    Science                  659               122              18.51%              33.00%
    Postgraduate




                    HASS                     809               147              18.17%              27.80%
                    Business                 726               109              15.01%              16.30%
                             b
                    Others                   304                39              12.83%              38.90%
                    Total Postgraduate      6,174             1,049             16.99%              28.41%
                    GRAND TOTAL             28,035            6,162             21.98%              36.36%
 Note. a NTU student enrolment for AY2011/12.
 b
   Others includes the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, The Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and
 Information, and The Nanyang Technopreneurship Center.




                                                                                                    18 | P a g e
Section 4: Main Findings of 2010 & 2011 CAS

Three key findings reported in 2010 NTU CAS report were replicated in 2011.

4.1    Although only 8% of the students intend to pursue entrepreneurial careers upon
graduation, about 1/3 of all NTU students report having either a viable business idea
and / or have sought information on how to start a business
Similar to 2010, in 2011, 8% of respondents reported a desire to pursue an entrepreneurial
career after graduation, while 69% aspired towards professional careers and 23% towards
leadership/managerial careers. Both 2010 and 2011 CAS showed that about one-third of
respondents (35% and 31%, respectively) reported having engaged in at least two
entrepreneurial activities out of a checklist of 9 possible activities. Similar to the 2010 results,
the 2011 results suggested that even though most respondents did not choose an
entrepreneurial career upon graduation, their nascent participation in entrepreneurial activity
suggests there is entrepreneurial potential that can be nurtured.

                                                                          8%                 Entrepreneurship
                                             23%
                                                                                             Professional
                                                                                             Leadership




                                                                              69%


                                          Figure 4.1.1. Job choice after graduation

                   100%                                                        % students engaging in nascent
                                                                               entrepreneurial activities
                   80%
                                                                                    N = 6,162
      % Students




                   60%
                           47.00%                        3,268 (53%) with ≥ 1 activity
                   40%
                                                            1,908 (31%) with ≥ 2 activity
                                 22.10%
                   20%                    12.20%
                                                   7.50% 4.80%
                                                               2.50% 1.80% 1.10% 0.70% 0.30%
                    0%
                            0       1        2      3       4        5         6         7      8      9
                     Figure 4.1.2. Percentage of students engaging in nascent entrepreneurial activity




                                                                                                            19 | P a g e
4.2    There exists a negative relationship between entrepreneurial and professional
career intentions, suggesting that students generally think of these as “opposing” career
choices.
As in the previous year, the 2011 CAS results indicated that students viewed entrepreneurship
and professional career paths as opposing choices. As intent to pursue an entrepreneurial
career increased, the intent to pursue a professional career decreased and vice-versa (r =
−.24). Likewise, entrepreneurial motivation was inversely related to professional motivation
(r = −.03). Further, while entrepreneurial intent and nascent entrepreneurial activity were
proportionally predicted by entrepreneurial motivation and entrepreneurial efficacy,
entrepreneurial intent and entrepreneurial activity were inversely predicted by professional
motivation (see Table 4.2.1).

Table 4.2.1. Predictors of nascent entrepreneurial activity, entrepreneurial intent, and
professional intent

                                        Nascent entrepreneurial             Entrepreneurial   Professional
  Predictor
                                                activity                        intent           intent
  Entrepreneurial motivation                        .27*                          .63*           −.19*
  Entrepreneurial efficacy                          .28*                          .18*           −.08*
  Professional motivation                          −.07*                         −.05*           .58*
Note. Standardized regression coefficients of predictors reported. * p ≤ .001.

Results of the 2011 CAS showed that risk aversion and passion are key factors that can
explain the inverse relationship between entrepreneurial and professional intent. The
analyses of data showed that professional career intent was proportionally predicted by low
passion for entrepreneurial career and high risk aversion. In contrast, entrepreneurial career
intent was proportionally predicted by passion for entrepreneurial work and low risk aversion
(further discussion on the relationship between career aspirations and risk aversion can be
found in section 5.6.). The inverse relationship between entrepreneurial and professional
intent (and motivation) observed again in the 2011 CAS underscores the value of the EPL
framework—the importance of measuring career aspirations in greater breadth, and studying
the interplay between EPL aspirations and individual career decisions.

4.3    There are proportionally more students with high entrepreneurial aspirations in
Engineering and Business programs than in Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences and
Science programs
Of the four colleges sampled, Engineering (57%) had the most students with high
entrepreneurial motivation followed by Business (48%), HASS (43%) and Science (40%).
These findings were consistent with those in 2010 (see Figure 4.3.1).




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Business (961)                       52.13%                                     47.87%


    Engineering (3,161)                    42.80%                                     57.20%


             HASS (991)                          57.11%                                      42.89%


         Science (1,049)                          60.15%                                      39.85%


                           0%                   25%                   50%                  75%                  100%
                               Percentage of students in each group (n = 6,162)
                Below Avg. Entrepreneurial Motivation       Above Avg. Entrepreneurial Motivation

                                Figure 4.3.1. Entrepreneurial motivation by group
Note. The black line represents the proportion of the student population in each group with lower (left-hand side) and higher
(right-hand side) than average (grand mean) perceived entrepreneurial motivation (standardized around zero).

The Business school (64%) had proportionally the greatest number of students with above-
average entrepreneurial efficacy, followed by Engineering (58%), HASS (49%) and Science
(39%) schools (see Figure 4.3.2).


          Business (961)                36.52%                                      63.48%


    Engineering (3,161)                    42.36%                                     57.64%


             HASS (991)                       50.76%                                      49.24%


         Science (1,049)                           60.72%                                     39.28%

                           0%              25%                50%               75%                             100%
                               Percentage of students in each group (N = 6,162)
                   Below Avg. Entrepreneurial Efficacy      Above Avg. Entrepreneurial Efficacy

                                  Figure 4.3.2. Entrepreneurial efficacy by group
Note. The black line represents the proportion of the student population in each group with lower (left-hand side) and higher
(right-hand side) than average (grand mean) perceived entrepreneurial efficacy (standardized around zero).

As in 2010, the finding that Engineering and Business colleges have proportionally more
students with above average entrepreneurial motivation presents a unique opportunity for the
facilitation and incubation of entrepreneurial endeavors. For example, it may be useful to
design a program to promote cross-discipline partnerships between students, allowing both
disciplines to mutually benefit from each other’s areas of expertise.



                                                                                                             21 | P a g e
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Section 5: Additional / New Observations from the 2011 CAS
This year yielded a number of additional findings and observations. In total four new EPL
areas were explored: 1) reasons for not starting a business, 2) differences in EPL career
aspirations between sub-samples of students (i.e., based on nationality, gender, and education
background), 3) entrepreneurial climate (societal, governmental and university levels), and 4)
changes in EPL over time. Altogether, these serve to provide a more holistic appreciation of
NTU student EPL career aspirations.
5.1    Students with different levels of entrepreneurial motivation and experience had
different reasons for not starting a business
NTU CAS results showed that students with different entrepreneurial motivation and
experience had different reasons for not starting a business. Among the students who already
decided to be entrepreneurs or those who had high levels of nascent entrepreneurial activity /
experience, the main reasons (highest endorsed) that would deter them was a lack of
resources or capital and a lack of relevant training, experience and skills on how to set up and
manage a business. Compared to those who decided to pursue professional or leadership
careers, these more entrepreneurial students did not see starting a business as a gamble or a
risky career option (see Tables 5.1.1 & 5.1.2). Note that scores higher than 3.5 on a 5-point
scale (mid-point 3) are considered “more important” reasons and scores less than 3.1 are
considered less important reasons.
In contrast, those who decided to pursue professional or leadership careers believed that it is
“safer” to be a professional than to start a business, that business involves a “gamble”, that it
is risky and that business owners have too many “hassles and worries”. These are in addition
to “lack of resources” and “lack of relevant training, experience and skills” (see Table 5.1.1).
Table 5.1.1. Reasons for not starting a business by job choice
                                                                                Average score
Reasons not starting a business                                  Entrepreneurship Professional            Leadership
                                                                       (497)         (4,276)                (1,389)
I lack necessary resources and capital.                                 3.9            4.02                  4.02
I lack the relevant training or experience about how to
                                                                        3.52                 3.94             3.78
set-up and manage a business.
I lack knowledge and skills.                                            3.28                 3.62              3.5
Going into business involves some degree of gambling
                                                                         3.2                 3.77             3.72
that one is less likely to encounter in professional work.
Career wise, it is “safer” to be a professional than to start
                                                                        3.01                 3.87             3.75
or run a business.
Business owners have too many hassles and worries and I
                                                                        2.84                 3.47             3.33
just don’t like stress.
I haven’t met friends who would want to start a business.               2.84                 3.05             3.01
It is just too much risk.                                               2.83                 3.6              3.51
There aren’t that many opportunities for new businesses.                2.63                 3.03             3.02
I would rather go for the relative job security of a
professional jobs / career than to face the uncertainties of            2.53                 3.69             3.49
the business world.
I have no passion/interest for it.                                       1.8                 3.06             2.69
Note. Items sorted in descending order based on the mean score of the entrepreneurship group. Highlighted in pink = most
important reasons (mean score > 3.5); highlighted in blue = least important reasons (mean score < 3.10).


                                                                                                         23 | P a g e
Another patterned emerged from examining the number of prior entrepreneurial activities and
the reasons for not starting a business. As the number of prior entrepreneurship activities
increased, the lower the degree of endorsement for the reasons for not starting a business.
For example, although students all reported the “lack of necessary resources and capital” as
the number one reason for not starting a business, the average scores between those with
more than four activities were lower (on a 5-point scale) compared with those with one to
three or no prior entrepreneurship experience (3.86 versus 4.03) (see Table 5.1.2).



Table 5.1.2. Reasons for not starting a business by sum of entrepreneurial activities
                                                                                Average score
                                                                ≥ 4 ENT           1–3 ENT            No ENT
  Reasons not starting a business
                                                                activities        activities         activities
                                                                  (690)            (2,578)            (2,894)
  I lack necessary resources and capital.                          3.86             4.03               4.03
  Going into business involves some degree of gambling
                                                                   3.50              3.65               3.82
  that one is less likely to encounter in professional work.
  Career wise, it is “safer” to be a professional than to
                                                                   3.38              3.71               3.93
  start or run a business.
  I lack the relevant training or experience about how to
                                                                   3.34              3.83               4.03
  set-up and manage a business.
  I lack knowledge and skills.                                     3.12              3.49               3.74
  Business owners have too many hassles and worries
                                                                   3.06              3.28               3.56
  and I just don’t like stress.
  It is just too much risk.                                        3.02              3.44               3.70
  I would rather go for the relative job security of a
  professional jobs / career than to face the uncertainties        3.00              3.39               3.82
  of the business world.
  I haven’t met friends who would want to start a
                                                                   2.78              2.91               3.19
  business.
  There aren’t that many opportunities for new
                                                                   2.71              2.91               3.14
  businesses.
  I have no passion/interest for it.                               2.10              2.52               3.38
Note. Items sorted in descending order based on the mean score of the “ ≥ 4 entrepreneurial activities” group.
Highlighted in pink = most important reasons (mean score > 3.5); highlighted in blue = least important reasons (mean
score < 3.10).




Among those who had some nascent entrepreneurial activity, what distinguished those who
had business ideas to those who were preparing to start a business was a “lack of resources
and capital”—those who were prepared to start or who have had businesses did not think that
starting a business is risky, and that business owners had too many “hassles and worries”.
Further, what differentiated those who had business ideas versus those who did not was that
the latter reported that “there aren’t many opportunities for new businesses” and that they “do
not have a passion for it” (see Table 5.1.3).




                                                                                                     24 | P a g e
Table 5.1.3. Reasons for not starting a business by types of entrepreneurial activities
students engaged
                                                                                    Average score
                                                                    Have or     Preparing     Have
                                                                                                           No ENT
 Reasons not starting a business                                      had        to start   business
                                                                                                           activities
                                                                    business     business     ideas
                                                                                                            (2,894)
                                                                     (513)        (2,162)     (593)
 I lack necessary resources and capital.                              3.9          3.99        4.07          4.03
 Going into business involves some degree of gambling that
                                                                      3.53          3.6          3.75        3.93
 one is less likely to encounter in professional work.
 Career wise, it is “safer” to be a professional than to start or
                                                                      3.47          3.64         3.78        3.82
 run a business.
 I lack the relevant training or experience about how to set-
                                                                      3.37          3.77         3.88        4.03
 up and manage a business.
 I lack knowledge and skills.                                         3.22          3.41         3.57        3.74
 It is just too much risk,                                            3.15          3.34         3.58        3.7
 I would rather go for the relative job security of a
 professional jobs / career than to face the uncertainties of         3.14          3.3          3.49        3.56
 the business world.
 Business owners have too many hassles and worries and I
                                                                      3.11          3.24         3.3         3.82
 just don’t like stress.
 I haven’t met friends who would want to start a business.            2.85          2.85         3.02        3.19
 There aren’t that many opportunities for new businesses.             2.83          2.88         2.86        3.14
 I have no passion/interest for it.                                   2.27          2.41         2.63        3.38
Note. Items sorted in descending order based on the mean score of the “Have or had business” group. Highlighted in pink
= most important reasons (mean score > 3.5); highlighted in blue = least important reasons (mean score < 3.10).


5.2      Differences in EPL career aspirations between sub-samples of students
We examined the EPL career aspirations of students in four sub-samples to determine if any
differences existed between their EPL motivations, intents and efficacies as well as their
reasons for not starting a business.
5.2.1 Sub-sample: Nationality—Singaporean students were significantly higher than
international students in leadership intent and motivation, while the international students
had significantly higher entrepreneurial motivation, intent and efficacy.
Singaporean students’ leadership intent and motivation were found to be significantly higher
than international students’ (see Figure 5.2.1.1). This same pattern was observed across
gender and level of study (undergraduate vs. postgraduate) (see Appendix T).




                                                                                                        25 | P a g e
5

               Agree
                                                  3.96
                                        3.74                                 3.62
                                                                    3.46
                              4                                                               3.39     3.26
        Mean
               –

                              3
               Disagree



                              2

                              1
                                      Leadership Intent         Leadership Motivation      Leadership Efficacy
                                  International Students ( 2,195)            Singaporean Students ( 3,967)

                                      Figure 5.2.
                                               2.1.1.
                                                 1.1. Leadership career aspirations by nationality
                                                                                       nation
Note. Independent sample tt-tests showed that international Singaporean students’ leadership intent and motivation was
significantly higher than international students.. In contrast, international students felt more efficacious to perform
leadership work tasks. * p ≤ .001.

Conversely, the entrepreneurial intent and motivation of international students were
significantly higher than that of Singaporean students (Figur
                                                       (Figuree 5.2.1.2).
                                                                5.        International students
reported more confidence in performing entrepreneurial (Figure 5.2.1.2),
                                                                   5. 1.2), professional (Figure
5.2.1.3),
       ), and leadership (Figure 5.2.1.1) tasks as compared to Singaporean students. These
same patterns were observed across gender and level of study (see Appendi
                                                                     Appendices R–T).
                              5
                   Agree




                              4                                     3.14    2.99             3.05      2.84
                                        2.82
         Mean
                   –




                                                  2.65
                              3
                   Disagree




                              2

                              1
                                    Entrepreneurial Intent   Entrepreneurial Motivation Entrepreneurial Efficacy
                                  International Students ( 2,195)            Singaporean Students ( 3,967)

                                    Figure 5.2.1.2.
                                           5. 1.2. Entrepreneurial career aspirations by nationality
Note. Independent sample tt-tests showed that international students tend to have higher entrepreneurial career aspiration
compared to Singaporean students. * p ≤ .001.

                              5
               Agree




                                        3.86      3.90              3.72                     3.63
                                                                             3.71                      3.35
                              4
        Mean
               –




                              3
               Disagree




                              2

                              1
                                     Professional Intent       Professional Motivation    Professional Efficacy
                                  International Students ( 2,195)            Singaporean Students ( 3,967)
                                      Figure 5.2.1.3. Professional career aspirations by nationality
Note. Independent sample tt-tests
                              tests showed that internat
                                                international
                                                        ional students’ professional efficacy was significantly higher than
Singaporean students
            students.. * p ≤ .001.


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