Trends in Business Interest Among U.S. College Students: An early exploration of data available from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program
29 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2011
Date Written: November 1, 2009
Actually acting upon one’s propensity toward entrepreneurship, if “entrepreneurship” is defined to include the formation of a new business enterprise or becoming a business owner, most commonly occurs among people who are more than ten years out of college with more than ten years of work experience. The relevant data indicate that the entrepreneur who starts a business while in college or shortly after college is the exception. Yet, the topic of young people’s interest in entrepreneurship is something that is of constant interest and examination. Some of this interest is likely due to the expansion over the last decade of entrepreneurship courses on college campuses. But additionally, popular culture is littered with many stories of college-age entrepreneurs and the incredibly successful companies they have founded (e.g., Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sergei Brin).
In this paper, we analyze existing data about interest in business careers that are available through the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP). Because CIRP was not a program put in place to collect data on entrepreneurship, the data it has collected over time only touches on entrepreneurship tangentially in several places. We believe it is best interpreted within the larger lens of student interest in business. However, CIRP has the advantage of being the most ubiquitous survey of college freshmen in the United States for more than forty years. As such, we are able to look at broad trends in the data across time and demographic groups.
Keywords: entrepreneurship, cirp, cooperative international research program, data, demographic
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