Musumba, Mark (2006-12). Factors influencing international graduate students' preferences concerning where they prefer to start their careers. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Students?????? career decisions can impact the global economy through brain drain and gain. This study investigates factors affecting international students?????? preferences regarding where to start their careers. It is an ex ante study, conducted before final career decisions are made, and uses micro-level primary data. Information was collected from international graduate students at Texas A&M University, using a computer-assisted survey. Multinomial probit and logit models were used to analyze the data. Unique to this study is that students could indicate they are not sure where they prefer to start their careers. An inference from the statistical test based on the inverse Mills ratio is that there are no significant differences between two groups, those who are not sure and those with defined preferences. Fifty-one percent of the students surveyed indicated they preferred to begin their careers in the U.S., 22 percent preferred their home countries, and 27 percent were not sure. Of the students who preferred their home country over the U.S., significant influencers are political and career indices, number of years lived in the U.S., enrollment in Engineering and Business, and gender. A change in either the political or career indices to favor the U.S. systems and more years lived in the U.S. both increased the likelihood of students?????? preferring to start their careers in the U.S. Both female students and students enrolled in Engineering and Business were more likely to prefer the U.S. For students unsure of their preferences, significant variables are career and civil indices, number of years lived in the U.S., degree level, source of funding, and marital status. Results are consistent with previous studies, but with notable differences. For students who are unsure of their preferences, salary differences between the U.S. and their home countries are not statistically significant. Contrary to earlier literature, regional differences do not have a statistically significant effect on students?????? preferences. Consistency between this study of preferences and previous studies on actual decisions indicates students act on their preferences when starting their careers. Hence, this study??????s results provide insights for policies to deter brain drain or to enhance brain gain.

publication date

  • December 2006