A qualitative study is presented to answer the research questions of (1) What are the main factors influencing the decision-making behaviours of civil engineering students and (2) What role could education play in enhancing the decision making of both students and practitioners. A pilot co-curricular intervention programme is described that blurs the lines between an academic’s ‘teaching’ and ‘research’ time and a student’s ‘curricular’ and ‘extracurricular’ time engagement to diversify and elevate student-learning paths and career outcomes. The results indicate that the intervention improved critical thinking. Moreover, motivation features heavily in decision making, particularly over the conflict between interest and enjoyment and the reward structures of traditional education and industry. This involves higher levels of intrinsic motivation, especially relatedness with peers and instructors. The findings have both ontological and practical implications and lead to the application of interventions in academic project environments.