This nation-wide study inquiry concerned the intended future careers of medical students at the end of their studies and those of a cohort of first-year students. More first-year than final-year students hoped to obtain a position as a hospital physical or surgeon with management responsibility and twice as many men as women wanted such a position in both cohorts. High self esteem, having a doctor as father and successful examinations at medical school were associated with a high level of ambition. Compared with first-year students, more final-year students preferred family medicine and internal medicine, and less preferred surgery, psychiatry and social medicine. Plans for specialisation were influenced by the father's education level, successful examinations at medical school, whether they had children or not, and the university of graduation. More women preferred gynaecology, more men preferred surgery. The interest for surgery among female students is high compared with the low share of female surgeons. Assuming that these trends persist, psychiatry, laboratory medicine and social medicine risk insufficient recruitment. The share of women holding clinical professorships will probably remain low, even in a generation with more female than male medical students.