In Switzerland, every student graduating from grammar school can begin to study at a university. This leads to high dropout rates. Although students’ motivation is considered a strong predictor of performance, the development of motivation during students’ transition from high school to university has rarely been investigated. Additionally, little is known about the relation of motivational aspects with other influences on study performance. The present longitudinal study addresses this research gap and examines the development of economics and management students’ study motivation. It encompasses four waves of data collected throughout the first year, using quantitative online surveys. In total, the sample consists of 820 students. Data is analysed using latent change modelling. Results indicate that students start at a higher level of intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic motivation. The variability of the starting value of the two constructs is also differing. The analysis also shows a gradual decline in students’ motivation. Above all, the transition from secondary to higher education seems to be a driver for this decline.