Universities are an essential part of the entrepreneurship and innovation system on both the local and global scale. As such, understanding the impact of university alumni is important. Historically, the great majority of alumni studies have focused on measuring engagement and competencies, and on alumni giving (Cabrera et al. 2005). This chapter highlights the distinctly new phenomenon of alumni impact surveys, which are a relatively new tool used mostly by universities to address policy makers and future students. Much focus has been given in these studies to entrepreneurship, but it has not been well connected to the wider role of universities, or the social impact of alumni. At this moment, only seven universities have conducted alumni impact surveys. All but one are North American institutions. The execution of such large-scale surveys is expensive and time consuming. Moreover, there are many issues involving both the use of the data and its analysis in academic papers. Of the seven surveys, three have been used in five academic publications. Only one has provided a cross-university analysis. This chapter begins with a recount of the origin of alumni impact surveys, it continues with a review of the reasons for and the process of survey implementations; section four highlights the results from the surveys as they were published in university reports; section five reviews the published academic papers. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the state of alumni impact surveys.
Breznitz, S. M., Hills, B. and Zhang, Q. 2019. “Measuring Alumni Entrepreneurial Impact: Standardizing the Practice of Alumni Impact Surveys.” In Al Link and David Audretsch Editors. A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.