01 Mar 2016

Measuring Impact

Parsing results from the inaugural Harvard Impact Study
by April White


Nearly 40 percent of Harvard alumni from across all schools have founded for-profit and nonprofit organizations—launching more than 146,000 active ventures with an estimated $3.9 trillion in annual revenues and creating 20.4 million jobs across all sectors and around the world.

That’s just one of the findings of the inaugural Harvard Impact Study, the University’s first effort to quantify the economic and social contributions of its alumni. HBS professor Josh Lerner led the study, which was based on a survey sent to almost 245,000 alumni, with approximately 15 percent responding in part or in full. The results were released in December.

“This study has helped to confirm what we’ve long believed—Harvard University alumni are central players in the global ecosystem of entrepreneurship,” Lerner says. “The research also helps us to better understand the depth and breadth of their roles as founders of firms that collectively have an indelible impact on the world economy by creating jobs, fostering prosperity, and bringing innovative products and services to market.”

In addition to measuring alumni entrepreneurship, the study evaluated board service and volunteerism.

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Read more about the results at community.harvard.edu/alumniimpact


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