August 13, 2019
Every college and university (program, department, school, etc.) is increasingly being called on to demonstrate the success of their graduates. The first hurdle is gathering success data about achievements in careers and in life—daunting in and of itself.
A second hurdle, even more formidable, is demonstrating (quantifying) how collectively an institution’s alumni are making a mark on the world socially and economically.
Through innovative data-collection techniques, Harvard has figured out a way to gather and measure both (the individual feeds into the collective) in a “tangible, rigorous, and repeatable way.” How did they do it? Here are a few study highlights to give you an idea.
Tight measures for economic impact-entrepreneurial focus of living Harvard alums
Social impact measures-board service, alumni volunteering, and non-profit entrepreneurial activities
If you’re a research geek, there is additional information in the article about how the researchers addressed outliers as well as how they extracted random samples and compared that data to what was collected.
Obviously, this is a huge undertaking by an exceptional institution. A lesson for all, though, is the ability to tap into LinkedIn to gather even basic information about alumni and their successes. That’s doable at any level you choose—select alumni, a group of alumni, etc., to showcase their individual and collective impact as well.
The resulting data from this study—presented in an informative and engaging manner—can be found at http://www.community.harvard.edu/alumniimpact/.
The full case study is in the May 2016 issue of Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.