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Survey to show alumni connections and impact

December 7, 2005; updated January 19, 2006

Ever wonder how much economic impact the University and its alumni have on Minnesota--and the rest of the world?

Consider this: more than 5,000 graduates of the U's Institute of Technology and Carlson School of Management have founded at least one company. Some 7,400 of those companies are currently active around the world, employing 756,000 people and generating $148 billion in annual revenue--285,000 people and $67 billion in Minnesota alone. That's according to surveys of 85,000 IT and Carlson School alumni, conducted in the past year.

Carlson and IT surveys

The U's Carlson School of Management surveyed 37,000 of its alumni in August and September 2005 and received 9,105 responses. The findings revealed that there are approximately 3,257 Carlson alumni-founded companies around the world today, and about 1,800 operate in Minnesota. Worldwide, the companies generate $58.3 billion in annual revenue and employ close to a quarter of a million people. In Minnesota alone, these businesses generate about $21 billion in income a year and provide jobs for more than 110,000 people. "The University of Minnesota has long been regarded as an economic engine for the state," says Jim Campbell, Carlson School interim dean. "Carlson School graduates are fueling that engine with incredible horsepower."

Earlier in 2005, the Institute of Technology surveyed its alumni and found 4,150 IT alumni-founded companies around the world--with approximately 2,600 in Minnesota. To learn more about the IT survey results, read "IT alums spur Minnesota economy."

With these kinds of numbers, what would the impact of all 340,000 living alumni look like? The University wants to find out, and this week, hundreds of thousands of alumni will get the chance to help by participating in a University-wide alumni survey.

"We are measuring the impact our graduates have through their work in business, education, research, the arts, medicine, agriculture, architecture, law, and other disciplines, says U President Robert Bruininks.

The survey will also gather information about the social impact of U graduates, asking questions about community involvement; and it will ask alumni about other areas such as satisfaction with the U today and with the student experience they had when they were here. "This survey will help us build better connections with our alumni by understanding what is important to them about their college experience and in their community life today," says Bruininks.

Bruininks noted that the information will also help the University in its strategic planning. "As we move forward with our strategic goals, we want to create a better picture of University of Minnesota graduates," he says. "There are important reasons to do this. One is to make a greater effort to connect with our alumni, who are vital to helping us make this University one of the best. The other is that understanding the social and economic impact of our alumni gives us a better understanding of the University's local and global influence."

Watch for the survey, being mailed this week (January 16) to all but recent grads, with the exception of Institute of Technology and Carlson School of Management alumni. Alumni will also have the option of completing the survey online. The results of this important research will be shared later via alumni publications and the Web.