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Private individuals, companies, foundations: The University of St.Gallen was able to quickly implement strategically important projects and establish itself as one of the leading business universities thanks to significant donations. Many thanks to our benefactors for their commitment!

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HSG Alumni entrepreneurship study


Further establishment of the entrepreneurial culture.

The promotion of entrepreneurship is one of the central themes in research and teaching at the University of St. Gallen. HSG Alumni – with more than 30,000 HSG graduates one of the most active alumni associations worldwide – actively promotes entrepreneurship at the university. The «entrepreneurship study» is being conducted by Ivo Graffius as part of a doctorate under supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas Bieger.

The project started with conceptual reflections on the «entrepreneur» construct from which a theoretically founded entrepreneurial typology was established. In a next step, a research design was developed which could record the entrepreneurial output of a university in a methodologically controlled manner. As a result, a comprehensive survey among all graduates was conducted which captured the entrepreneurial activity of the alumni of HSG and allowed for a structural analysis. From the data collected, a distinctive picture of alumni entrepreneurship was gained for the first time, which shows different phenomena of entrepreneurship.

The insights gained into form and frequency of entrepreneurial activities of HSG graduates are often surprising and counterintuitive.The explorative-descriptive recording of alumni entrepreneurs raised the question which mechanisms an education at the HSG unfolds for entrepreneurial careers. In order to identify the benefits of an eduction at HSG for entreprenerial careers, in-depth interviews with particularly successful company founders were conducted. These interviews were analyzed using the Grounded-Theory-Mothodology and clearly revealed that different benefit-dimensions of studying at HSG for an entrepreneurial career exist. It came to surface that the interviewed graduates had been able to build up «entrepreneurial capital» during their studies, which they later successfully put to work in entrepreneurial endeavours.

The results of the «entrepreneurship study» provide numerous new insights that can be used at different levels to further establish and promote the entrepreneurial culture of the HSG.The project is in its final phase (as of 04/2022). The results will be published via various channels in the course of the year for university and the public.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bieger
President of the University of St.Gallen

«We are proud of the many entrepreneurs among our alumni and alumnae. Entrepreneurial thinking and action has always been at the heart of the education at the HSG and an element of our Vision 2025. The entrepreneurship study should help to raise even more awareness of entrepreneurship at the HSG and also make the students more aware of it. The different forms of entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship, are important for us.»


We would like to thank the Lienhard Foundation for the valuable support of the project!

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