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Study-related determinants of university graduates’ entrepreneurship


Objective: The study undertook an assessment – unique in Polish conditions – of the factors related to higher education differentiating the group of graduates of the Jagiellonian University (JU) in terms of their professional activity in the context of taking up employment or starting self-employment.

Research Design & Methods: Lazear’s theory was applied to find study-related entrepreneurship determinants. The study attempted to determine the factors influencing the employment of Jagiellonian University graduates or their self-employment. The following explanatory variables were used during the study: scientific discipline and students’ faculty, professional activity or possibly running a business by the student, mode of study (full-time versus part-time), and scientific and non-scientific activities such as volunteering, undertaking studies abroad, and internships. The analyzes were based on data collected during the alumni career paths research of more than 6000 graduates who completed their studies between 2015 and 2019.

Findings: The Mann-Whitney test and parametric t-Student tests showed that graduates of the JU who started a business, as opposed to those who work as employed persons, already set up a business during their studies and then continued it or started other types of business activity. Regarding the two analysed groups of students, there were significant differences in the completed faculty, study mode (full-time versus part-time), student internships, studies, internships abroad, and volunteering.

Implications & Recommendations: The results of the analyses can be used by several groups of beneficiaries. Firstly, they can be useful for high school graduates intending to start higher education, as they indicate such disciplines and fields of study, after which the chances of professional success are the highest. The second group interested in the results of this work might be university students, who, based on its results, may undertake additional academic and non-academic activities that could increase their chances of professional success. Thirdly, the management of universities can use the results of research when preparing an educational offer that would be best suited to the needs of the labour market.

Contribution & Value Added: The subject of factors differentiating the professional attitudes of university graduates, especially in countries undergoing systemic transformation, is insufficiently explored. Deficiencies in quantitative research based on large sets of data are particularly visible. This article fills this gap by pointing to the factors that significantly affect self-employment or hired work by graduates of the oldest and one of the most renowned universities in Poland.


graduates’ entrepreneurship, graduates’ employment, Lazear’s theory, Jagiellonian University, Poland

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Author Biography

Mariusz Trojak

PhD, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Economics, Finance and Management Jagiellonian University. Mariusz Trojak is a lecturer and researcher in Economics and Finance. His main research focus is on the micro and macroeconomics efficiency and determinants of regional and local economic development.

Paulina Hojda

Graduated from the Institute of Sociology at the Jagiellonian University (MA) and Master’s Programme in Political Sociology at Hőgskolan Dalarna in Sweden. She is a student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at the University of Łódź. She works at the Careers Service Centre for Academic Support at Jagiellonian University and has fifteen years of experience in conducting quantitive research in the area of quality of teaching (University graduates’ transition to the labour market).

Sylwia Roszkowska

Associate Professor at the University of Łódź. Her research fields include labour market economics, educational economics, regional economic development and macroprudential policy. She is an expert in econometric modelling using not only macro-level data but also large individual datasets. She gained experience in conducting analyses on modelling economic trends in Narodowy Bank Polski and several research projects.


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