Common Purpose
Global Leader Experiences

A leadership development programme for students.

Global Leader Experiences

A Global Leader Experience (GLE) combines face-to-face programme days with online learning to give you the skills and networks to work across boundaries and become a global leader. Together with 100 students from a minimum of 25 nationalities you will develop leadership skills and gain Cultural Intelligence: the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.

Over the course of the programme you will work in groups to tackle a global Challenge. You will be asked to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself within your city—going behind the scenes at organizations and hearing first-hand from senior leaders.

This face to face experience is supported by an online community, where you can learn and innovate with Common Purpose Alumni around the world.

Global Leader Experiences

Over the next three years we aim to run Global Leader Experiences regularly in 50 Magnet Cities of the world developing students as responsible, global leaders with Cultural Intelligence.

Zhong Lisha, Student, National University of Singapore

"These four days have been an amazing journey. I've learnt so much from my peers and mentors and I have a deeper understanding of what leadership really is."

The Learning Journey


Stage 1: 360

After your application has been accepted, you will join the 360 online portal. The 360 portal is an online community that allows you to make connections with students from across the world, to develop your ideas, to consult, collaborate and drive innovative solutions to real-world challenges. The portal also contains articles, videos and blogs, as well as activities to reflect on your leadership learning before, during and after the programme days.

Stage 2: Face-to-face programme

Programme Day 1
Get to know the group. Explore the concept of Cultural Intelligence and develop your ability to work with people who are not like you. Hear from senior leaders, across sectors, on how different leaders operate across boundaries. Receive an expert briefing on the Challenge—previous challenges have addressed topics ranging from low-carbon economies to urban sprawl.

Programme Day 2
Continue to work as part of a diverse group. Learn about each other’s leadership styles and cultural influences. You will then explore the Challenge first-hand by visiting organizations across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in your city. Hear different perspectives from leaders who will share challenges, successes and personal stories from their own leadership journey.

Programme Day 3
Deepen your understanding of the Challenge by further immersing yourself in organizations across the city. Then turn your knowledge into practical, scalable solutions. Work in groups to collate your findings and start to look at the gaps and potential ways to tackle the Challenge. Mentors from a global organization will join you to help your group refine, test and develop your prototype idea.

Programme Day 4
Receive a masterclass on pitching, before presenting your ideas to a panel of experts and city-leaders. Receive on-the-spot feedback on your idea, presentation and how you have worked as a group. After the pitch you will have time to reflect on the leadership skills and Cultural Intelligence you have developed and how you can use these to create change—at university, in your city and in your future career.

Stage 3: Working the Network

After the face-to-face programme days, you can continue to engage with your peers online. You will have the option to further develop your Challenge solutions, as well as collaborating with our global alumni network—providing and receiving feedback on your ideas. There will also be activities and resources so you can continue to reflect on the leadership skills and Cultural intelligence you have developed.

Impact: on Individuals

Donut Chart

94% of students say our programmes have helped them develop as leaders
93% say they are better able to Lead Beyond Authority
94% say they have clarified their purpose
96% say they have grown their Cultural Intelligence

Donut Chart

96% of students say our programmes have helped them gain broader networks
96% say they are better able to build relationships 
96% say their ability to spot connections has improved 
96% say they are better able to work in collaboration 

Donut Chart

95% of students say our programmes have helped them make better decisions
93% say they are better able to thrive in complexity 
97% say they are better able to widen context
95% say their ability to confront bias has improved

Donut Chart

95% of students say our programmes have enabled them to drive bold innovation
92% say they are able to think the unthinkable
96% say they are better able to leverage diversity 
96% say their ability to move to action has improved 

Global Leader Experiences

One hundred students from a minimum of 25 countries work together over four days to tackle real global challenges and develop their Cultural Intelligence.

Rakesh Khurana, Dean, Harvard College

"In our ever more complex and interconnected world which has no obvious historical parallel, Common Purpose has developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to navigate both this new world and its contradictions. It has important implications and raises questions about our current systems for those of us involved in educating and developing our future global citizens."