The streetwise mba: Manchester

A programme for leaders who want to be more inclusive: to lead diverse teams, serve diverse customers and work with diverse stakeholders.

Modern organizations need modern leaders.

Leaders who are inclusive and agile. Leaders who can lead diverse teams, serve diverse customers and work with diverse stakeholders. That’s why Common Purpose is running the streetwise mba.

Inclusive leadership: the next step

For modern leaders, the next step in their leadership development is Cultural Intelligence (CQ).

CQ doesn’t just encourage inclusive thinking, it translates it into action. CQ enables leaders to work across different cultural boundaries: geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds and beliefs.

The best place to develop CQ is in the great cities at the points where cultures collide. That’s why the streetwise mba takes participants to learn from the leaders operating at these points of collision, who, through their leadership, prevent crashes and create sparks of energy and creativity.

Participants work within a group that could well be the most diverse community they will ever be a part of. In doing so, they begin to unpick their own culture—and the blind spots it may have created—in order to become agile, inclusive, culturally intelligent leaders.

Tom Higgins, Business Leader, Laing O’Rourke Construction North

“Common Purpose programmes take our leaders out of their familiar environments and expose them to new people, new thinking and new opportunities.”

Who is it for?

The programme is for emerging leaders in the city. They could be leaders who are:

  • about to take on a bigger role
  • leading colleagues from many different cultures
  • being challenged to operate outside their specialism
  • working with customers or stakeholders from different sectors
  • in transition and know they need to adapt fast
  • determined to succeed despite ambiguous environments
  • acting as innovators—even disruptors—of systems.

The Group

Every streetwise mba includes up to 50 participants: all from different backgrounds and with hugely varied experiences; all leaders from across the public, private and NGO sectors. Past Participants include:

  • Founders of start-ups and young organizations
  • Communications Officers in large charities
  • Representatives in religious organizations
  • Detective Chief Inspectors
  • Special Advisors to city officials
  • Senior Officers in financial institutions
  • Heads of Operations in prison services
  • HR professionals in global banks and consultancy firms
  • Civil servants
  • Heads of Digital Content
  • Programme Directors in the Health Service

The outcomes

The streetwise mba develops leaders to become inclusive and agile, with the CQ to work more effectively with diverse colleagues, customers and stakeholders. They will:

Develop as leaders

Becoming inclusive leaders, with the skills and the understanding to inspire different people in uncertain, complex environments.


Make better decisions

Learning to recognize their biases and blind spots—and even move beyond them—so they can make better decisions. 

Gain broader networks

Seeing the world through other people’s eyes; and forging new relationships with a broader range of people.


Drive bold innovation

Learning how to lead diverse groups to create innovative solutions by seeking out difference and even discord, instead of avoiding them.


of participants say they have developed their leadership skills after the programme


of participants say their ability to make better decisions has improved.


of participants say they now have broader, more diverse networks


of participants say their ability to drive innovation has significantly improved.

Anne McCarthy, Director Learning and Development, Royal Mail

“At Royal Mail we are proud to be a part of the community and celebrate diversity. That’s why we are putting our high potential talent on Common Purpose’s streetwise mba. It helps them develop into more inclusive leaders who work more effectively with their colleagues, customers and stakeholders in Royal Mail.” 

The programme

Throughout the streetwise mba, participants investigate CQ. They use the core and flex® framework to digest their learning, explore their own culture (its strengths and weaknesses) and translate this learning into changed leadership behaviours. Most of all, participants learn from each other, in possibly one of the most diverse groups they will ever be a part of. They use the core and flex language to hold difficult conversations with peers from very different backgrounds.

(Six hours)

Our online accelerator allows time-poor participants to maximize their eventual face-to-face experience. The accelerator requires participants to work as a group but can be completed in their own time. They also take the streetwise assessment, which helps them to identify their leadership strengths and areas for development.

(Four days)

Our participants want maximum access to Manchester and leaders in Manchester; each day is hosted in a different venue in a different part of Manchester.

Masterclasses allow participants engage with leaders in Manchester who have learned to work in places where cultures collide. They may have had to overcome the constraints of their own culture, recover from knocks, reconcile worlds, stand up in difficult situations or adapt and flex without compromising on who they are.

Immersions place participants at Manchester’s cultural collision points, to learn from the successes and the failures of the people who lead there— whether that’s bankers, police, artists, activists or religious leaders.

Peer coaching allows participants to unpick leadership challenges—and reflect on their streetwise assessments—within a group of people from different backgrounds, who approach problems in completely different ways

The streetwise mba sustains the impact of the programme as participants apply their learning back to their organization. Our light but structured post-programme follow-through allows them to:

Translate (face-to-face: one evening) Participants attend with their line manager, mentor or coach, who will be helping them translate the learning back into the organization.

Exchange (online: four hours) Participants reflect on their learning and share challenges and insight through an online platform. This is a chance to reconnect with peers who approach problems in completely different ways.

Re-assess (online) Participants complete a second streetwise assessment three months later to identify where they need to place renewed energy.

Network (continuous) Participants become Common Purpose Alumni, continuing their learning in a community of over 60,000 leaders worldwide.

Working with you

We work with many organizations who see the streetwise mba as a way of delivering current strategies in Talent, Leadership and Diversity & Inclusion.

The programme’s focus on real-world experiential learning as part of a diverse group can be a highly effective way of supporting existing initiatives. We work with you to understand your objectives and offer ways to create organizational impact.

Cohorts: Our cohort model is designed to ensure that learning is embedded within the organization. Nominate a cohort of people across different departments who, together, could use their learning to promote a more inclusive culture. The streetwise mba runs multiple times a year and can support six members of the cohort in each instance.

Assessments: We compile comprehensive reports based on assessment data taken during the programme. As a result, you can track individual or cohort’s behaviour change during and after the programme, and how that change can create impact in their organizations.

Bespoke workshops: After the cohort has completed the streetwise mba, we deliver a bespoke workshop in your offices for members of the cohort, their line managers, their mentors and their guides. This helps to ensure that the learning is translated back to their teams.

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.”

Programme Information


Upcoming programmes:

Online accelerator: opens 13 November 2017 
Face-to-face programme: 5 – 8 December 2017 
Translate: 1 February 2018

Online Accelerator opens: 3 April 2018
Face to face programme: 24 - 27 April 2018 
Translate: 14 June 2018

Online Accelerator opens: 10 September 2018
Face to face programme: 2 – 5 October 2018 
Translate: 6 December 2018


A diverse group of up to 50 emerging leaders on each programme from different sectors, specializations, backgrounds and beliefs.


£5000 +VAT (some discounts available for multiple places)


Please contact us if you’d like to know more.

If you are interested in this programme please contact:
or call +44 (0)161 998 0447