Universities come in all shapes and sizes, each facing similar pressures, each with a different vision and approach. In today’s climate, what is paramount to all is a focus on the student experience and a strategy to ensure as many satisfied customers as possible.
The role of the university is increasingly not just to provide a degree, but to prepare every student coming through the doors for what lies ahead. Whilst education remains the core purpose of universities, the education needed for today’s world is arguably broader than it has ever been. Universities are facing up to that responsibility in different ways, and are constantly looking to improve their offering.
There’s certainly no "one size fits all" approach. Campuses are a rich mix of students from a huge range of backgrounds - students who are the first in their family to go to university, students from low-income backgrounds, disabled students, international students, mature students - the list goes on, with every student, no matter what their background, shouldering different pressures and uncertainties about the future.
Having the opportunity to work with these students is my favourite part of my job. We work with a number of universities in the U.K., and around the world, to prepare students for their futures. Our leadership programmes help students to develop the ability to cross boundaries and learn how to lead change in their city. Each programme we run brings together a diverse range of students who all have different goals, ideas, and ways of thinking and presenting themselves. This variety means that every learning experience we deliver is different. On paper, we give students the opportunity to learn from senior leaders they otherwise would not have met, and to test their skills by tackling the real challenges they’ll face in the world of work. In reality, we empower students to feel comfortable being their own authentic self, to help them to draw out and build upon the skills they may not have known they had, to see themselves as leaders and to feel prepared for the next step on their journey.
The world needs leaders who are ready and able to tackle the enormous challenges we face, and it’s a real privilege to work with the students who will solve them.