University students

University students

Developing the next generation to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future

Our take

The next generation of leaders – many of whom are studying at university now – are preparing to live and work in a fast, fluid and disrupted world. To thrive in this new future, students need to develop the skills and mindset that equip them with a leading edge, a global outlook and the ability to have a real social impact.

We don’t just develop skills – we create life-changing experiences for diverse student populations, giving students the breadth of exposure to new ideas, people, thinking and opportunities. These experiences inspire and empower students to transform themselves, their careers and the world.

Who we work with

Quote mark graphic
Dang Quang
Student, RMIT University
"The event has been really thought provoking. Thanks to the many incredible speakers I have gained a better insight on my journey to identify myself, and my leadership weakness and strength."
Sethareach Sok
Student, Panyapiwat Institute of Management
"I got the great opportunity to work with teammates that were from a broad range of cultures as well as majors in the university. I learned that every culture has their own way of working, communicating, having fun and it’s up to us to prepare ourselves to deal with those situations."
Goda Gavenyte
Student, Lancaster University
"The leadership programme is one of the most valuable courses I have ever attended. I met inspiring speakers, broadened my network and gained knowledge about leadership. Because of the programme, I’m more confident I can be a successful leader in the future!"

The challenge

We understand this next generation will face unprecedented employment and leadership challenges. We‘re committed to providing them with skills and experiences that best prepare them for their futures.

Skills for 21st century careers

Our programmes deliver to a leadership competency framework designed with employers and leadership experts. Students gain crucial employability skills and the mindset to begin their careers with confidence, thrive in their roles and take on leadership positions.

Global experiences…reframed

Through a combination of on-campus experiences, short-term outbound mobility programmes and virtual mobility courses, we enable universities to both reframe and deliver on providing global experiences to students in new and innovative ways.

Leadership for good

For many students, Common Purpose is unlike anything else they do during their time at university. They hear diverse perspectives and experience unfamiliar situations as they interact both with peers from across the university and inspirational leaders from different organizations, sectors and cities. The result is that students gain a much broader understanding of the positive impact they can have on the world, on big issues such as climate change and inequality, and the self-belief to go out and achieve it.


Global Leader Experience

Raising our next generation of leaders with invaluable cross-cultural competency

Our Global Leader Experience (GLE) uses immersive and experiential learning techniques to help students develop an understanding of diverse cultures and their vital role in tackling social issues. Cross-cultural competency should be at the forefront of a leader’s decision-making process. GLE future-proofs tomorrow’s leaders with the skills to do this.


Global Futures

Bringing global mobility to a new generation

A powerful 4-week experience immersing students into different cultures, networks and cities while delivering experiential learning techniques which enables them to develop cross-cultural competency in the wider job market.


Global Citizenship

Fostering sustainability leadership now, and in the future

A 3-week experience equipping students with the skills and competencies needed to forge the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and helping them to develop their own individual plans to advance them.


CQ Accelerator

Embedding Cultural Intelligence into the DNA of our future leaders

A 3-week deep dive into our Cultural Intelligence (CQ) framework, allowing students to understand and unpack cultures, as well as teaching them how to tackle conversations with purpose in the context of cultural differences.


Future Leader Experience

Connecting tomorrow’s leaders with today’s changemakers

We enable students to understand real, cross-cultural decision-making by connecting them with senior leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sector. After developing and presenting their ideas with real changemakers, they walk away with the tools to navigate complex issues with Cultural Intelligence.

Next steps

Let's talk

Get in touch with our learning experts to discuss your goals.


By pressing the 'submit' button, you are agreeing to our data privacy terms

How we can work with you


Our philosophy

University students need to prepare now for the future career they want. That’s why we have created our C.O.M.P.A.S.S framework for students – to help them thrive now, but to support them to become high impact, future-ready change agents.


Confidence in your own abilities is crucial in good leadership. So we work with you to develop your self belief in your own leadership and professional abilities, form a network of peers who support and advise, and learn about authentic leadership, and how to bring your whole self to work.


Developing the right mindset – inclusive, courageous and intentional – will give you a better understanding of how your way of viewing the world determines your behaviour and outlook; how you interpret, and respond to situations; and ultimately, how you effectively and efficiently make change happen.


All leadership happens in context – in a particular place and at a particular time. The Common Purpose Good Leadership Model will help you to be effective in different contexts and situations. Adapting better to different contexts, drawing on deep insights and diverse networks to make better decisions or by broadening your horizons to better understand how people and places interconnect.


Attributes are the qualities, behaviours and characteristics we see as being crucial, must haves, to leading change. You must demonstrate these key attributes in your approach:

  • Resilience
  • Agility
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation

And finally you need to develop some key skills to deliver change and cross boundaries, effectively and efficiently. These must be learned, practiced, and refined to enable you to accelerate the pace of change. Across our programmes, to different degrees, you will be given the knowledge, understanding, tools and techniques to develop the following key people skills:

  • Active listening
  • Building trust
  • Decision making
  • Effective questioning
  • Giving and receiving of feedback
  • Influencing
  • Problem solving
  • Reflective practice
  • Storytelling / communication


are more confident to have an impact in the world as a result of their Common Purpose programme experience


of students would recommend their programme to another person


say that the learning and development from the programmes has helped them progress in their careers

Longitudinal impact report

Find out more about our impact

After delivering over 480 programmes for over 27,000 students in over 80 cities across the world, we conducted an assessment of the long-term impact our programmes have had on students over the past 16 years.

Why Common Purpose?

Our pedigree

For over 30 years we have been on a mission to develop people who can cross cultural, institutional, and social boundaries. Working passionately with people to help push the boundaries of what is possible. All so that they can become those who can help us to work better together, be the connectors of our unique lived experiences and lead, with a difference.   

In that time we have played a role in shaping the minds and futures of over 40,000 students and 75,000 professional and academic staff across the globe. 

Working with over 100 universities each year we have developed award-winning, high touch, experiential programmes for students – exposing them to different perspectives, places, organizations and challenges – often at a global scale.  



We understand the challenges and pressures in higher education today. Bringing out the most pressing themes that connect to your audience. Our network of leadership experts also know your context and the culture you work in.  

We believe transformative learning experiences aren't about simply developing new skills. We know that impact comes from shifting mindsets and outlook also.

We are local and global. We understand your world and the world. We bring the outside world in, crossing inter-disciplinary boundaries, ensuring each of our experiences gives you real insights and perspectives from industry leaders and changemakers, in your sector and beyond.   

We put our partners at the centre of everything that we do. We are co-creators with you. We are experts at developing innovative partnerships and building eco-systems around your needs.

We take a stand where it matters but also celebrate the power our independence brings. We convene multiple voices and perspectives, empowering you to find your own voice in the mix. 

We have played a role in over 115,000 leadership journeys from across the globe. We have worked with over 20,000 organizations to ensure impact is at the forefront of everything that we do.