The world of global universities is facing an unprecedented time of change. The quiet hum of learning in the cloister is being replaced in many countries by the rise of the multinational university operating in real time 24/7. When I was head of engineering at Imperial College London, the Rector told me to treat my faculty as a subsidiary company with fi nancial targets contributing to the overall success of the College. The faculty was swamped with outstanding applicants for undergraduate places, especially from overseas, mainly from Asia, who outshone many of their EU counterparts. Limiting the undergraduate intake meant that the fi nancial targets had to be met by high-priced postgraduate taught degrees, research and industrial income. There were almost daily meetings with heads of global companies, international charities, policy makers and ministers from a wide variety of countries. Imperial was and does see itself as a truly global university with tentacles that reach around the world. That the then Chief Operating Offi cer had been an investment banker further emphasised the focus of the senior management team.