Cambridge joins Oxford and LSE to create ‘Davos for students’

Keeping up with the Cantabs? It’s called ‘Collegium’ and university societies from the Ivy League to Japan have already signed up

Cambridge Collegium Garden Party Grantchester meadows Guild Oxford RAG The Cambridge Guild The Tab Cambridge

A group of Cambridge students have got together with their counterparts at Oxford and the LSE (uniting the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’) to call attention to the world beyond Tripos. The latest innovation from the university entrepreneur mill is the Collegium Global Network.

Planning to hold the first “Davos for students”, it is a network of the world’s leading bright young minds spearheaded by the prestigious Oxford Guild and just-relaunched Cambridge Guild, along with their sister society from a place called the London School of Economics.

Members, who will be from the world’s best universities, as well as leading young professionals and school leavers, will receive a boost to their career paths through the network’s provision of contacts, experienced mentors, access to capital, events and online resources.

And, after holding its one-thousand strong launch event in Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre the other week with Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Collegium has landed in Cambridge.

The Tab can now reveal that Collegium will be hosting, jointly with Oxford, the Upstart World Summit in November – set to be the world’s largest student entrepreneurship competition and conference. There is also a joint Oxford, Cambridge and London ball coming up in London in Michaelmas in addition to a trading competition.

More immediately, on June 9th, a garden party in Grantchester Meadows held by RAG and the Cambridge Guild aims to get the message out there.

Nobel Prize winner Yunnus (left) looking very happy at the launch event

Nobel Prize winner Yunus (left) looking very happy at the launch event

What is the message? From the Latin for ‘joined together’, Collegium’s founder Abbas Kazmi describes it as a multi-disciplinary network for “the most talented, ambitious and impressive young people from around the planet who are the leaders of the future in their respective fields, communities and the world as a whole.”

The rhetoric is, it seems, substantiated. Collegium has the backing of top recruiters and has landed Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winner famed for being one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, as its Honorary President.

The launch event with Yunus

Who gets to enjoy all this, then? A hyper-meritocracy, the criteria to join the network is not a membership fee, but is on merit. It is open to “exceptional” young professionals, students and school leavers.

But students can short-cut the joining process by becoming a member of one of the university societies participating in Collegium, which has developed from the National Union of Student Business Societies in the UK that was set up in 2012.

There are 40 Universities involved so far from Harvard and the Ivy League to Milan’s Bocconi to Japan and beyond.

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Collegium sponsored TedxOxbridge, whose heavyweight backers included Uber

Alongside the Oxford Guild, the recently relaunched Cambridge Guild and LSE Business and Finance Guild are at the forefront of Collegium. The Cambridge Guild, was originally Cambridge Futures and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The Oxford Guild has won over 10 national best society awards in the past three years and been featured in over 1000 newspapers in over 100 countries.

Hosting over 120 events a year for its thousands of members, with speakers such as Kanye West, top CEOs and Nobel Prize Winners, and running their own Accelerator, the Oxford Guild is working with the Cambridge Guild with its shared board that includes Andy Quach and James Wells from Cambridge and Abbas Kazmi at the Oxford end.

“The old foes Oxford and Cambridge have united forces and exciting times are ahead”, Kazmi said.

He added: “We really feel that there is an urgent need for an organisation such as Collegium that focuses on recognising, developing, connecting and helping the most talented young people and stars of today so that they become the leaders of the future and can be as successful as they have the potential to be and make the greatest impact. There are many exciting initiatives including the ability for ideas from members to be incubated and funded through Collegiate Capital.”

Last year's ChariTea Grantchester Meadows Party

Last year’s ChariTea Grantchester Meadows Party

Kazmi’s enthusiasm will no doubt be shared by Cantabs facing the current level of competition in the job market. For the opportunity to sign-up, The Cambridge Guild will be offering more information at the ChariTea Garden Party on June 9th.

With progress at last being made to shake up the rather languid university careers society scene, the recently-relaunched Cambridge Guild, in cooperation with Collegium, just two weeks ago headline sponsored TEDx Oxbridge at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. 

In any case, Collegium, through its partnership with the Cambridge Guild, looks set to liven the careers process. We will be watching this space closely.