Driven by the growing presence of market forces within higher education worldwide, universities are changing the way they engage with students. This article explores how a university's internal culture relates to engagement with students and their views. It builds on wider research into student engagement and organisational cultures. The organisational cultures of two universities are mapped against a typology developed by McNay, which was extended by the author to include aspects of institutional engagement with students. It appears that corporate and bureaucratic institutional cultures that may respond well to external pressures on institutions (regulation, performance indicators, audits and policy pressure) are not conducive to engagement with student opinion. The stronger preference of students remains a collegial, partnership-based approach for enhancement of the student experience. This study will be of interest to institutional managers, student (union) leaders, academics and practitioners who seek to improve the student experience through effective engagement with student views.