The supply of student talent is now taking on an increasingly global dimension and this has extended the breadth of university-industry interaction. Set in the context of a rapidly growing international student market, knowledge transfer between academia and business through global student talent supply is an emerging practice. This paper introduces the philosophical and methodological viewpoints and arguments underlying a forthcoming study of university-industry partnering in the global context for higher education. As such, the authors are not seeking answers to the question, but rather reflecting on how answers may be obtained. They propose an interpretive phenomenological approach to explore the nature, meaning and value of university-industry partnering in attracting and retaining the best student talent from around the world.