University-business cooperation has risen to one of the top priorities for many higher education institutions, with its importance mirroring attention from scholars and policy makers worldwide. Despite prolific research in this area, however, few have investigated curriculum-related university-business cooperation or its facilitators. Hence, this study investigates five mechanisms as drivers of business engagement in the design and delivery of the curriculum and the alignment of the curriculum with business needs. Results of a European-wide survey of higher education institution managers show the positive impact of senior management engagement, alumni networks and external communication of university-business cooperation, particularly on business engagement in curriculum design and the curriculum meeting industry needs. The higher education institution’s dedication of resources emerged as irrelevant in this context. The conceptual model is validated across higher education institutions with different levels of curriculum-related cooperation with business and across three countries, leading to implications for management and future research directions.