12 May 2021
About 180 Degrees Consulting
180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest university-based consultancy for non-profits and social enterprises. They operate in more than 35 countries in over 150 branches, one of which is based at the University of Edinburgh.
180 Degrees aim to connect the untapped capabilities of university students with socially conscious organisations. This way the non-profit organisations, which do not traditionally work with consultancies, can benefit from fresh knowledge and custom solutions while providing students with real-world work experience that has a positive social impact.
New projects are introduced every semester and students from all degrees are invited to apply. The diversity of students coming from a wide range of degrees is enriching, as everyone brings a different perspective into the work. If you are successful, you will work in a small team on a project for a non-profit organisation or social enterprise.
Before starting the project, you receive training introducing the 7-Step Consulting Framework along with other useful tools that support you throughout the process, from defining the client’s problems to delivering recommendations.
All training and project work takes place online. During the training, the organisers make sure there are opportunities to get to know other consultants. Various additional career oriented social events are organised, some introducing guests working in different areas of consulting.
The 180 Degrees Consulting Case Competition
Training comes to a close with a case competition which helps apply what you learn to a business case. Working in small teams, you intensively brainstorm solutions for a few hours; then you present the solutions at the final presentations and at the end, they announce the winners.
It was a great experience, which also shows how much can be done during a few hours of very intensive work in a team. The short amount of time given, required us to use smart time-management skills as we needed to work effectively, distribute tasks, arrive at the best solutions, and create a presentation. My brain was fried at the end of the afternoon but it was definitely worth it!
Every team works on a project with a different organisation. We worked with The Hygiene Bank, which was created when its founder, Lizzy Hall, watched Ken Loach’s film "I, Daniel Blake".
This film depicts the hard reality of a single mother who is forced to shoplift as she cannot afford the essential hygiene products. According to the Social Metrics Commission, over 14 million people in the UK live in poverty; it is known that people cannot afford toiletries long before they come to a food bank (The Trussell Trust).
Our task was to develop a strategy to address areas of need where there was no existing projects. Regular communication with The Hygiene Bank enabled us to learn lots about the project we were working on and also to make sure our work was going in the right direction. I personally learned the importance of planning in advance as an individual, as a team, and having some extra time in case some unplanned events happen.
There is a number of opportunities for student consulting at the university, and it is not only for students aiming for a career in consulting, because the skills you develop and the training is applicable to a variety of other projects and careers.
In addition, you will meet many talented people from other degrees and work on a project with a positive impact on our society.
Here are some useful links for consulting at the Busines School and the University of Edinburgh in general:
- 180 Degree Consulting Edinburgh
- 180 Degree Consulting Edinburgh Facebook
- Edinburgh University Consulting Club Facebook
Dominika Chrastilova is studying for the MSc in International Human Resource Management.