Part 1: Joining the 180 Degrees Consulting Executive team
By Charan Naidoo
Interested in becoming the President, Vice President, or Partnerships Director of 180 Degrees Consulting at the University of Melbourne?
Keen to learn more than what is defined in the position description?
Read on as the current President, Vice President and Partnerships Director put themselves in your shoes and tell us why they applied for their respective roles and share other useful information.
Jeffrey’s experience as Events and Marketing Director gave him significant insight into the branch. It was during this time that he began to formulate a vision for the branch. Jeffrey had a number of exciting and innovative ideas, which could best be further developed and implemented in the role of President. These ideas included increasing the public reach of the branch (e.g. increasing attendance at events), formalising the training program for consultants and creating a tight-knit community. Jeffrey tells me that he has achieved the bulk of his objectives- a notable accomplishment (politicians take note!).
Key capabilities required by the role:
Jeffrey highlighted three central requirements for the role:
The President must be willing to trust their Executive to implement their shared vision for the branch. Jeffrey explains that greater autonomy ensures that the members of the Executive harness their skills and capabilities to the benefit of the branch, improving performance.
2. Clear expectations
The President must set clear expectations for the Executive and the consultants. This often takes place through ‘expectations sessions’ where key values are discussed (e.g. regular communication) and implemented (e.g. response expected within 24 hours on Slack).
3. Passion and commitment
Last but certainly not least, PASSION! As Jeffrey says, the President needs to be able to ‘live and breathe’ the organisation. The President must also be willing to prioritise their role over other commitments.
Vice President- Will
Will loved his experience as a Team Leader, so much that the worst part of his role as Vice President was that he could no longer be a Team Leader! As a Team Leader, Will developed ideas to improve the organisation which could best be implemented as Vice President.
For example, he recognised that the high level of attrition experienced by the branch was common for a university society. Nonetheless, he wanted for the Executive and the consultants to ‘see 180 Degrees Consulting as a journey, more than something done for a semester’.
Project idea for the future President or Vice President:
Will suggests to future Presidents and Vice Presidents to consider implementing training for consultants on ‘structured innovation’. While consultants are well equipped with knowledge on how to analyse and break down a problem, Will believes that more should be done to teach consultants how to think creatively about consulting problems. This could further improve the advice offered to clients.
Tips for applying:
Will has three tips for applicants:
1. Talk to us first
Will recommends that applicants set up a time to chat with him or Jeffrey before applying. A friendly conversation about the role will ensure that the position matches your interests and capabilities.
2. Be prepared for the interview
Will recommends that applicants have clear, actionable ideas to present in their interview (e.g. how to implement ‘structured innovation’ training).The President and Vice President roles have great potential for implementing strategic initiatives. Be creative and tell us where you want to take the branch in the future.
3. Be yourself
Will reminds applicants that they are not applying for a traditional job. Applicants should let their personality shine through in their application. Will and Jeffrey look for personality and cultural fit before anything else.
Partnerships Director- Natasha
Best parts of the role:
Natasha enjoyed collaborating with a proactive team to deepen the impact of the Branch’s Not-for-profit and social enterprise clients. She enjoyed the challenge of developing the Branch’s client base amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project idea for the next Partnerships Director:
Natasha suggests that next year’s Partnerships Director implements in-person the consultant development program and events that were run online this year. She also suggests that the Director continue to create new opportunities to add value to Not-for-profit clients. For example, Natasha replaced the hypothetical question of this year’s case competition with a real problem faced by the Southern Migrant Resource Centre. This helped the Southern Migrant Resource solve a challenging, real-world problem.
What to know before applying:
Natasha wants applicants to know that the role requires some flexibility. Collaborating with full-time industry professionals means that the Partnerships Director may need to make themselves available outside business hours. However, she assures applicants that the experience is worth this flexibility!
The exec are happy to answer any questions via Slack, or email.
Jeffrey Xia, President:
Will Henderson, Vice-President:
Natasha Kennedy-Read, Partnerships Director:
Calum McConville, Consulting Director:
Jessica Chen, Marketing Director:
Adon Ewing, Events Director:
Jamie Waters, People and Culture Director: