180DC UNSW extraordinaire says his goodbyes: In conversation with Jim Tong
Seasoned 180DC UNSW consultant Jim Tong reflects on his path through 180DC UNSW
Jim Tong has always had a passion for social impact. In his first year of university, he signed up for 180DC UNSW because “it was one of the only societies at the time that created tangible social impact for non-for-profits”. Four years and nine project cycles later, he’s engaged in almost every faction of the society, learnt invaluable skills along the way and cemented his name in the 180DC UNSW community.
Tong, a fifth year Law and Commerce student, has been a Project Consultant, Project Leader, Events and Marketing Director and Consulting Director with 180DC UNSW, and holds the record for the longest period of time that a person has stayed with the society.
“I remember reflecting on the very first project I completed and felt that it challenged me in ways that I couldn’t have experienced from just attending university classes,” Tong said. “This ranged from client management skills to problem solving, and I felt I could still extract so much more learning if I continued and developed my skills.”
“Eventually, I ended up staying for four years because every cycle presented a new challenge, and that came along with new opportunities to develop myself.”
Reflecting on his time in 180DC UNSW, Tong says that his most memorable moment came from his time as Project Leader, where his team won the bi-annual Social Innovation Pitch Night hosted by the society.
“We hadn’t really realised how much effort and thought we had put into the presentation until the final result,” he said. “I think it shows how much we cared about creating an impact, and putting in the work to achieve that became much easier.”
Despite these successes, Tong’s journey throughout the society has not been easy. Tong says the more difficult challenges come from “facing client problems never encountered before”.
“I remember creating a Social Return on Impact Model for a community transport provider, when I had never created a financial model before,” he said. “Luckily we had mentoring from consulting firms like BCG and Social Ventures Australia to really help guide the team on the process.”
After years of working alongside like-minded student consultants to create social impact, Tong believes that the best way to develop oneself with the society is to be “intellectually curious” and “have an open mindset”.
“Those that are always looking to learn more really excel and develop the fastest,” he said.
Jim is now ready to hang up his boots and ready to move onto his next adventure. When he spoke of his plans after leaving 180DC, he said he’d relax and see what other opportunities he could take up.
“It’s my last year of university so I’m chilling,” he says. “As for where I’m headed - I’ll go to wherever interests me.”
180DC UNSW wishes Jim all the best with his future endeavours.
If you missed out on becoming a project consultant with 180DC UNSW for Project Cycle 1 in 2020, do not fret! Follow our social media pages to stay updated with our events and activities and keep your eyes peeled for recruitment for Project Cycle 1 in 2021.