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Lead a team to success: become a project leader with 180DC

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

Photographed: Adam Stanley reveals his tips and tricks for acing the 180DC project leader interview.

Adam Stanley is a fourth-year commerce and mathematics student and carries a wealth of knowledge and experience with 180DC UNSW. Since joining in semester 1 of 2018, Stanley has been a consultant, an events director, project leader, treasurer and a consulting director. Now, he's here to share his secrets on acing your next project leader interview for Project Cycle 1!

1. What does being a good project leader involve?

Project leaders are the most important members of 180DC hands down. At their core, they are in charge of ensuring that the project is delivered to the quality expected of a 180DC team and more importantly by the client, and that every member of the team feels like they are part of a team on a meaningful endeavour to make an impact in our client. Hence, a good project leader is anyone who can balance delivering a high-quality project while providing an inviting and exciting team atmosphere is a great project leader.

2. What has been the most rewarding thing about being a project leader?

Being a project leader drives you to gain a better understanding of how people think, feel and act, and that experience has been invaluable for me both personally and professionally. For example, while preparing for my first project as a project leader I came across a quote from a COO named Horst Schulze; ‘people endure orders and directions, but people respond enthusiastically to motives and objectives.’While going through my first project, I made sure to live out this principle by trying to make everyone’s tasks tie back to a fundamental purpose for the project, which (for the most part) worked really well as we delivered a project the client was very happy with. I found this lesson most rewarding because it is something I’ve been able to apply everywhere, both as I’ve moved up to Consulting Director at 180DC and other roles outside 180DC.

3. Was there a time in which you were able to apply your mathematics knowledge to add value to your 180DC project?

Generally, I have found my skills in breaking down and visualising a problem as a limited set of key variables learned in math has been helpful throughout my experience in 180DC. For example, during my first project in 180DC I was in charge of building a model that quantified the impact a particular health charity in Dubbo was having on their community. This required me to identify what the key impacts the group was having on their community and express that impact in the form of equations.

This skill was evidently useful for our project, as the client was able to secure an essential $150,000+ a year in funding from the government as a result of the model we prepared for them. So, while my knowledge of the Couchy-Goursat theorem (sadly) hasn’t come up directly in my projects, the discipline has prepared my mind for the projects I’ve done at 180DC.

4. What advice do you have for those looking to become a consultant or project leader with 180DC?

Focus on your accomplishments and how they tie to your passions, not just your titles. A lot of times people have it sold to them that interviews are all about where you worked and what positions you’ve held, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

We as interviewers are interested in learning about what makes you tick as a human being, since we ultimately need to know how well you would get along with our members and how aligned you are with our mission as an organisation. So, take time in your interview to convey how your passions and interests drove you to your accomplishments, and how those interests and passions are aligned with our mission of making distinctive, lasting and substantial impact on people in need by delivering high quality projects to socially conscious organisations.

Consultant and Project Leader applications close on February 18 so get in quick!

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