In our second Project Leader spotlight of the year, we introduce Nathan Fok, a driven second-year Commerce and Law student who joined 180DC in PC1 of 2021. With plenty of valuable tips and tricks, Nathan will be sharing his lessons to becoming an effective leader within 180DC.
Fun Facts about Nathan:
🏈Massive sports fan
🎵Can play saxophone and oboe
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! My name is Nathan Fok and I am a second-year Commerce and Law student with a major in Finance. I would say that I enjoy the Law side of my degree a little more but I do see myself shifting into the commerce space as my career progresses. In terms of hobbies, I am a huge fan of playing and watching sports. I pretty much keep tabs on every sport including basketball, football and NRL which keeps me on my toes. Some other hobbies of mine include cooking and chilling with my three lovely dogs!
Given your interest in commerce, what type of career do you see yourself working in?
That’s a good question. I believe there are three paths that I would like to explore before I graduate.
The first one is quite popular amongst some of our peers and that is strategy consulting. I would like to get a feel of working amongst some of the top professionals and use my problem-solving skills to tackle challenging issues.
The second path is more in the realm of finance, so looking into private equity and banking.
The final path is a bit less conventional! I’m super interested in doing strategy and operations for a sports franchise. I think that would be very fun!
Can you walk me through your current project?
Currently, my team and I are working with an education-based NFP whose mission is to educate young people about opportunities in Social Enterprise. The main responsibility of our team is to conduct market research for this NFP and advise them on the delivery of their new app.
Some interesting research we have conducted includes competitors’ analysis and finding potential partnerships for the organisation. One thing that I found quite interesting in this project is the number of insights that we were able to uncover from offline methods. Student interviews are surprisingly a great way to gather information, especially when you take into account how aligned our client’s goals are to the values of 180DC and the wider UNSW cohort!
Has the work you've been doing as a Project Leader been different to what you originally expected?
I would say that the work of a Project Leader is quite in line with what I initially expected. I would say that the only thing that caught me off guard was the amount of admin work Project Leaders were expected to do throughout the cycle. During each meeting, I am the one who has to do the prep work and set clear actionable before scheduling subsequent meetings.
Another side to the admin work is setting clear goals and expectations with the client from the get-go. One common mistake that consultants make is falling into the trap of scope creep, where the client gradually increases the scope of a project to the point where it is unachievable in just one project cycle!
Do you have any advice for anyone interested in becoming a Project Leader at 180DC?
My first piece of advice is to have that intrinsic passion for the work you do at 180DC. We focus heavily on creating a positive impact so it would help greatly if this is a field that you already have an interest in. I believe passion is what will get you through the tough times and keep your team engaged throughout a project cycle!
My second piece of advice is always staying 2-3 weeks ahead in your work. I used to only stay 1 week ahead but that was still a little stressful. That’s why I recommend 2-3 weeks because it gives you more time to think about what to do next as well as providing extra breathing room in case anything didn’t go to plan.
My last piece of advice is to always lead by example. Your fellow teammates will always looks towards you during the project cycle so make sure you are constantly putting in the work to a set a clear standard for the team to follow.