180 Degrees UNSW
Starting your 180DC Journey with Sarah Cass | Consulting Director Spotlight
Sarah is a warm-hearted third-year Commerce and Law student majoring in Business Economics. As a Consulting Director at 180DC, she shares with us her experiences as well as useful tips on how to become a great consultant yourself.
Fun facts about Sarah
🥾Recently got into hiking
🏖️Loves to travel
Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you joined 180DC?
Yep, for sure. Well, hi everyone! My name is Sarah Cass and I'm a third-year Commerce and Law student majoring in Business Economics, which I absolutely love. In terms of hobbies, I tried to get into hiking recently, which is fun since I love being around nature. I also love travelling although we haven’t been able to do too much of that much due to the pandemic.
Moving on to why I joined 180DC. I joined the program at the beginning of 2020 as a consultant because I was initially interested in our key message of helping not-for-profits create a tangible social impact. To be completely honest, I didn’t see myself doing any consulting-related work prior to joining 180DC so my time here has definitely shaped who I am today!
Including Consulting Director, what are some roles you have held at 180DC?
I’ve had a really awesome journey with 180DC. Initially, I joined as a consultant in PC1 of 2020 and completed two project cycles. My first cycle was an education whitepaper, which was very data-heavy but at the same time, really pushed me out of my comfort zone to take on more quantitative projects.
My second cycle was a fashion redistribution initiative, which later helped me during my transition into a Project Leader where I worked in the health and nutrition space during my third project cycle. I felt the Project Leader experience was extremely rewarding since I had more autonomy over the project as a whole and was given more responsibilities in leading my team to tackle the client’s problems.
I took on the role of Consulting Director shortly after that and have worked on three awesome projects. In my first cycle as a Director, I worked in the health and wildlife space where we collaborated with a national parks foundation, my second project in that cycle saw me working in the health space where we focused on quantifying the impacts of asthma research. Now in my third project as director, my team has been working in the marine permaculture industry with a client who utilises technology to mitigate the effects of climate change.
What do you think is the biggest difference between the Project Leader and Consulting Director role?
I would say that the Consulting Director role is focused more on front-end work whereas Project Leaders are more hands-on during the consulting cycle. During my time as a Consulting Director, I saw myself doing more discovery work where I was responsible for onboarding the client and helping set the initial direction before stepping into an overseer role for the remainder of the cycle. Whereas as a Project Leader, I did more groundwork and had to be there at every step with my fellow consultants.
What is your biggest advice for students interested in joining 180 as a consultant?
My biggest advice is to take that initial leap of faith and don’t let a lack of consulting experience stop you from applying. The main attributes we look for are the willingness to learn and a genuine interest in social impact.
Otherwise, I would also recommend immersing yourself in all the social events we offer here at 180DC when you get the chance. It is quite easy to get stuck in the work so it's great to take a step back and build strong relationships with your team.
Favourite moment in 180DC?
That’s an exciting question! During one of my project cycles, we worked really hard to help our client find a solution. And not too long after our cycle finished, we were pleased to see on Linkedin that our solution was implemented by the client. It was definitely a full-circle moment where the work we had done over the term came to fruition and had a tangible social impact.
Thank you to Sarah for joining us for this article! If you would also like to become a project consultant with us, you can also keep updated with 180DC UNSW on our Facebook and LinkedIn.