Master’s student Rima Arab
Rima Arab: “We are still looking for students for the projects that begin in the second week of February.” (Photo: Saleh Dadkhahipour)

Interested in a student consultancy focussed on social impact? Master’s student Rima Arab says to consider 180Degrees Consulting.

“I’m currently doing a master’s in Engineering and Policy Analysis at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management (TPM). This is my second year of the master’s but I also did my bachelor’s here. If you study at TPM you know that it’s all about consultancy, doing projects for clients.

I’ve been following a lot of pages on social media for student consultancies and firms that I would like to work for in the future. I saw that 180Degrees Consulting posted an announcement looking for a new board so I applied and that’s how I got involved. There are eight members and I am one of the four consulting directors on the board. My task, along with the three others, is to acquire clients. But at the same time, we also lead teams, working with the students that are consultants on projects for our clients.

We are a student association from both TU Delft and Erasmus University in Rotterdam so the teams are mixed with students from both. The teams are normally six to seven students on a project cycle of one semester and we lead them towards submitting the final work to the client. The teams are very mixed in terms of student backgrounds. For example, you might have aerospace students and business students on the team so it’s very diverse in that sense. We also have bachelor’s and master’s students on the same team.

We try to look for clients that have a social impact. It could be helping refugees, decreasing homelessness or solving environmental issues. When we interview potential clients, we ask what they do, what purpose they are serving, what is their social impact and what are they doing for the community. We also focus on helping local start-ups or social enterprises trying to focus on Delft and Rotterdam. We do get clients from other places around the world, but we aim to focus locally because 180DC has other branches in many countries.

‘You learn a lot of soft skills’

Students who work as consultants get a lot out of the experience. You learn a lot of soft skills like taking responsibility, accountability, making sure that you produce quality work at the end of the project. The responsibility aspect is quite important here. You also learn to work with a diverse group of students, trying to really make something out of the project. Time management and focusing on details are important so when you present something to the client it is really well done.

This current semester we have eight projects and for the next one that starts in February we will have eight or nine. For students that are interested in a consultancy, they have to apply and go through a selection procedure. You send your grades, CV and a motivation letter, and also prepare a presentation about a case and after an interview we select the students. We are still looking for more students for the projects that begin in the second week of February.

What’s important about these consultancies is that you work for real clients so there is a real sense of taking responsibility. It is very fun as well because you meet lots of people and we do social events so there is also a community being built through the process. It’s not a full-time job, but you should spend the eight hours per week you’re working wisely. The more you work and put in the effort the more you will learn and the better you will expand your network. We have people that have been doing consultancies for several years so I would say I don’t think people will regret the experience.”

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