Branch in Focus: NYUMay 11, 2017
The NYU branch of 180 Degrees was founded back in 2014, and over the past three years has grown to become one of the most sought-after student groups on campus.
In 2016/17, our branch had 25 consultants working on five projects, eight board members, and five active former CDs helping with touch choices and general advice. Adding to a client base that has grown to include familiar names like Kiva and Venture for America, this semester we were incredibly fortunate to be working with Rainforest Alliance (a repeat client), Pencils of Promise, The Sylvia Center, StreetSquash, and NYU Stern Business School’s Office of Student Engagement. We love seeing non-profits improve operational practices throughout the course of a consulting engagement – one of our clients worked to encourage healthy eating and living through cooking lessons and workshops at community-based organisations in New York City, and they’ve already implemented some of our suggestions to improve program logistics, training curricula, and impact measurement systems. New York is blessed in its density of both service organisations with strong international presences and truly vernacular ones in service of the city and its diverse constituencies. These projects have been some of the most technically challenging yet, and we are incredibly impressed at how quickly consultants have picked up Tableau and VBA, among other tools. Our projects are coming to a close in early May right before finals kick in, and we’re throwing an end-of-semester celebration to show off abridged final project presentations to our professional mentors from Deloitte, PwC, and BCG (who tirelessly keep us on the right track) and the incoming Fall 2017 consultant class.
As always, the highlight of the year was seeing our recommendations adopted throughout the course of an engagement and catching up with clients after the project ended and hearing that our work added value. Client satisfaction is always on our minds. This semester, we added mid-semester check-ins with clients led by our client services director to ensure that projects are going well and to offer a more anonymous stage for feedback. More broadly, we’re hoping to standardize impact measurement of our projects to see where our advice is adding value and where we could improve.
One of the most meaningful aspects of 180 is seeing consultants join as first-years and build some of their strongest ties and friendships at NYU within the organization. We’ve found that a fun way to encourage socializing between project teams has been to set up “coffee dates” where new consultants are challenged to catch up with a certain amount of 180 veterans during their first month in the organization. One of our favorite bonding events this semester was a pizza-making contest (despite the space constraints of New York City apartments); after a few hours of Costco hauling and oven sourcing later, we were kneading dough and sprinkling concerning amounts of shredded mozzarella and mounds of toppings that miraculously all went well together. One of our members made a honey-glazed stuffed crust pesto pizza with the characters “180DC” paved in sausage. We are also just now seeing our first class of consultants who joined in their sophomore or freshman years graduate, and being able to see how 180 has contributed to their personal and professional development throughout their involvement has been truly rewarding.
We’d love to hear from other branches about your semester calendars to inspire planning over summer break! We’d also love to connect with 180 branches around the world and in New York to set up chances for our branches to mingle, especially for consultants going abroad. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!