My name is Lukas Bielmeier and I am the current Vice President of 180 Degrees Consulting Lund. Together with some of my study colleagues, I was part of the initial founding team of 180DC Lund. In addition to that, I also worked as a Consulting Director for 180DC Lund during the past semester. Besides my work for 180DC, I currently study for a double master’s degree at Lund University and Aalborg University, where I study Innovation & Global Sustainable Development as well as Social Data Science.
Why get involved?
As a student, you will always have to find a balance between doing work that is related to your studies and things you want to do next to studying. While some people choose to spend their non-study time learning new languages or discovering the Swedish culture, others want to engage in organizations or companies to complement their theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on experience. However, with only a limited amount of time available, why should you engage in a non-profit organization without earning any money from it?
Let me tell you why I chose to be a founding member and consulting director of 180DC Lund and how it has helped me advance both personally and professionally. As someone studying my master’s in Innovation & Global Sustainable Development, I am naturally drawn to work that has an impact – either socially or ecologically. As for many newly arrived students in Lund, it was my first time living in a foreign country for a longer period of time. Not only was I uncertain about what my studies will bring and how much time I’d have to invest in learning, but I was also unsure about whether or not I wanted to work along with my university studies.
Personally, it was always important for me to add a bit of practical experience to my studies, as I wanted to apply my knowledge in a real work environment. At the same time, I wanted to engage in something that I really care about. As most students, I was (and still am) tight on money and my first thought was to find something where I can earn a bit of extra money. Unfortunately, finding a student job is not always easy, especially in a city like Lund that is not exactly known for abundant part time opportunities for non-Swedish speaking people.
Although there are plenty of other possibilities for students to engage in organizations such as the student nations or certain university faculties, most of those do not focus on creating social impact or providing students with relevant work experience. So, what do you do as an impact-driven student who wants to brush up their CV while also having a tangible impact with your part-time engagement?
My experience with 180DC Lund
180DC Lund was the perfect opportunity for me to create social impact while also gaining relevant work experience. As a consulting director, I was responsible for the supervision and administration of one of the projects we were conducting the previous semester. Together with a team of four consultants and one project leader, we supported a Swedish non-profit organization in their planned expansion to Southern Sweden and its overall digital marketing strategy.
The overall scope of the project required us to first conduct a thorough market analysis to see what areas of Sweden might be of interest for the organization to expand their operation. Based on this analysis, the project team then created an expansion tool that enables the non-profit organization to derive the most attractive regions of Sweden to expand to based on selected parameters that are of relevance for them – for example, the amount of kids whose parents are from non-EU countries or the average income in a certain region. In addition, the project team also conducted further research on different social media strategies and supported our client in finding the most effective digital marketing strategy to increase conversion rates and online awareness of the client.
By working closely together with the project team and taking care of client communication, I was strongly involved in shaping the project frame. It was great to see how much we as students can impact the growth of established organizations and support them in their future development. Being a consulting director really helped me improve my leadership and communication skills and I learned how to bridge the gap between our ambitions as an organization and the needs of the client.
I was also able to gain insights on how consultant work is done efficiently and what it takes to fulfil consultancy projects successfully. Supervising the whole project was a great addition to my skill set and the experiences I made are surely something I will draw from for any future positions that I work in, whether those will be in the consultancy field or not. After all, my experience with 180DC Lund was so positive that I decided to stay with them for another semester and take on the responsibility to become the Vice President of our branch.
How can you create social impact by joining us as a consultant or project leader?
Being a consultant or project leader means that you will be one of the persons to carry out the actual project work. As part of the project team for 180DC Lund, you will work closely together with socially conscious organizations and enterprises to help them achieve societal goals beyond profit maximization. Since our clients consist mostly of non-profit organizations or pursue social-oriented business models, they typically do not have the resources to acquire professional consultancy, although they are the ones who potentially benefit most from these services.
This is where you as a student come into play. With only around 5-10 hours of work per week, you as part of a project team have the power to enable those organizations to scale their business more efficiently. Not only will you help those enterprises to do better for the people and the planet, you will also learn more about consultant work and real business insights than you would at most other part-time jobs in Lund. As either a consultant or project leader, you will be given real responsibility for the development of tasks that are crucial for the business of our clients. 180DC Lund provides you with all the necessary tools and workshops from established and well-known partner consultancies to do so. Most importantly, you can be sure that the work you do means something and really helps a socially conscious enterprise to do better.
From a professional perspective, I can strongly recommend working for 180DC as either a consultant or project leader. I am sure you will make memories and experiences that will accompany you for all the future positions you wish to apply to. Personally, I hope to see many new students apply for a position within 180 Degrees Consulting Lund and I am looking forward to getting to know all the new and motivated students who are internally driven to create social impact.
A master student in Innovation and Global Sustainable Development at Lund University and Social Data Science at Aalborg University. Lukas is the current Vice President and a former Consulting Director of 180DC Lund. Lukas was also one of the initial founding members of the Lund branch.
Are you interested in becoming a consultant at 180 Degree Consulting, the largest university-based consultancy? Do you want to develop innovative and practical solutions for organisations with social impact at heart? Here are some words from one of our Consulting Directors.
My name is Nicole Skoglund and I am one of the newly appointed Consulting Directors at 180 Degree Consulting’s Lund branch. I am studying my MSc in Innovation & Global Sustainable Development, after finishing my BSc in Development Studies at Lund University. Since I have an interdisciplinary academic background, I am interested in many aspects of social impact whether it be environmental, social, economic or so forth.
As a Consulting Director, I will be forming client projects while also having the responsibility of supervising a team of consultants, keeping track of their progress and making sure group dynamics are intact. I will get a good overview of what we are doing since I will be keeping close contact with the respective clients as well as the consultants.
We want to give our consultants the possibility to practice their strategic problem solving skills while also assisting social enterprises to the best of our abilities. At the moment we are in our client acquisition phase, so in the past few weeks I have been reaching out to different startups and companies in the hope of delivering one or two fascinating projects.
Why 180 Degrees Consulting?
180 Degrees Consulting is the world's largest university-based consultancy providing socially conscious organisations around the world with very high quality and extremely affordable consulting services. By developing innovative, practical and sustainable solutions, our student consultants are contributing to their own careers and the world around them. Their involvement in 180DC will not only allow them to develop consulting skills but to put their time and energy into organisations which have social impact at heart.
For example, they may get the opportunity to help a leading non-governmental organisation create a comprehensive digital media strategy or have the chance to help a socially conscious tech-startup expand into new markets to maximise their impact.
Helping socially conscious organisations to tackle problems is rewarding, and our consultants get to develop highly beneficial career skills. Our consultants receive exceptional training as well as frequent mentoring from colleagues and experts within the field. Additionally, they receive guidance and support from the other team members and the opportunity to build a professional network.
What do you look for in a team as a Consulting Director?
As a Consulting Director, I am interested in finding co-workers that are engaged, highly motivated and curious about consulting. Most importantly, we look for individuals who want to contribute to the world and have a high interest in social impact. On top of this, we are a tight-knit community that looks for diversity in our teams. We are thrilled to work with students of many academic backgrounds as this allows the team members to learn from each other.
It is vital for us to create an environment that allows students to grow and reach their full potential.
How do you think COVID-19 has impacted the startup scene?
COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on startups. Things do not always unfold as expected. While some industries have thrived and others have faced decline, all startups have had to consider some kind of structural transformation. Not only are startups facing investment shortfalls, but they are also faced with the question of how to continue leading their teams.
According to Forbes, the industries thriving right now are ones within e-commerce, media, gaming, video conferencing, public cloud, SaaS, collaboration software, cybersecurity, and health tech. Industries that are seeing shortcomings are within events, the travel industry, restaurants, physical retail, and many more. Technology is pushing traditional mindsets in every form to adapt and transform, otherwise risking irrelevance.
Perhaps your next concert will be in virtual reality?
The shock of the global pandemic has led many startups to reconsider their futures. Developing an innovative and digital experience will play an even more instrumental role in contemporary business success. As a matter of fact, research shows that a global crisis may spark new ideas and innovations. A McKinsey report shows that organisations that maintained their innovation focus through the 2009 financial crisis emerged stronger, outperforming the market average by more than 30 percent and continued to deliver accelerated growth over the subsequent three to five years.
I think it is important to remain calm, be resilient and channel one's energy into creating new ways to respond to the crisis. New ideas will flourish under these special and unprecedented circumstances.
A master student in Innovation & Global Sustainable Development at Lund University. The writer has a Bachelor Degree in Development Studies at Lund University. Nicole is one of the two Consulting Directors at 180 Degree Consulting’s Lund.