The Bristol arm of 180 Degrees Consulting has hit a special milestone this month, having kicked off its 100th project since the Student-run consultancy launched three years ago.
With over 10,000 consultants across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, 180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest consulting firm led and run by students. The firm provides ‘volunteer’ consultants to non-profits and social enterprises, with the firm’s consultants trained and coached by some of the biggest brands in the business.
Back in March 2022, Patrick Keaveney and Jake Ireland teamed up to continue the management of the Bristol branch of 180 Degrees Consulting, as one of a long list of 150+ branches, from New York and London to Beirut, New Delhi and Sydney.
“We provide high-quality consulting services to social impact organizations so they can improve and expand their services. Our carefully selected and professionally trained volunteer consultants work tirelessly so that organizations can achieve their full potential and help more people in need, ”explains Keaveney.
Over the past two years, 180 Degrees Consulting Bristol enjoyed stellar growth, growing to a team of 110 consultants and a portfolio that surpassed the 100 project mark this month. “By May, we are set to complete our 104th project,” says Ireland.
Among the projects the consultancy has worked on include the development of the corporate strategy for the RSPCA, the largest animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom. Reflecting on the firm’s support, Head of Strategy Aaron Pacifico states: “I found 180 Degrees Consulting to be bright and professional. They maintained good communication throughout the project, were flexible and produced good material. “
“What they have provided us will really help to engage staff and volunteers in understanding our wider organization strategy, Together for Animal Welfare.”
Meanwhile, for the West of England Center for Inclusive Living (WECIL), the student consultants helped the charity with evaluating the effectiveness of implementing AI technology to respond to repetitive incoming demand, in order to create capacity for more value-adding activities.
“Over the course of the project, we in fact pushed back on the original specification, taking a more solution-agnostic approach to the issues, studying the nature of demand and presenting a report which presented multiple options and a roadmap for implementation. This gave WECIL a deeper understanding of the complexities of the solutions and solid external expertise to inform funding strategies for development, ”says Keaveney.
For Domonic Ellison, Chief Executive of WECIL, the support provided guidance on its own digital transformation journey. “The expertise and professionalism of the 180 Degrees Consulting team made them a pleasure for all at WECIL to work with and their solutions were delivered on time, with WECIL team members’ understanding of the issues developed in pace with the support received.”
Being part of a global network, Bristol-based consultants have also managed to make their mark well beyond the UK. “We’ve worked on cross-border projects for WWF Malaysia, the UN Global Foundation for the Advancement for the Environment, and the National Center for Psychology, Nafasiyounan in Lebanon,” Ireland outlines.
Further reading: How CSRN’s student consultants are helping charities in Lebanon.
The group has also been active in community-wide engagement. They appeared at the VOSCURs Volunteering Forum, COP26 The Business of Net Zero event as well as hosting the 2022 180Degrees Consulting European Summit.
With a thriving roster of clients, 180 Degrees Consulting in Bristol has been able to overcome one of the top challenges for any of the network’s branches: attrition. Keaveney: “The nature of university means each year we lose our most critical leaders. But thanks to a “reflective approach to operations, we’ve been able to ensure as much continuity as possible.”
This has seen the Bristol branch enjoy a 77% project return rate (meaning: consultants who return for a second project), a much higher percentage than the average across the network (or any other student-run consultancy).
“Such a boost in retention allows us to develop specialties, improve skills and create long-term strategies,” says Keaveney.
Asked about what’s next for 180 Degrees Consulting Bristol, Ireland says, “In the coming years, we aim at further expanding our team and impact. The organization has so much potential for growth, and we will be sure to continue the commitment to maximize our social impact and deliver great value for each and every one of our clients. ”