University of Bristol: Student consultants offer free support to Bristol’s third sector

Satisfied customers of 180 Degrees Consulting Bristol include Bristol City Council, We The Curious science museum, Age UK Bristol and the Make A Wish Foundation.

Third sector organisations come to the University of Bristol society with an issue that needs solving and are allocated a team of six students.

The students use their diverse skills to research the organisation, the industry in which it works and the particular issue before coming up with a series of innovative solutions which they present to the organisation’s senior management.

180 Degrees Consulting Bristol also has dedicated graphic design and data analytics departments.

Since it launched a year and a half ago, the group has taken on 67 pro bono consultancy projects around the world.

Successful projects include finding new ways to increase footfall at Ashton Court Estate, developing a strategy to plant 20 million trees in Uganda and helping build a distribution facility for period pads in Beirut, Lebanon.

Kay Libby, Co-Chief Executive of Age UK Bristol, praised the students’ “proactive, helpful and friendly approach”, which has helped them with “financial planning, fundraising, communications, virtual activities and social media”.

She also spoke about the students on BBC Radio Bristol, saying: “I would not hesitate to recommend their services to other voluntary organisations; they have made real and demonstrable improvements to the way that we work.”

Gestures From the Heart, a Lebanese charity distributing food boxes and essential supplies to the elderly, said: “After the Beirut blast everything was extremely bad and painful. We were lost and we lost hope, suddenly came a beautiful team of young, dynamic and extremely motivated people.

“They were like a ray of hope that came at the right time. They were ready to help and make a difference in people’s lives without even knowing them. It was enough to get us back up on our feet and continue what we started.”

The Bristol team also worked with then-High Sheriff of Bristol, Dr John Manley, on AskingBristol, which helps charities and community groups in Bristol ask for time, spaces, expertise, money and more from local individuals and organisations.

Dr Manley said: “The quality and enthusiasm of the volunteers we received from 180 Degrees Consulting Bristol is extraordinary and they have proved to be an absolutely critical part of the team and its operation.”

Each team of students is allocated a professional mentor from one of their corporate partners, which includes the likes of EY & Lancia Consult, who offers guidance throughout the project and helps develop the students’ skills.

180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest university-based consultancy with branches in more than 35 countries stretching from Cairo to California and Stockholm to Seoul.

The Bristol branch was named the ‘Most Innovative Branch Worldwide 2020’ at the Global Awards Ceremony last year, ranking first of 150 branches in their very first year of operation.

The branch was set-up by University of Bristol Economics and Finance student Jack Elliott.

He said: “We launched the Bristol branch of 180 Degrees Consulting with the view of leveraging the talent at Bristol University to support charitable organisations driving social impact – and it’s been incredible to see the impact we’ve had already both in the local community and internationally.

“We’re looking to hear from any social impact organisation with problems that need solving or ambitions they want help making a reality. If you’re interested in working with one of our strategy, data science or graphic design teams you can contact us directly at bristol@180dc.org.”

The branch is also open to University of Bristol students looking to volunteer as management consultants this summer.

The branch will be working with Indian NGOs for the first time, following the impact of the second wave of COVID-19.

Comments are closed.