Member Spotlight: Ivan Chiu — Team Lead
Ivan is currently a 4th year student in the Accounting and Financial Management Program at the University of Waterloo. Ivan has been with 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo for 3 terms now, including this current term, and is now one of the team leads at the branch. He joined the branch because he wanted to work with non-profit organizations and social enterprises, while also gaining consulting skills. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, Ivan has a big passion for fitness in terms of bodybuilding and powerlifting so he loves going to the gym!
1. As a team lead at 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo, what are some of your responsibilities?
As a team lead, I am responsible for leading and managing the project itself, the team of consultants, and being the first point of contact for the client. At the start of the term, I would work heavily on project planning with my consulting director, who provides advice and oversight on the consulting project. This early stage of the project includes project scoping, scheduling, and communicating our plans to the client and working with them to make any adjustments. Throughout the term, I would work closely with my consultants to carry out the tasks outlined during the project planning stage in order to meet the project’s goals and to create our deliverables. We meet on a weekly basis to discuss key findings, any issues/comments to address, and the next steps for the following week to reach our project’s goals. On the same weekly basis, I also meet with my consulting director to discuss items such as project progress. I also communicate with my client’s main point of contact on a bi-weekly basis to discuss project updates, questions, and schedule meetings, however, the frequency of this correspondence varies from project to project.
2. What are some notable highlights during your time with us?
My most memorable experience with 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo so far were at the end of both my past projects as a consultant when we presented all our findings and recommendations. I remember presenting and seeing our client react positively to our recommendations. This really showed how my work as a consultant delivered value to the client’s organization. This meant that it felt incredibly rewarding to know that all the time I committed throughout the project, performing tasks such as research, synthesis, and preparing deliverables had a positive impact at the end of the day. This is one of the reasons why I kept coming back to the branch!
3. What do you think are the most important skills for success in your role?
For the role of a team lead, I believe that the most important skills are leadership, communication, and project management. As a team lead, you will be leading a team of consultants throughout the project’s duration. You must be able to take the initiative, establish a direction for the project, and motivate your team. Doing so also requires clear communication and this skill is not just limited to communicating with your team. Being a team lead includes communicating with many stakeholders, including the client, branch executives, and even other team leads. Lastly, as a team lead, you will be acting as a project manager. This means that you must ensure that the project is on schedule, and if not, to make any adjustments in a timely manner.
4. What are some skills you were able to improve upon since joining?
One skill that I have definitely improved upon since joining the branch was performing efficient and effective research. As taught many times in our training sessions: “research can go on forever”. As such, this meant that one of the skills I learned was to perform research in a methodical manner. This helped me when it came to performing research as I was able to clearly establish what information to find, how much information to find, and how to synthesize my findings in a way that is usable, understandable, and adds value to the project. This skill was also useful in areas outside of 180 Degrees Consulting as I was able to transfer my skill to school projects as well.
5. What advice would you have for those who are looking to join 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo in the future?
As part of the 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo recruiting process, you will be taking part in an interview that will involve a behavioural and case section. For the behavioural section, I suggest applicants prepare by reflecting on their past experiences, identifying how you approached the past experience, and then communicating it to the interviewer(s) in a manner that shows how it makes you a strong applicant. For the case section, it is crucial that you communicate your ideas in a clear and concise manner. This means that you should not attempt to overwhelm the interviewer with information, and should instead, highlight the key points in your solution and why it solves the problem in the case.