Laura Nauta on life in EY's supply chain consulting practice

20 January 2020 5 min. read

Having spent two years with Big Four firm EY’s Supply Chain & Operations team, Laura Nauta has been part of a number of challenging and diverse projects. The consultant spoke to about her exploits in South America, Asia and Europe, and the importance of flexibility in modern consulting.

EY’s Supply Chain & Operations practice helps organisations to improve and change their end-to-end supply chain and operational activities. The practice supports management teams to improve the performance and effectiveness of their business by examining everything from core management and business processes to future directions and opportunities for growth. With focus areas as broad as warehousing, operating model effectiveness, operational excellence, procurement, customer service, smart factory, and digital fulfilment, the practice realises performance improvements in various industries.

Consultant Laura Nauta joined the team in 2017, having completed a degree in Business Economics and a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management. During her time at the University of Groningen, Nauta participated in a number of extracurricular activities, including becoming a Participant in the Olympic Legacy Volunteer Programme run by EY in collaboration with six non-profit organisations in Rio during the 2016 games. Laura Nauta, EYReflecting on the experience, Nauta said, “I am so grateful that I was able to contribute to this volunteering program supporting non-profit organisations in Rio, and at the same time develop my consulting skills by learning from the EY employees. When I look back at my own role during this project, I am sure the EY employees also learned from me, as I was able to look at things from another perspective. By combining our strengths and knowledge, we were able to make an even bigger contribution. This was one the first, of many more moments to come, where I experienced the “EY – Building a better working world” so concretely. And of course after this amazing experience I only wanted to work for EY.”

Joining the Big Four firm a year later, Nauta found that new employees “quickly become part of the group.” The Supply Chain & Operations team focuses a lot on team building, and social activities, something which she believes is very important when choosing a first employer. Indeed, this is likely one of the reasons the Big Four of EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC remain so popular with graduate recruits. The quartet is also known for their steep learning curves – something exciting and useful for new consultants looking to rapidly grow their skill-set.

“When I look back at my first years at EY,” Nauta continued, “I am amazed by the things I have accomplished already. When I joined the Supply Chain & Operations team as an advisor, I got assigned a ‘buddy’ who helps you with your on-boarding in the first week, and is your go-to person for all your questions… Further, as our team is characterised by an open and approachable culture, the entire team really helped to kick-start my career.”

Meanwhile, “on projects you get a lot of responsibility, and the amount of responsibility only increases along the way. Even though you get a lot of responsibility, there is always someone that looks after you, and supports you were needed.”

Around the world

Besides learning on the job and receiving internal support from colleagues, Nauta added that EY also offers international training. For example, she was able to join a three-day procurement training course at EY London, with participants from many different EY offices in the region. During such sessions, EY members therefore not only develop knowledge, but also a global network by meeting other EY colleagues.

“I am amazed by the things I have accomplished… On projects you get a lot of responsibility, and this only increases along the way.”

These experiences have been essential for Nauta in her current role. During one of her projects in Europe, for example, Nauta was able to call on her networking skills to establish a good relationship with a customer. She delivered good work and clearly demonstrated how her efforts added value to the client, resulting in being asked to continue to work for them on the company’s Asia project – something she describes as both her “biggest challenge so far” as well as being one of her favourite moments with EY.

“After a good conversation with my family, colleagues and my EY counsellor, balancing the pros and cons, I decided to follow my passion and accept this extraordinary role in Asia. While working on this project in Asia, I learned a lot about collaborating with different cultures. A lot of flexibility is required when working with people in different time zones. Working with people from different countries and overcoming the challenge of different languages is one thing, but overcoming the challenge of communicating across cultures was next level. As an EY consultant you always need to be agile and adjust your way of working to the situation.”

Back in Amsterdam, Nauta is now a Senior Advisor. She has subsequently worked on a diverse range of projects, including designing and implementing a Shared Service Centre; helping clients re-design operating models; and mapping and improving the procurement processes of an organisation.

Nauta is curious what the new year will bring, “In 2020 I would like to further develop myself as a procurement specialist, and also encourage sustainable procurement. Furthermore, I would like to continue to serve the needs of our clients by acting with a global mindset. In the longer-term, I would like to further develop my skills to the point that I become that go-to person for the procurement challenges of the future.”