Olga Popescu and Lauren Quiros on their purpose-driven work at ACE

19 July 2023 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

The consulting industry regularly attracts graduates, with its promises of high-impact and purpose-driven work, opportunities to take on responsibility early, and room for steep growth. Having recently joined the industry, graduates now junior consultants Olga Popescu and Lauren Quiros are finding just that at ACE.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, ACE is a consulting firm which specialises in regulatory change in the financial services sector. Its clients include banks, insurance companies, asset managers, pension funds and regulators – and as it serves such a broad cross-section of organisations, this makes it an ideal environment for young consultants to build valuable work experience.

Olga Popescu joined ACE in late 2022, after completing a master’s degree in Environment and Resource Management. Half a year later, she feels she “couldn’t have made a better choice” for her transition from a fresh graduate to a full-time management consultant.

Olga Popescu and Lauren Quiros on their purpose-driven work at ACE

Highlighting the opportunities the firm has so far presented to help her grow her skills, Olga notes, “In addition to formal training programs in which we were immersed from the get-go, ACE provides a supportive and structured environment that has helped me understand the basic of consulting, and build interpersonal skills.”

“Experienced colleagues were always around me providing guidance and advice, enabling me to learn and grow into my role and navigate challenges.”

The like-minded community of consultants at ACE has given many young professionals the energy and toolkit to help clients design future-forward solutions, while also expanding transferrable skills for later on in their careers – whatever segment they specialise in.

Another young consultant to have felt this benefit is Lauren Quiros. A master’s in environmental science holder, Lauren in particular praises the firm’s willingness to trust new staff with key engagements.

“I’ve been given the opportunity to work immediately with senior management,” Lauren recalls, “such as when I had the privilege to get hands-on experience working on a high-impact project regarding the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. It is a wonderful feeling to be amongst such a passionate and knowledgeable group of individuals.”

But project work is just one part of the equation. “Actually the most important aspect that has helped me settle into, is how the entire ACE team embraces diversity in cultures, perspectives, nationalities, and passion.”

Purpose at work

A lot of the work the pair have undertaken to date has enabled them to add a practical edge to what might have seemed distant and abstract concepts before. “The typical ACE project is focused on analysing regulatory changes, designing and a response – and then supporting clients with getting that done,” says Olga.

But at the same time, Olga and Lauren both say that their work ‘between the lines’ is helping them feel a sense of purpose – a feat that attracts both to the financial services sector, and ACE.

“Our beautiful terrestrial and marine ecosystems are collapsing… We must take pride in adapting our future strategies and business models, not only for maximising our profits, but restoring the stability back to our planet. I really appreciate how ACE is so forward thinking. This approach, in conjunction with the European Union Green Deal, really inspires me to work within the regulatory change management sector,” says Lauren.

Olga throws up an example from her projects. “Currently I am providing support to a global bank in aligning to the requirements set by the ECB Guide on climate-related and environmental risks, and previously I have been providing advisory for its ESG strategy and ratings.”

According to Olga, this “purpose and meaning” in her job is one of the things she holds most dear from her time at ACE. “For me, the most exciting and rewarding aspect of working at ACE is how quickly I can witness the impact I have both within the company and for our clients and even society at large, which always puts a smile on my face!”

Meanwhile, she also notes that she is proud of the company’s “strong commitment to the wellbeing of its employees and always considering our opinions when improving internal procedures”.

“We are encouraged to think creatively and contribute new ideas to help build the company, the management team acting as a sounding board for all our entrepreneurial endeavours. For example, I am very much dedicated to developing our sustainability affinity team.”

According to both professionals, diversity is also of top importance to ACE, with the firm placing a great emphasis on the matter to help add different perspectives to the team. The team has various backgrounds and specialisations that “cater to every kind of need clients have”, while the support for all walks of life at the firm also fosters a sense of “camaraderie” among the staff, meaning they are willing to help each other constantly.

Lauren concludes, “The fact that I can truly be myself has been the best part of starting my career at ACE. The firm has built a great environment and culture that focuses on individualised work, creating space to brainstorm and collaborate with others, and provide resources to enhance my consultancy skills. Most importantly, ACE has gathered a great team to connect, build, and laugh with.”