Meet Laura Yap: from multinational to consulting
Laura Yap transferred from Unilever to Been Management Consulting earlier this year. Looking for more impact, substance, and challenge. Moving from a multinational to a smaller size consulting firm. That’s quite a move. It’s time to catch up with Laura. How did she experience her transfer? What projects is she working on?
Let’s to back your start at Unilever, what was that like?
“Sure! During my master’s degree in Global Business & Sustainability, I worked at Unilever as an intern. I worked for the Unilever International department, which is responsible for the worldwide export of local Unilever brands. After my internship, they offered me a permanent position. A great honor, for sure. There are so many opportunities in such a large organization and I wanted to explore them. But after a while, I missed making an impact on a personal level. I was just one of thousands.”
So why transfer to Been Management Consulting?
“I’ve had contact with you when I was graduating. And what stuck was: ‘making impact’. As a consultant, you can help multiple companies and you’re in a position to influence decision makers. I can make more positive impact. Also, here’s more opportunity to use my knowledge about sustainability. I like the intellectual challenge too. You’re always working on a complex issues and there’s the opportunity to bring forward you ideas. I’m using my brain much more.”
Can you give us an example?
“Well, my first assignment was with Arcadis. We worked on dismantling and redeveloping 24 gas extraction sites. The goal is to stop extracting and using gas in our economy and to put this infrastructure to a more sustainable use. The world of gas and gas extraction was entirely new for me. I was very interesting to learn about how such a company works and to visit those sites. A total deep dive.”
And what was your role?
“Been Management Consulting optimizes the program management of this major operation. My coworkers, who were already working on the program, were very supportive. Tuning into my strengths and the things I wanted to learn. My role was to design and implement way to monitor and steer on the various themes within the program. How to monitor progress, risks, budget, community involvement etc.? I talked to lots of different stakeholders, also building a bridge between people at the Arcadis’ offices and those at the extraction sites.”
Any more examples?
“Another favorite project, is the round table we organized for public transport company Transdev. We brought together different companies in the energy chain to come up with solutions to speed up electrification. For example, Transdev is eager to add more electric busses in their fleet, but it has problems getting its charging stations connected to the local electricity grid. The electricity grid has problems coping with the workload etc. We got C-level decision makers from these various sectors round the table. People who never meet, because they’re from totally different sectors, but who have problems in common. It was very challenging to organize a well-prepared session with these busy people. During the session, we mapped the major issues and solutions and defined actions for each party involved. It’s nice to see that many participants started to work together after the session. This makes me very proud.”
Do you have a dream project that you would like to do?
“I would love to help company to change its business model to a sustainable business from start to end. So that I can practice what I’ve learned at university, but also to guide such a major transformation. It’s easy to come up with a strategy, but it all depends on the people working in the company to implement this. Also, I would like to do projects in the food transition. We just started a team for that.”
What’s it like to work in a smaller organization?
“Now that I’m here, I realize how much I’ve missed it. People are genuinely interested in each other, not just about your work, also on a personal level. I can really be myself here. Been Management Consulting has a very ‘flat’ organizational structure and culture. People are interested in your opinions and everyone is supportive. We also do things outside work: every other week, a group plays Padel and some of us will be taking an ice bath soon!”
And how about your professional development, are there enough opportunities?
“Yes, plenty! You get a yearly budget for professional and personal development. I have an external coach, Karlijn, who is very helpful. Next to that, ‘my generation’ of consultants comes together with coach Karlijn every six weeks to share experiences and help each other. Also, there’s time to follow internal and external trainings. There are ample opportunities to learn new things and expand your knowledge. Taking initiative is much appreciated and stimulated here.”
Sounds great! Do you have any tips for others who are considering their next step?
“I spent a lot of time mulling over my decision to leave Unilever. Big companies offer so many opportunities and it looks great on your resume. But I’m glad I followed my heart. This suits me much more. So think for yourself. What is important to me? What do I want to learn? And dare to leave your comfort zone!”