Lily Russell, on carving out a niche in sustainable supply chains at Deloitte Consulting and how her MIT Sloan MBA got her there.

Lily Russell came to MIT Sloan looking for ways to improve global supply chains with sustainable business practices. Though she came with a laser-clear focus on how to integrate her passion into her career, Lily believes that it was her MIT Sloan experience that gave her the tools to make this vision a reality.

Now in a management consulting position at Deloitte Consulting, Lily is thrilled by the balance she has struck between supply chain and sustainability. While helping some of the World’s largest companies and organizations improve their bottom-line, she is also improving supplier engagement practices, enhancing supply chain flows and discovering ways to save energy costs across hundreds of distribution centers. Lily says her MIT Sloan experience is integral to her success at Deloitte Consulting, “The coursework and connections I made with faculty are invaluable, but I am confident it is my experience on a variety of Action Learning projects that has caught our partner’s and client’s eye”

While at MIT Sloan, Lily focused her coursework and extracurricular leadership in order to build concrete skills and strong relationships. Lily sought depth, but also found breadth by learning from fellow classmates, faculty and business leaders. She took courses that are part of the Sustainability Certificate curriculum, like Leading Sustainable Systems Lab (L-Lab), but also enrolled in Operations Management and Case Studies in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, part of MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, to hone ‘traditional’ supply chain skills. In addition, she was a Teaching Assistant for Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab), a Vice-President of Net Impact and Content Director for MIT’s Sustainability Summit. According to Lily, it was the classwork and all of the leadership opportunities in sustainability that enabled her to carve out her niche. “The exposure I had to influential leaders, real-life business challenges, world-class and highly personable faculty, and unbelievable classmates tested me as a leader, allowed me to stand for sustainability as a business opportunity, and helped me articulate some of its challenges; an invaluable combination of people and experiences.”

Since graduating from MIT Sloan in May 2011, Lily has been in a general management consulting role while also carving out a niche in sustainable supply chains at Deloitte Consulting. Since taking the position at Deloitte, Lily has developed a supplier engagement strategy for a major footwear and apparel company. She led a strategy engagement to help an organization with its ratings and analytics tool for social impact investing. She has led clients through Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting and analyzed energy use across distribution centers to identify energy cost savings for a multi-billion dollar apparel company.

Projects like the one with the footwear manufacturer are in great demand by consultants at Deloitte, but Lily believes she was able to get a coveted position on the project team because of her Leading Sustainable Systems Lab Action Project. “I worked with the Brazilian footwear association for my L-Lab project. We were on the ground for three weeks, visited 20 factories and developed a sustainability scorecard. A month in Brazil during January is hard to beat but, more importantly, both Deloitte and the client were thrilled I had this experience to offer.”

All told, Lily is enjoying her work with Deloitte Consulting which has impact on some of the world’s largest companies and organizations. “I have been able to integrate sustainability into each of my projects. If I combined all of the clients that I have developed strategies for and then I think of all the suppliers, employees, factories, resources, and consumers influenced by these companies, it’s a tremendous impact.”