When Raena Hay Yong Lau is not helping her sisters run a food blog for those with dietary restrictions, she is studying global supply chain management (GSCM) at the BYU Marriott School of Business. An international student from Hong Kong, Lau has grown and evolved through many challenges during her time at BYU. From not knowing what degree to pursue to facing difficulties due to COVID-19, Lau has grown by interacting with classmates, participating in competitions, and serving as the vice president of BYU Marriott’s Women in Supply Chain (WISC) student association.
Starting at BYU in fall 2017, Lau explored several different majors, including philosophy and graphic design. One day, Lau’s friend in the GSCM program invited her to a club meeting. “I was still trying to decide what to study,” recalls Lau. “When the speaker at the event talked about the personality and characteristics of someone in supply chain, I felt like I was being described.” From that day forward, Lau pursued a GSCM major.
After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Toronto, Lau returned to BYU in 2020 and started the GSCM program. Beginning the program during the first year of COVID-19, Lau encountered many unforeseen challenges. The most difficult, she recalls, was finding ways to interact with her classmates. “I had to make the effort to meet fellow students in the program by myself,” she says. “The program couldn’t host any organized events or activities in person.” Her desire and passion for connecting with others led her to become involved in the WISC association.
Her first year as a member of WISC, Lau was in charge of advertising events and posting content and association updates to social media. When Lau’s friend and classmate, Maddie Guido, was named WISC president for the 2021–22 school year, Guido asked Lau to be her vice president, and Lau accepted.
Lau says that she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the GSCM program and that her favorite part about the program is her fellow students. “Upon entering the program, I thought everyone would be the same because we are all studying GSCM,” she explains. “However, I learned rather quickly that we are all different in our personalities, career goals, and strengths.
“My classmates opened my eyes to all the different paths you can take within supply chain,” continues Lau. “I am inspired by my classmates, who have all taken such unique roads to distinguish themselves in the industry.”
Set to graduate in June 2022, Lau is looking forward to marrying her fiancé and starting her career. During summer 2021, Lau completed a remote internship doing purchasing for Cummins Inc., a multinational company that specializes in manufacturing and distributing engines.
“I wouldn’t say knowing my way around engines is my strong suit, but the company culture at Cummins is what sold me,” explains Lau. “During my internship, everyone was so supportive, and I felt like all my coworkers truly cared about me and wanted me to succeed.” Lau plans on returning to work for Cummins after she graduates.
Looking forward, Lau says she sees herself continuing to help her older twin sisters run their food blog, which is called “Unconventional Cooks.” Growing up with dietary restrictions, Lau and her sisters share and create recipes that accommodate not only their needs, but the needs of others too. Lau also says she would like to eventually earn an MBA. “I want to earn my MBA so I can diversify my skills,” she says. “I want to work in a leadership position in the future, and having an MBA seems to open up more opportunities.”
As her time in the GSCM program comes to a close, Lau mentions one thing she wishes she could go back and tell her past self: “I would tell myself that not knowing what I want to do right away is okay,” she explains. “As college students, we experience so much pressure to know exactly what we want to do and to start preparing years in advance. But taking time to find your own path is necessary. I am grateful I tried many things so that when I tried GSCM, I knew I had found the perfect fit.”
Writer: Bethany Benham