After working for several years out of undergrad, Principal Martin decided to leave his UK home to pursue his MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. It was there that an adviser gave him a piece of advice that would ultimately change everything.
“He told me to enroll in one class I didn’t think I’d be at all interested in,” Martin said. “So I took a healthcare marketing class. I loved it, and that shifted my entire perspective.”
Martin reached out to an MBA classmate who worked at ZS. That conversation led to an interview, which led to a job as a consultant back in ZS's London office. After working on some sales force sizing and marketing mix projects, Martin went onsite at a large pharmaceutical company for about two years, where he led the business implementation of a CRM system for over 10,000 sales reps in 23 countries.
Exhilarated by that project, Martin was ready for his next big challenge: Helping to launch ZS’s Zurich office. While in Switzerland, in addition to building out the office and working with several smaller European clients, Martin began focusing on and growing our business with one large pharmaceutical company.
“Many people at ZS have deep expertise in one area, but I’m more of a deep generalist,” Martin said. “In this case, it worked in my favor. I was able to build a strong relationship with the client, see their business from a more holistic perspective and advise on a broad range of issues.” It was, he says, an early success that paved the way for the key account management strategy we now have in place across Europe.
The experience piqued his interest and after being elected associate principal, Martin relocated to the U.S. in pursuit of a new challenge. Martin was elected principal last September, and now spends most of his time on sales analytics operations, managed markets and brand team support for a large client out of the Los Angeles office.
“My path to principal was certainly a winding one, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Martin said. “I’ve challenged myself, learned so many new things and had the chance to work with ZS people across almost all our offices and regions along the way.”
What’s the best idea you had?
Back in 1998, right out of undergrad, I came up with an idea for a social media platform—basically what is now known as Facebook—but I didn’t act on it. I’m convinced the world wasn’t ready for it back then anyway!
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made and what did you learn from it?
I should have joined ZS right out of university. Like anyone, I’ve had some ups and downs over my career. Despite it all, ZS has invested in me because that’s what this company does for its people. You’re able to reinvent yourself here, if that’s what you want to do. If you don’t like something you’re doing, you can change it. ZS gives you a lot of latitude, especially the longer you stay. As long as you’re adding value, you can choose your own path. I know people at other firms and they feel constrained by processes, policies and expectations. We don’t feel that here, and I think it’s liberating.
What’s your life like outside work?
My wife Karen and I have been together since university and we have three wonderful daughters—Isabella (7), Holly (5), and Emilia (2). They’re a handful, but they keep things interesting. I have two hobbies I really enjoy. Film-making is one of them, and the other is magic. I’ve loved magic ever since I was a kid, and now I’m a member of the exclusive and world-famous Magic Castle here in LA.