I’ve made a lot of good memories during my summer at ZS in the San Francisco office. I’ve spent my time working on a long-range planning project—forecasting revenue and market share for a product that will be released in a few years. Aside from my work, I could share crazy stories about bubble soccer, surfing in Santa Cruz or a massive late-night poker tournament, but I want to illustrate my experience through something a little more universal: food.
I’ve gotten to know so many incredible ZSers—and learn a lot too—by sharing a meal or snack during lunch learning sessions, happy hours, breakfasts with leaders and quick run-ins at the snack fridge. Some conversations fostered by food are work-related—discussing different projects ZSers are tackling and how our everyday experiences differ. The best conversations, however, have been around what people do outside of ZS. I’ve enjoyed hearing tales about vacations to far-off locales and engaging in spontaneous discussions ranging from applications of behavioral economics to dog surfing competitions. ZS is known to be a “flat” organization, and that truly becomes apparent as ZSers mingle and converse around the dining table.
Food is especially important to the culture at the San Francisco location because of the thriving food scene right outside the office. Monthly lunch clubs organized by team captains give us time to sit down and share a meal with friends and colleagues, especially those we don’t interact with as often through our day-to-day work responsibilities. I’ve personally enjoyed inviting people out for smoothie chats (my version of coffee chats since I don’t drink coffee), giving both of us a breather as we stroll through downtown, chat and sip our delicious smoothies.
The interns also organized a special dinner at Rasa, a Michelin-starred restaurant specializing in south Indian cuisine, where we dined family-style and spent the evening sharing stories about our experiences at ZS and hopes and dreams for the future.
Food has the power to bring people together through a shared experience, and it’s been a wonderful way to foster friendships at work. I’ve had a delicious time at ZS so far, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the summer wraps up!
This post was written by Andrew, a master's student at Stanford University This summer, he interned at ZS’s San Francisco, CA office.