Evanston Principal Andy joined ZS in 2003, focusing on alignment projects for pharmaceutical and medical device clients around the world—he even worked on ZS’s first client project in China. After about a year and a half, Andy shifted his focus and began working with ZS’s Medical Products and Services (MPS) team.
After spending six years in consulting, Andy wanted to try something new, so he left ZS in 2005 to work in IT long-term strategy for a large health insurance company and pursue his MBA. “During my time away, a ZS principal called me at least once a year to grab lunch and inevitably ask if I was ready to come back to ZS,” said Andy. “Once I finished my MBA and had grown tired of office politics and I knew I was finally ready to return.”
Andy boomeranged back to ZS as a consultant in 2010 where he expanded his focus in MPS beyond alignments. He helped pilot a new model for the team—creating larger teams dedicated to a single client, allowing team members to build upon their existing knowledge and relationships to provide the greatest value to the client.
We talked about discussed what you do, so why do you do it?
Part of the reason I left ZS when I was younger was because I didn’t think I could be a salesperson. I saw principals going out and selling projects, but I didn’t think that was something I could do. What I didn’t realize was that we don’t sell projects at ZS; we find problems. We work alongside clients to identify business challenges and figure out how to solve them. ZSers are highly intelligent and curious, and our humble personalities allow us to grow our business by helping clients solve problems rather than selling them something.
What was the most game-changing piece of feedback you ever received?
Someone once told me to strive to do the work of the person above you, which has been important in my professional development. I always look to the people above me to see what I need to be doing to move to the next level—this helps them by taking tasks off their plate and challenges you to try something new. Taking on new responsibilities takes courage, but it helps ease you into a new role without becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of the change.
Describe your “perfect ZS day”.
I would spend the day at the client site with my team. The first half of the day I would be in one-on-one discussions with members of the client team to understand what’s going on with their business, what their challenges are and learn more about them personally. The rest of the day would be spent with my team brainstorming interesting, complex problems and coming up with hypotheses and solutions for our clients. We’d cap off the day by going out to dinner as a team.
What’s your life like outside ZS, and how do you balance it with your career?
Outside of ZS, I spend a ton of time with my wife, Jamie, and our two kids, 11-year-old Hayden and seven-year-old Rowan. Our kids love playing sports and I help out by coaching Rowan’s soccer team and Hayden’s baseball team, which is my favorite sport.
In whatever time is leftover, you’ll usually find me exercising or going to concerts. I love live music and attend more than 20 concerts each year. Most recently, I went to a festival in Chicago called Riot Fest where I saw Beck and Weezer play, along with a bunch of other bands most people have probably never heard of. It’s tough to balance my life with work but I make it a priority to get home every day to see my family and help get the kids ready for bed, and I’ll save time in the evening to finish my work.