Principal Mark joined ZS as a Business Consulting associate in the London office in 2005. After receiving his degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, Mark took a gap year to travel. Upon his return home, he knew he needed to find a job. He wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do, but his love of problem-solving led him to consulting. Mark interviewed at several strategy consulting firms, but ultimately chose to come to ZS because of the people.
“As I was interviewing, I didn’t connect with many of the people I met at other firms,” said Mark. “When I got to ZS, everyone I met was personable, humble, smart and driven. I could see myself working there and being happy, which made the choice easy.”
Mark works with pharmaceutical companies, predominantly in the Pipeline & Launch Strategy practice area – helping clients decide where to focus their R&D efforts, how to structure their clinical trials, how to get patient access to products and more.
“I love the variation in my work,” said Mark. “One moment I’m working with one team grappling with a positioning problem and later in the same day I’m working with another team on an access strategy problem.”
Now that we discussed what you do, let’s get to “the why”. How does ZS’s core purpose resonate with you?
I’ve always loved solving complex problems. In school, I gravitated toward math and science and ended up pursuing a degree in mathematics at Cambridge. When time allows, I often find myself reaching for a crossword or for the GCHQ puzzle book I got for Christmas. I just love solving problems and being able to do that alongside smart people, both ZSers and clients, gives me great satisfaction.
The other part that resonates with me is the way ZS focuses on helping companies and their customers thrive. Working with pharma, I spend every day thinking about health and patient outcomes. Whether that’s helping a client focus their clinical trial on a patient population that needs improvement in care or helping ensure patients have access to the right product at the right time to be treated effectively – we’re helping companies bring amazing products to market faster and helping ensure patients receive the best possible care. That keeps me going every day.
What was the most game-changing piece of feedback you ever received?
When I was more junior in the firm, I rarely said no to anything. If anyone asked for help or wanted me to take on a new task or project, I would say, “Bring it on.” One day, someone told me that I don’t need to do everything – it’s not in my best interest nor is it not in ZS’s best interest. Instead, I should focus on doing a few things excellently, rather than doing a huge number of things well.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
We are very lucky at this firm, to have so many smart, passionate and caring leaders, and a coaching culture that many of our competitors and clients should envy! I have had the opportunity to work with many of these leaders during my time at ZS thus far, so choosing one most influential person is difficult.
During my time in the San Mateo office, I spent a lot of time working with Principal Mike Voth on various pipeline and launch strategy projects. He showed me a lot about the type of leader I want to be. He is extremely caring and undeniably one of the smartest people I know but doesn’t come across with bravado – he’s just genuinely a lovely person. Mike will always make time for his team if they need help solving a problem or want to chat over coffee, he is a caring leader that people naturally wanted to be around.
What’s your life like outside ZS and how do you balance it with your career?
My wife Nicola and I have three kids – a six-year-old son Cooper, a four-year-old daughter Sadie and a two-year-old daughter Ottilie. Most of my life outside of ZS is focused on my kids – a lot of arts and crafts, cricket and football, country walks, camping etc. I feel lucky to be at a company like ZS where I can mold my calendar to meet the demands of my life, which gives me the flexibility to see my family every day when I’m not traveling.