The year was 2005 and there were only 15 ZSers working in the newly opened Pune office. One of those ZSers was Karan Dhundia, who joined fresh from his undergrad studies. “I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I joined ZS,” said Karan. “But there was something special about the people and culture that made me feel home, right from day one — and that continues to motivate me today.”
During his initial years at ZS, Karan worked on a variety of sales design projects, but his main goal was to deliver quality work and build credibility. After a few years, Karan found himself making several trips to the U.S. for projects and decided to make a transfer to the Princeton office. “I’m glad I made the move. Getting closer to our clients helped me better understand what we do and why we do it.”
While in Princeton, Karan tackled a variety of engagements across several small and mid-size pharma clients. “It was overwhelming to manage five small clients simultaneously, but I learned so much during that period given exposure to senior leaders,” said Karan. Over the years, Karan consciously worked on consolidating his client base to establish focus and generate higher impact.
In 2018, Karan was elected to principal and has been a key leader in the Resource Planning and Deployment (RPD) and Healthcare Ecosystem practice areas.
If you had to choose one hashtag to describe your ZS career, what would it be?
#CreateYourOwnStory. At some point in my career, I realized that no two people or journeys are alike. You should rely on mentors for guidance when possible but, ultimately, you are responsible for making your own decisions — good or bad. Trust your instincts and be confident in the story you’re creating.
What was the most game-changing piece of feedback you ever received?
“To grow in life, you need to learn to make yourself vulnerable”, said my professor in college. As a teenager, I had a stammer that affected me so bad that I avoided speaking in many situations. A therapist even suggested to me I should never pursue a career that required strong communication skills! My professor explained, “the biggest battles are all in the mind” and helped me step outside of my comfort zone, which ended up changing my life. Being fearless and willing to take risks continues to define my life, both personally and professionally.
What’s your life like outside of work and how do you balance it with your career?
My wife Nancy and I have two daughters — Akira (5 years) and Alina (2 months!). Needless to say, our hands are quite full. As my family has grown, I have learned to work more effectively by focusing on things that truly need my attention. Also, I think the term “urgent” is sometimes misused in our industry and most things can wait if we have important personal commitments. Outside of work I enjoy playing poker, watching Bollywood movies and hanging out with friends. When possible, I like to travel far and wide.
When you move on from ZS to the next chapter of your life story, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want to be an inspiration for people to become the best versions of themselves, a person who brought passion to every engagement, and a storyteller who took compelling ideas and packaged them into simple narratives that moved audiences.