I joined ZS as an MBA summer intern in 2000. When I was looking for summer opportunities, I actually didn't want to do consulting. I had worked in consulting before and didn't think I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. I loved the job—the work, advising clients, working in teams—but didn't like the lifestyle and having to be consistently away from home. I was married with a 2-year-old daughter, and having a good work/life balance was really important to me. I ran into ZS while going through the summer process and it suddenly seemed like this magical place where I might be able to “have it all.” I could do the work that I loved but not be away from home so much. I decided to try it out and saw for myself that it was true. Even if I travelled, there were lots of opportunities to help manage that aspect of my job. I worked hard but I enjoyed it, and I wasn't always away from home as I had been in my previous consulting position.
In addition to being able to strike the right balance, I was amazed by the kind of work that we did. In every single client meeting I went to that summer, I was able to see how the work we were doing was going to be clearly used and implemented. Our work was tangible. It had real impact. This was really what drove me.
What has kept me here all these years has been the culture. I get to work with people I really like, respect and admire, and I get to work in a very collaborative way. ZSers work together and help each other out. There hasn't been a single day in my 16 years at ZS that I haven't seen this to be true. Every time that I need help, I've been able to get it and I see people helping others all of the time. Knowing you have the support of everyone at ZS to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish is powerful and inspiring.
There are so many opportunities for individuals to grow at ZS. If you have an idea, you just suggest it and you're automatically volunteered to make it happen. You have the ability to run with ideas, to be empowered to make change, and this attitude carries through to shape your career. There are so many stories of individuals who have changed their career paths within ZS, going from being an expert in one area to being an expert in another. I think that ZS's ability to support individuals in this way comes from their genuine interest in helping people grow and develop. ZS isn’t just interested in doing good for the client; the company also is interested in what I want and supports me as I grow and shape my career. We work hard to protect this aspect of our culture, and I hope we never lose this special piece of who we are.
Sandra is a principal in ZS’s Princeton office with years of expertise in commercial strategy for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.