The Consulting Club is one of over 50 student-run clubs and organizations here at Darden. The club has the largest membership base on Grounds and is dedicated to educating the Darden Community about the consulting industry and preparing students for successful careers within it.
This summer, we asked a few members of the Consulting Club to share their internship experiences with us. Our next story comes from Daniele Giraldo, who interned at ZS Associates doing sales and marketing consulting for healthcare clients.
Daniele Giraldo ’18: ZS Associates
I spent the summer at ZS Associates, a sales and marketing strategy consulting firm that primarily serves pharmaceutical clients. I had worked at ZS before coming to Darden in the Sao Paulo, Brazil office, and I was excited to rejoin the ZS team in the Princeton office. My summer could not have been any better! During my 11 weeks, I had a great balance between working on challenging projects and going to fun activities where I got to know the other interns and other ZSers.
ZS made an effort from day one to welcome us to the company and to help us network with our peers. In our first week, the associate and consultant interns from the East Region had trainings to get up to speed on Excel, PowerPoint, presentation skills, and the pharmaceutical industry. Over that first week, the interns bonded over meals and happy hours, including a BBQ hosted at the Princeton office. In the middle of the summer, the consultant interns headed to Chicago for ZStart, ZS’ learning and expertise development program for new ZSers. We joined new team members from around the world for more trainings and events. It was a fantastic opportunity to interact with people from different offices.
As for project work, ZS did not hold back; we were immediately treated like full-time employees. I started working on a project on my very first day after the training. Over the summer, I worked on two projects and a proposal for the same client, a multinational pharmaceutical company. On the first project, I learned more about physician segmentation and how to extract insights from the vast amount of data available in the healthcare industry. On the second project, I engaged in a Brand Dashboard project to define relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for a launch of a new indication of a mature product, including creating mock-ups of dashboard screens.
One highlight of working for this client included learning to think holistically when creating solutions for a client. I had to think as the brand manager, sales manager, and access manager to assess what KPIs the client should track. It was also exciting to interact with the User Experience team from ZS, who supported the design phase, to analyze KPIs from a different perspective. Finally, I worked on a proposal to address a complex business problem: our client was about to lose exclusivity of one of their most important products. We developed a proposed strategy for our client to pursue in seven different countries to respond to this loss of patent. I interacted with ZSers from multiple countries and learned the nuances of structuring a proposal response as opposed to a project deliverable.
Overall my experience at ZS was amazing. I learned about the culture in the firm in the Princeton office, which was tremendously similar to what I experienced in ZS Sao Paulo. ZSers are always extremely collaborative and willing to help each other. On both of my projects, I really felt like part of the team and enjoyed having ownership of my work streams. Additionally, HR organized events with senior leadership, and I was able to meet with ZS’s CEO, Chairman, and Managing Principal for the Princeton office. Insight from these senior leaders provided the strategic perspective on where ZS and the healthcare industry are heading in the coming years. Finally, I became even closer friends with my colleagues from Darden that interned at the firm, and made new friends with interns joining from other schools.