JP Morgan Operations v. ZS Associates Pharma MC

saresnaps's picture
Rank: Baboon | 105

Hey guys,

I am new to the thread but I have a problem deciding where to accept a summer internship offer.

I am a junior at U of M with a decent GPA and past pharma experience.
This recruiting season, I wanted to end up at Accenture, Deloitte or IBM but that did not work out. Therefore, I want to re-recruit in the fall for a full time position.

This summer I have three offers:
-Ford as a Strategic Purchaser
-JP Morgan in Operations
-ZS Associates in as a Business Consultant Associate Intern

Ford is kinda off the table ATM. I am now deciding between JP Morgan and ZS. Should I go to JP Morgan for the name brand or go to ZS b/c it is actually a management consulting role? I am worried that ZS is too boutique and will not be recognized on a resume.

I also have past pharma experience (one of the top 10 pharma companies) and have a biology minor and I am worried that ZS will make me too specialized in life sciences.

Basically, I need opinions. So plz be honest.

I am not thrilled about any of my offers and I am most likely going to re-recruit for a larger name consulting firm in the fall.

(Please note location and intern compensation is not an issue. ZS starting is ~70k and JP around ~55k - based on Glassdoor)

Comments (35)

Feb 21, 2015

congrats on the offers. I'd definitely go with ZS Associates. Why did you major in Biology and seek pharma experience if you don't want to be specialized in life sciences? I wouldn't worry about that right now.

Feb 21, 2015

I worked in JPMorgan Ops and just got through MBA consulting recruiting.

ZS is well known and not a tiny boutique...anyone involved in consulting or healthcare has heard of them. It's a tier below Deloitte/Strategy&, but still a very good shop (Plus, people who work there LOVE it...on the Kellogg intranet where former interns rank their internship experience, ZS is the HIGHEST consulting firm). The average caliber of employee will be higher in ZS than BB ops, and the work experience will likewise be more useful and more fun. I'd probably rank ZS about equal to Accenture in regards to prestige and all that, and since Accenture was a target company of yours, you should enjoy ZS.

You should take ZS Associates, and it's not even close (and the difference in pay makes it even easier).

    • 1
Feb 22, 2015

Thanks for the reply opsguy, can I PM you about your experience at JP Morgan ops?
Was the only way to get into consulting through MBA recruiting?

What are ZS Assocoates' exit strategies? Would I have a good shot at Deloitte, Strategy&, Accenture and PwC/EY?

I know I am probs out or the running for MBB

Feb 22, 2015
saresnaps:

Thanks for the reply opsguy, can I PM you about your experience at JP Morgan ops?

Was the only way to get into consulting through MBA recruiting?

What are ZS Assocoates' exit strategies? Would I have a good shot at Deloitte, Strategy&, Accenture and PwC/EY?

I know I am probs out or the running for MBB

Your free to PM me, but I'd be interested in hearing why'd you want to do JP ops over a consiulting firm. It won't impress consultant firms at all, nor will the work be enjoyable.

Feb 22, 2015

Any particular reason you don't want to pursue life sciences consulting? It's a huge field and all the big shops have a practice, as well as boutique/mid sized opportunities. From an internship perspective it will likely set you up well to pursue LS consulting; from a generalist consulting standpoint it's going to be better than JP back office.

If you're looking to go to b-school, I am sure ZS will help get you in and potentially pay for it (they are particularly strong at Kellogg). From there you can broaden or you can decide to go deeper into life sciences consulting or industry (w/ or w/o the MBA).

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Feb 22, 2015

@chron3k

I think LS consulting would be very good for me and I have a strong Pharma resume and connections in the industry - my parents both are pre-clinical researchers so I could carve out a career fairly well.

I guess I am afraid to commit to the industry straight out of school without getting a wide breadth of experience. For example, at ZS they are focused on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Immunology - a clinical space that I worked in last summer and wasn't CAZY excited about. I just don't want to be doing the same type of research and customer insight.

Feb 22, 2015

I'd take ZS over Accenture

go ZS

Feb 23, 2015

Sorry for the double post

@BigPicture - why would you even take ZS over Accenture..?

I would love to be at Accenture as a full hire and leverage my experience at ZS Associates if I choose to move there

Feb 23, 2015

because I bet ZS has higher bill rates than Accenture, meaning you'll be doing more valuable work.

A lot of Accenture is outsourcing or leveraging offshore resources to do IT implementation.

Feb 24, 2015

Big Picture - what has been your experience in the consulting industry?

As a junior in college should I prioritize the name/brand equity of JPM or actually build out an expertise in LS?

I spoke with a recruiter from Deloitte about full time hiring in the fall and she said ZS would be more attractive than JPM but is that due to her being a recruiter for only LS or would that be better from a generalist perspective too?

Feb 25, 2015
saresnaps:

Big Picture - what has been your experience in the consulting industry?

As a junior in college should I prioritize the name/brand equity of JPM or actually build out an expertise in LS?

I spoke with a recruiter from Deloitte about full time hiring in the fall and she said ZS would be more attractive than JPM but is that due to her being a recruiter for only LS or would that be better from a generalist perspective too?

I was a tier 2 (Strategy&/Deloitte S&O) for a few years before transferring to MBB, where I am now.

Yes, I agree with the recruiter you talked to. JPM is a fine brand. I'm not expert on finance, but back office doesn't sounds great,

ZS is a solid brand, and more importantly you'll be learning important consulting skills. Consultants are a lot more useful with a year of experience than they are coming in fresh. It will make you more attractive to other consultancies. Also, health care / pharma stuff is a pretty big industry, and thus you'd likely be able to keep function and industry if you switched firms.

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Feb 23, 2015

ZS mostly focuses on pharma market research/sales work and lot of the work is done by India based team. But in this case, obviously go to ZS and once full time recruiting comes, ask again once you have few offers to choose from.

Feb 23, 2015

I'll add another pov here - I worked in the business consulting group at ZS not too long ago (pre MBA roles). I'll do my best to keep this unbiased, but my recommendation would be to go ZS considering your ambitions. It will look better for full-time recruiting and you will have a great pre-MBA "backup plan" if the others don't work out.

The type of work you get placed on at ZS is all about internal networking - creating relationships with the partners that you want to work with so they will pull you in when a project sells. Of course, being in the right office helps with that (for example, the Chicago office does almost all non-healthcare work, San Mateo does a lot of hi tech work). Some people only work on specific industry verticals like travel & transportation or financial services, but most work on pharma or biotech. Some people will focus on go-to-market strategy and some will focus on operations research within commercial organizations. Some will do a bit of everything.

To clear up a few things mentioned in this post, here's a few things the business consulting group does not do unless by exception:
- Outsourced operations: this is done by the business operations group, mostly out of India
- Tech implementations: this is done by the business technology group, also quite a bit in India
- Market research: this work is done by the customer insights group, a dedicated sub-segment of the business consulting group

To further expand on the relative attractiveness of ZS with purely anecdotal evidence, we compete for hires in the management/strategy consulting roles at Accenture. If the hire wants something more general or bigger name, they go with Accenture. If they are big on the ZS culture or prefer the advanced analytics, they go with ZS. But, I would be very surprised if someone turned down a ZS offer to join Accenture's tech consulting practice. On the other side, I would be surprised if someone turned down Deloitte S&O or Strategy& to join ZS.

Business school is a popular exit option after 3-4 years at ZS; a few people go to H/S every year, and practically everyone else goes to M7 or Haas. A small portion will end up at Fuqua/Ross. Out of the people in my office that applied to full time programs this year, 4/4 are going M7 (not H/S). So, one option would be to do ZS for a few years then recruit for post-MBA consulting with the firm of your choice; that is a path well traveled.

Feb 24, 2015

Okay this is awesome.

Thank you so much for your input. I am in Ross right now as a BBA. I would be in ZS's Evanston office which is also 40 minutes from where I live.

I guess my follow-up questions would pertain to why you left ZS and what are you doing now? I am assuming you got your MBA? But why? Was there a glass ceiling or no way of advancing at ZS without an MBA?

Feb 24, 2015
saresnaps:

Okay this is awesome.

Thank you so much for your input. I am in Ross right now as a BBA. I would be in ZS's Evanston office which is also 40 minutes from where I live.

I guess my follow-up questions would pertain to why you left ZS and what are you doing now? I am assuming you got your MBA? But why? Was there a glass ceiling or no way of advancing at ZS without an MBA?

Yep - MBA. No glass ceiling; ZS will keep promoting you if you do well enough, regardless of your background. ZS likes to keep things as a meritocracy.

Personally, I left because I was an engineering undergrad and wanted to 1) actually learn some business fundamentals 2) network for the longer term 3) open near-term recruiting opportunities in consulting. There's a chance I will go back to ZS - they will pay for it if so.

Feb 24, 2015

I can't fathom why you would take JPM Ops over ZS if you want to do consulting. One of the two (ZS) actually helps you build transferable skills towards a shop like Deloitte S&O or Strategy&, plus those firms are not going to be blown away by the JPM given the role.

Feb 25, 2015

But the firms will like the ZS Associates internship more??

Would I be better able to leverage my ZS experience in an interview with Deloitte S&O or Strategy&?

Feb 25, 2015

Don't over-analyze this. If you want to be in consulting eventually, do ZS. No point in doing a job (JPM back office) that has a completely different job function than the one you want.

Feb 26, 2015

Thank you for the advice. I have since read more into JPM back office v. front office. Everyone that I have talked to at JPM back office sees the role as a career stepping stone rather than enjoyable work which I see as a red flag.

Feb 25, 2015

ZS alum here - kudos to rtw for being transparent (more people should follow his example on this board). numbers look in line with my experience. this is a no-brainer: take ZS. If you want to talk further, pm me

Feb 26, 2015

Thank you for the input!

Feb 26, 2015
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Mar 10, 2015