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ZS Associates level - Coming from Industry

ZS Associates
New answer on Jul 07, 2022
3 Answers
1.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 07, 2022

Hi Community, 

I'm currently in the talk of joining ZS Associates. My industry experience (healthcare/life science) is close to five years now, with over seven years working experience in total. 

However, it sounds like they are more likely bringing me in as an Associate Consultant, not a Consultant, even though my experience matches most of the job descriptions. Is it common for an experienced professional to join as an Associate Consultant at ZS? Should I even consider this opportunity since it might be a “step-down” from my current position, and might not look good in my resume? 

Also, does anybody know if their levels are the same as MBB and the Big 4s?

Thanks for the help!


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replied on Jul 07, 2022
Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best

Hi there, I worked for ZS a number of years ago.

In general, you may find that consultancies bring people in at slightly lower levels since they lack consulting experience.  Industry experience will definitely help you feel more comfortable quickly, but you won't necessarily work in that same area.  You should definitely talk explicitly about this with them.  There is no reason to leave this for the end. 

Furthermore, definitely have them provide you with an official JD that describes the levels. No reason to rely on hearsay.  In my experience I found ZS to be a very flat organization and their roles were higher than other MBB's.  Meaning that Consultants and even AC's were often managing associates.  Managers were heavily involved in business and practice development.  

Hope this helps.  Feel free to follow up with me.

And when the time comes for the interview, you know who to call for help!

Best regards,


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Anonymous A on Jul 07, 2022

Thanks for the reply, Allen. They actually sent me both AC and C description. My impression is that they will consider me as an AC first unless “proven” to be in C-level during the interviews. My questions is - whether I should even consider this offer since coming in as an AC might be a step-down from the current position I’m in. Especially for future employments, when I add this seemingly “retrogressed” experience in my resume, it may not look good.

Content Creator
replied on Jul 07, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Congrats on that offer, or almost offer. 

TBH, I don´t know what the titles mean for them. They are not uniform,in MBB for instance they have nothing to do with each other. 

You can either ask HR or do some research on Linkedin looking at people´s tenure. 

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 07, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I'm not sure how we can tell you if this is the case or not! You need to check with the recruiter/HR to see what they're interviewing you as.

It's possible that your interview performance will determine placement as well.

Given your background I would probably place you as a Consultant, but it does depend very much so on your actual resume (roles, responsibilities, etc.)

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Anonymous A on Jul 07, 2022

Hi Ian, Thank you for the answer. The recruiter approached me with both Associate Consultant and Consultant roles. So I'm not sure which one exactly they are interviewing me as. (It wasn't super clear during our call, although I did mention I'd like to come in as a Consultant.) My roughly five year industry experience has been in healthcare/life science. My experience also matches the majority of the job descriptions. Given that, I should ask to join as a Consultant? Thanks!

Allen gave the best answer


Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best
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