In August 2023, ZS hosted our third annual ZS SEED immersion program, which featured a partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund. A group of 20 high-achieving sophomore and junior students from various historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were invited to the ZS Princeton, New Jersey, office to participate in a consulting boot camp, where they learned problem-solving skills, worked on a real client project and gained valuable professional development skills.
The ZS SEED fellows traveled to Princeton from around the country, all wearing T-shirts repping their respective universities. They gathered at a restaurant the night before to meet each other and network with experienced ZSers, who encouraged and cheered them on before the program began the next morning.
ZS kicked off the program with an overview of ZS’s history and culture, presented by associate principal Sean Newcomb. Next, strategy insights and planning manager Carol Chang and strategy insights and planning consultant Harsh Khandelwal facilitated a Consulting 101 workshop, giving students their first hands-on experience working on a practice case study.
ZS SEED fellows also learned the ZS approach to problem-solving and meeting with a client. The goal of these sessions was for the fellows to discover ways to increase access to cancer screenings and other preventive measures for African American men in the local area. Strategy insights and planning consultant Stephanie Goss and strategy insights and planning associate Valerie Francillon led these sessions, in partnership with advisory manager Amirah Patterson and principal Daniel Brox.
Valerie said that “ZS SEED’s impact is truly remarkable, as it provides a vital platform to expose students early on to the dynamics of the industry—paving the way for their professional success. It’s been fulfilling to observe the students’ eager curiosity and their remarkable evolution in terms of confidence, knowledge and professional development. I’m impressed by how adeptly the students grasped client challenges and collaborated with their teams to brainstorm effective solutions over the course of the program.”
The fellows furthered their professional development with sessions led by director of inclusion and diversity Sabrina Matthews and human resource learning specialist Mona Pandeya. During lunch, students discussed their key takeaways with ZS mentors and continued to work on the client case, further defining the problems and completing research to identify insights.
After many hours of hard work and rehearsals, the program concluded with students giving presentations to ZSers and clients, where they received feedback and advice on their potential future in the consulting field.
In the past, many of the ZS SEED fellows have gone on to continue their relationship with ZS through the ZS SEED apprenticeship or other ZS internship programs; Valerie said it best when she said “I look forward to witnessing the program’s ongoing success, knowing that the skills and knowledge these students acquire will undoubtedly pave the way for their brighter futures.”
To learn more about ZS SEED and other internship opportunities, follow ZS on social media.