ZS vs LEK?

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Considering working hours and COVID layoffs at LEK, I would go with ZS that payed 2 extra bonuses this year due to how well we did during COVID.

I'd you are into Pharma - exit opps to industry would not be significantly different

If you are into PE/VC - LEK is better by far

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LEK furloughed people for a few weeks, not months

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I have worked at both - they do very very different types of work, so I would do proper diligence on this if it matters to you.
I had an amazing experience with culture at both - amazing people at both. LEK felt more “executive level strategy” type consulting. Career progression coming out of undergrad is slower than average compared to MBB, but not slow, and a bit faster at LEK.

For my role, LEK compensation was def better, but that’s highly dependent on your role, level you are entering, and geo specific to you.

I’d say on aggregate (I had a bunch of friends at both), people were similar in their levels of “happiness” with their firm, so I’d really determine the type of work you want to be involved with, and the exit ops you are most interested in. I think LEK will give a broader range of exit ops compared to ZS, but ZS is still good for exits

DM if helpful

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ZS is like a federation. There are big pockets of BT work. We also do a lot of staff augmentation projects. It’s also growing some of the marketing or strategy type practices.

LEK, on the other hand, is mostly solid strategy. It’s a spin off from Bain. It’s also smaller in terms of total number of employees. It’s more selective in hiring talent and average staff quality is higher compared to ZS.

Growth is usually slower at ZS but WLB is better.

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Agree with SA1. The above definition of strategy mentioned by C1, saying it accounts for 50% of the projects, considers a single market research project as a strategy project which is definitely not accurate

A big distinction between ZS and LEK is the opportunity to align with specific practice area and partners - you typically align with specific practice areas and partners at ZS, at LEK you almost have no control over what you do.

So if you're a top performer and are proactive, you will be able to select what you do at ZS, life will be a bit more stable because you're working with the same team and partners.

On the flip side, you'll get more exposure into different healthcare verticals at LEK, whether you want to or not.

As someone who prefers more control over my life, I would choose ZS.

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Staffing is a bit of a black box but I came for the variety and I get it. Staffing touchpoints have adequately addressed any issues.

Developed good rapport with MDs on cases I prefer and they now often get involved to pull me onto their cases.

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LEK

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Why?

ZS is crazy with comp lately fwiw...over the last year I got a big salary adjustment, another end of year raise, and two bonuses...I love the work and the people are great. I don’t do any tech or staff aug - only strategy

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Since you are asking this in the life sciences bowl, i am going to assume the scope of your comparison is limited to that industry.
And, in life sciences, it is ZS then some daylight and then LEK.

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Outside of life sciences probably for PE, MBB, or industrials?

Not ZS. Seems like LEK isn’t a great workplace right now either though

likesmart

ZS is the best

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L.E.K. - a lot of leadership opportunities and ability to influence direction of projects at junior level (Associate Consultant - Consultant). Hours are bad but enjoy the work a lot. I have worked with various ex ZS and did not have a great experience there (my sample is small though to generalize)

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I influence my projects every day.. Basically given the keys to run workstreams (ZS)

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Both are terrific firms, but both also are best known for completely different things. The better question is - what do you wanna do? And how does that fit with what each firm does?

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I recently made a choice between these two and decided to sign with LEK. Heard some terrible stories about ZS about staff aug projects etc. (only one anecdote but I want 0 chance of being on those). Also similar sentiment to ZS 6, where I thought LEK is more selective about its people and the type of work I want to exit into aligns with LEK better than ZS

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As a person doing the move from ZS to LEK now, I would agree with SA2. I am not sure what data you’re looking at AC3, but for Europe, LEK pays ~20% more at the Associate to Consultant levels

LEK pays more and does more high-level strategy work

ZS pays pretty well and does strategy work, but less of it (as a % of total business)

If you do true "strategy" work at ZS (I fall into that bucket), the hours are bad and comp is the same as the rest of the firm, so not ideal. The plus side is that I love the people and work, comp is still strong, and I'm working with a niche team that I don't think exists as a formal practice at LEK or most other firms

Bottom line is that LEK is probably a better option on paper, but I'd pick ZS again in a heartbeat given my specific path at the firm over the last 2.5 years. Also didn't hurt that ZS reimbursed half of my MBA tuition as a returning intern :)

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How is the situation in Europe? How does the work compare between the firms there?

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You can read my comments above - they were EU-centric, specifically UK

Did LEK do layoffs?

The fact that there might not be up or out doesn't mean there cannot be a PIP process.

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