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Syneos Health


Vault’s Verdict

By all accounts, Syneos’ consultants have seen a lot of demand for their services over the past few years—a situation that has translated into plentiful learning, growth and client-facing opportunities, albeit with some serious time crunches along the way.

Fortunately, with the resources of its parent company to call upon, the firm has the ability to in-house work that other organizations may have to spend even more time conducting—and which allows Syneos’ team to focus more of their time on strategic initiatives.

All of which means that a career with Syneos may well be one of the best learning opportunities on the market for strategy-focused consultants in the pharma and healthcare space. On top of that, the firm offers a competitive compensation structure—with stock options—as well as programs that are geared towards improving work life balance. This is definitely one to consider for anyone interested in a (heavily backed) boutique-sized opportunity in the space.

Firm Culture

“Ability to combine strategic consulting skills with deep clinical and commercial expertise at both strategic and operational level.”

“As a ‘boutique’ consulting firm within a large biopharmaceutical organization, we're able to collaborate with experts across the product development continuum (e.g., pre-clinical, clinical development, commercial strategy, launch, customer engagement, branding, advertising, etc.) that you simply cannot access at other firms. And compared to our main competitors I think this collaboration occurs more seamlessly and organically with fewer silos.”

“My experience has been that everyone is helpful and eager to help new employees, which makes for an easy transition into a new job both for the clients and for the new employees. The company is also set up for remote work; therefore, all the right tools are employed to ensure good communication within the teams.”

“The firm has everything that a pharma company has except a product and R&D function. You can leverage expertise in different functional and geographic divisions of the firm for consulting projects. We can get a clinical trial design / estimated launch date and development cost from our own CRO for a valuation project, for instance."

“They truly care about the employees' health, career progression, and work/life balance with an appropriate amount of challenging work.”
Quality of Life

"Best - limited travel is required and it is based only on individual client needs. The organization does recognize when employees may be over-extended for a specific engagement and will look to balance that out on subsequent projects. 

Worst - as with most Consulting engagements, there are plenty of late evenings and client delivery is always the priority.”

“Consulting hours are generally greater as a rule—but our particular group within Syneos is very flexible on when you put those hours in. When the hours became unsustainable, I was concerned that I would have to leave my position; however, my management team offered to transfer to a program that suited my work style and gave me a reprieve. I greatly appreciated their responsiveness and empathy through the process.”

“Hours can be variable and there can be time crunches due to client requests for quick turnarounds. I do not think this is unique to Syneos and in many regards, I think the hours here are slightly more reasonable than at other consulting firms based on discussions I've had with former colleagues. Weekend work is extremely infrequent, travel is limited, and we have unlimited PTO (pending approval, which is not hard to obtain), so there are many positives about the QOL at Syneos.”

“Some weeks are more demanding than others but overall there is a good work/life balance. I don't feel pressured to wake up extra early or stay online super late. The culture supports ‘get your work done’ mentality but also make time for yourself. I am thankful for this!”

“There is flexibility in work hours so that you can arrange your day and set meetings when scheduling allows if you have other commitments, which is especially helpful for scheduling around family responsibilities. Little travel to clients has been required, and there is flexibility in working from home. The quality of life aspect has been really wonderful and a lifesaver during these past few years, especially due to COVID.”


“A real, publicly traded stock that is offered through ESOP and restricted shares is very powerful. I have considered other privately held companies, and the stock question is always a grey topic, a significant advantage of Syneos.”

“Best: career progression can be rapid and reviews occur every 6 months. I've found it to be very merit-based and people's careers (and compensation) can advance quickly here. Worst: while our TC is aligned with other boutiques, it is lower than at generalist firms. This is a trade-off that I calculated based on my desire to obtain both deep and broad exposure to life sciences consulting.”

“Competitive pay for the industry, including bonus, 401k matching to a certain extent, and the employee stock program is great and provides an additional financial reward. I wish the 401k matching happened regardless of the timing of contributions, so that if you wanted to frontload the 401k and max it out early, you would get the same match as if you spread it evenly over the year.”

“Our compensation package rewards high performers. There is a conscious effort to ensure equal pay within levels. There is equity (RSUs) distributed down to the manager level.”

"There is equality in pay and the firm was willing to negotiate my salary. I do not see any negatives around compensation package.

Career Development

“A lot of training occurs on the job and through discussions with development coaches, although the company is investing more in formal training (as evidenced through the recent 2-day workshop). I thought this training was exceptionally well thought-out and it left me even more impressed with my colleagues.”

“Syneos is a terrific organization with significant opportunities in many different groups. Likely similar to other large organizations, the earlier level career paths are quite linear. After a certain level, the path is much more ambiguous, which places much of the responsibility on the person to carve out the next steps. I embrace that environment as Syneos is a virtual playground for just about anything someone would want to contribute in the life science industry.”

“Great commitment to professional development through close mentorship and giving people stretch opportunities to succeed with real-life work experiences.”

“Our firm has 2 promotion cycles per year. We promote based on meritocracy, and do not require ‘time in role’ for promotion to the next level. If performing well, someone can be promoted after only 6 months in a role.”

“The best aspect of my firm's career development is that it is very focused team building and working together to build professional skills to meet professional goals. The worst aspect of my firm's career development opportunities is that it is such a large company that finding the position that is an exact match to professional growth can be a challenge because there are so many opportunities and departments within the company.”

Community Engagement

“D&I efforts are communicated well and the firm provides a very welcoming environment. As a member of a minority group, I have had only great experiences at Syneos.”

“Internal initiatives and groups geared towards all walks of life with equal time to address broader organization on upcoming events and activities.”

“Syneos is very supportive of people from diverse backgrounds and I feel people make the effort to support those who may require different levels or types of support.”

“The leadership is very vocal and encourages all employees to speak up and recognizes achievements of employees of all genders, ethnicity, and orientation. Our CEO is a successful woman and we see a lot of female leaders in various departments, which is truly encouraging.”

“There are ERGs for so many different groups. I am part of 3 different ERGs that are relevant to me. If an ERG doesn’t exist, employees are welcome to start their own ERGs. All consultants have equal opportunities to promotions and interesting projects. Staffing decisions are made with professional development needs in mind.”

Business Outlook

"As a broad, diversified service provider to life science companies large and small, I have considerable confidence in our business outlook Our scale and various services we can provide, paired with investments in data and other technologies, are advantages over most in our category."

“Consulting is driven in part by how much cash clients have to spend. The finance markets have been brutal. So that's a headwind.”

“Great firm with a lot of potential, working with excellent top-tier clients on important projects. Like any consulting firm, we are subject to macroeconomic forces and downturns, which may affect the business volume, but I am confident in Syneos' ability to thrive and continue to be successful.”

“The best aspect of my firm's business outlook is that it is the only company that offers services throughout the entire life cycle of pharmaceutical development. The worst aspect of my firm's business outlook is that pandemics have a significant impact on the ability to conduct clinical trials.”

“We are well positioned for continued growth, leveraging consulting expertise combined with our broader clinical and commercial capabilities - which enable a differentiated value proposition.”

Hiring Process

“First and second rounds are behavioral and a case. Third round is behavioral, a case, and a 30-ish minute presentation. I think Syneos is seeking someone who is able to problem solve and come up with creative solutions and is hardworking. We're also looking for someone who will fit in with our culture (fun-loving, nice people who are motivated to do good work)."

“I think the ideal candidate has strong communication and critical thinking skills paired with at least some knowledge of the biopharma industry. “

“I think we're looking for both content and cultural fits. From a content perspective: People who either understand the life sciences industry or have a background that will enable them to quickly get up to speed. From a culture perspective: people who are respectful, energetic, and motivated.”

“Process is transparent and structured, with a first-round interview for students. Second round interviews occur at the office and include a presentation. I thought the interview process allows for candidates to put forth their best candidacy, including the presentation as a nice touch to provide candidates more room to showcase their abilities (in addition to the behavioral and case components). Seeking individuals who are thoughtful and analytical and can explain their thinking process - some healthcare background may be helpful, but not necessary and not expected. We are looking for people who can do great work and be great consultants, and the healthcare part can be learned along the way.”

“The company is looking for someone who looks like a consultant in pharma on paper. That is basically what it sounds like--experience in pharma plus checks educational boxes. Or if we are hiring at a senior level, we need people who can sell, sell, sell. I find that people get tripped up on random things at lower levels and on the ‘how do you get your next sale’ at senior levels.”

Interview Questions

“Behavioral questions such as ‘tell me about a time you had to convince others.’ Case questions were standard healthcare related questions.”

“Had multiple interviews with questions about the job and my background (i.e., education).”

“Mix of case interviews and behavioral interviews for early rounds and then there is often a case presentation included in the final round on-site interview.”

"Recall a time you made a mistake while working with others and had to make it right.

Give me an example of a time you were unable to follow through on a commitment

Tell me about a time you were the first person to take action on something.

Tell me about a time you had to decide between more planning or taking immediate action."

“Your client would like your guidance on which indications within ophthalmology they should develop a drug. Which indications do you recommend and why?”

Syneos Health

1030 Sync Street
Morrisville, NC 27560
Phone: 919-876-9300

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: SYNH
Stock Exchange: NYSE
CEO: Michelle Keefe
2021 Employees (All Locations): 27,000

Major Office Locations

San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Chicago, IL
Boston, MA
New York City, NY
Somerset, NJ
Raleigh, NC
London, England
Paris, France
Munich, Germany
Zurich, Switzerland

Affiliated Companies
Major Departments & Practices

  • Clinical Development
  • Commercialization
  • Consulting Solutions