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Finding the way to succeed

Published on: Mon, 09/10/2012
Last Modified: Fri, 06/06/2014 - 2:14pm

Alumni Spotlight - Zal Phiroz

Zal Phiroz graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Computer Science in 2003, and a Bachelor of Science (Computer Information System Honours) in 2004.  An MBA from Wayne State University soon followed in 2005, and from there his post-University career began. 

“I was young (24), with an MBA, and two CS degrees, yet nobody was banging down the door to hire me.  I decided to take a pro-active approach, and dedicated myself to finding a job.  After thousands of applications, and hundreds of interviews from companies as far as California, I settled on a Marketing Manager role at TELUS.  After two years at TELUS, I switched to a Senior Manager position at P&G and quickly discovered how beneficial my time at UWindsor had been”

Corporate regime and 9-5 bureaucracy led Zal to focus on his entrepreneurial goals.  After 5 years he founded a Consulting Firm (Pier Consulting Group), and it was time to open up my own firm in 2010.  I started a small Consulting firm (Pier Consulting Group), and partnered with the former VP at the University of Windsor (Amanda Gellman) in establishing another consulting firm (Manan Strategy Consultants).  Between various consulting projects, and teaching posts (UCLA, UWindsor, UCalgary, USC), he also holds an appointment at United Nations Canada.

“As a student, my level of CS ability was inferior to my classmates, however my level of determination and persistence gave me the edge.  There wasn't a tutorial group I wouldn't attend, nor a Prof I wouldn't approach asking for help (even if they didn't teach the class).  By the end of the first semester, each CS professor knew me by name (and most knew I wasn’t the strongest CS student).  I was desperate to succeed- I'd phone profs to ask for help, visit during office hours, study as best I could, audit classes… whatever it took.  I needed to find a way, and I did.”

In his career, Zal found it was the knowledge and experience he gained at the University of Windsor that ultimately gave him the edge in an unstable job market.  Learning how to find information, be resourceful, and most importantly how to compete against other top students and applicants, played key roles in my career pattern. 

As a proud alumnus of the University of School of Computer Science, Zal’s advice to students is simple: “Be honoured that you studied CS at Windsor.  Demand the absolute best from yourself.  Demand the absolute best instruction from your Professors.  Demand the best research, CS ranking, and development from the School of Computer Science, and the University of Windsor.  Without fail, be determined to succeed”.