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Nov 11

Inside McKinsey

FT Magazine profiles McKinsey & Co. and describes how The Firm is dealing with the turbulence created by the Gupta and Kumar insider trading cases:

The culture binds staff closely to their employer. Some speak, only half in jest, about a code of omertà. Those who have worked there put a more positive spin on it. “Privacy is a natural outcome of people putting the client first and the work first,” says the former director. “It isn’t like … the big swinging dicks [of Wall Street investment banks]. People who get bigger than the Firm don’t last.” Ex-partner James Kondo agrees. Ego is “one of the things that destroys consulting firms”, he points out. Dominic Barton, he adds, “embodies the humility and low-key ethos that’s important to maintaining the organisation”. …

If the arrest of Kumar in 2009 – accused of leaking information gained while working for McKinsey clients – cut deep, the reports of Gupta’s alleged connection to insider trading, which started to circulate the following spring, risked infecting the whole partnership. “This was the guy who was representing the values globally,” says one corporate strategy head who was working for McKinsey as an associate at the time, adding that the sense of disappointment and betrayal was strongest among junior staff.


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