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McKinsey's Big, Nasty Conflicts

Why do so many people want to work for what appears to be a corrupt organization?

McKinsey is a giant in the eyes of business school-types. The white-shoe consultancy only hires the most brilliant people, does the most high-flying work, and operates in a cloak of secrecy. Young Capitalists would do nearly anything for the McKinsey seal of approval.

But impressive investigative work has exposed McKinsey's massive and ongoing conflicts of interest. Below is a sample, and, like many large organizations, we continue to discover there's a lot of rot under prestige.

2016: FT disclosed that McKinsey operated a "secretive" $5bn internal investment arm that manages the fortunes of its past and present partners.

2018: McKinsey helped Saudi Arabia's dictator silence online critics. Not sure what that has to do with operational efficiencies or other business-y things.

2018: The not-so-minor issue of propping up a corrupt state-owned monopoly in South Africa.

2018: McKinsey's Masters of the Universe throwing a lavish party a stone's throw away from an industrial-scale concentration camp in modern-day China.

2019: McKinsey agreed to a $15m settlement with the US Department of Justice for failing to properly disclose conflicts of interest in bankruptcy cases "over two decades."

2021: US prosecutors charged a partner at consulting firm McKinsey with securities fraud for alleged insider trading. This partner turned a handsome profit on non-public information ahead of a multi-billion dollar merger.

2021: McKinsey is ordered to pay an $18m fine for failing to prevent its partners from "misusing inside information they accessed through their consulting work."

2021: Perhaps its biggest scandal of all: working with the Sackler family. McKinsey agrees to pay a $600 million fine for "helping to turbocharge opioid sales."