Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: McKinsey
October 23, 2023 12:27 AM - Season 10, Episode 14 - Subscribe

This week... things that continue: the hostage situation in Gaza, the US House continues failing to elect a new Speaker, and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez facing corruption charges. And Now: Some Things That Turn Stuart Varney On. The main story is management consultants McKinsey & Company, a gigantic organization that advises huge corporations and government agencies alike. They have a pretty high opinion of themselves, while keeping a low profile. "They are, without question, the go-to consultants for managers seeking justification for savage cost cutting[...]as well as a convenient scapegoat on which to blame it." (Duff McDonald, The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence) The episode finishes with a LWT-made "commercial" for McKinsey, who are "capable of anything, and culpable for nothing." The McKinsey segment is on Youtube. (27 minutes)

Pretty good episode this week, I thought!

McKinsey has advised polluters, the tobacco industry from 1956 to 2021, Purdue Pharma on how to improve sales of Oxycontin while simultaneously advising the FDA on the safety of its use with children, Riker's Island suggesting "the expanded use of Tasers, shotguns and 'aggressive dogs,'" a Russian defense contractor, and the government of Saudi Arabia even after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. They have frequently advised layoffs as a cost-cutting move, but often favor increasing executive compensation and furthering wealth inequality.

F.37: "Shea Culpa," SIDNEY POWELL
posted by JHarris (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Very solid, I knew a whole bunch of folks who got into consulting at McKinsey, BCG, Bain etc after college, and they really are a type. It's very funny to think that these folks were expected to go in and just magically solve things through the power of thinking. It also bred this weird loyalty into folks because you're functionally locked into a room with your peers for 12 hours a day thinking you're doing amazing work. People got really defensive if you said maybe it wasn't the best possible use of your mind.
posted by Carillon at 2:50 PM on October 23, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was amused by the comparison to Salt Bae.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:46 AM on October 24, 2023

I lost my job in large part to McKinsey's advice to the company. They are a pestilence.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:14 PM on October 24, 2023 [7 favorites]

The former GM of the Houston Astros, and notably the GM during their now tainted World Series win, Jeff Luhnow was a former McKinsey consultant and the team even used McKinsey to audit them. So nothing can escape their clutches.
posted by LostInUbe at 4:26 AM on October 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

I briefly worked at Andersen, now Accenture, (not directly in consulting, but I was in constant contact with those people) and worked in places that hired them and other consulting firms. In my opinion they are a giant scam designed to give CYA to execs making decisions that harm the company and employees while boosting their own profiles, and are staffed almost exclusively by mediocre minds who are convinced of their own greatness.
And I'm being nice.
posted by conifer at 5:01 AM on October 25, 2023 [3 favorites]

My company is being McKinseyed right now, both directly and via our CEO who worked there for 12 years. I still have a job but am expecting I won't by the end of the year. Fuck these mediocre circle jerks.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 9:11 AM on October 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

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