Juicy Consulting War Stories

December 15, 2022

I have a copy of the collection of war stories which make the what and how of blue chip consulting pretty easy to understand. Of course, if you have been RIFed, reorganized to a suburban office park in Alberta, or found yourself wishing you had paid attention in MBA classes—you don’t need to read the book  When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm.

Let me suggest a gloss. Navigate to “In Clover,” an essay by a persona who assert he/she/them worked at Anderson, later Accenture. You remember the accounting outfit that signed off on the Enron confections. Yeah, that outfit.

The essay contains what I would call baby war stories. Some big blue chip consulting firm names are dropped, not just McKinsey. There is a hint of wild and wooly consulting behavior even a bit of regret. I may be imagining that, but my radar bleeped when I read:

The Andersen Consulting new hires were shipped to a programming boot camp in St Charles, a suburb of Chicago. None of us had cars, so the three weeks there were spent entirely on campus, working overtime, getting blind drunk and secretly snogging one another in the stairwells.


But the most interesting passage in the In Clover essay in my opinion is this one:

Thanks to the hegemonic model McKinsey and other management consultants invented, these firms not only make and remake businesses and government in the image of their laissez-faire fantasies, but see homo economicus as the last word in modern selfhood.

Yep. I loved working at Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Hire a blue chip consulting firm and we will try to sell an analysis of your unit to the Board of Directors. Billing is not the spice of life; it is life. Snogging? Not so much.

Stephen E Arnold, December 15, 2022


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