华尔街的游街活动在继续。上周三上午，咨询巨头麦肯锡公司（McKinsey & Company）前董事总经理、62岁的拉雅•古普塔向联邦调查局（FBI）自首。他将面临内幕交易指控。具体地说，联邦调查局指控古普塔在担任高盛集团（Goldman Sachs）董事期间向前对冲基金经理人拉吉•拉贾拉特南非法传递内幕信息。后者已于本月初被判处11年监禁。
简而言之: 影响了了。过去一年和今年前半年，我一直在为关于麦肯锡的新书【我这本书将于2013年春天由西蒙舒斯特公司（Simon & Schuster）出版】做调研工作。在此期间，就古普塔丑闻一事，我采访了麦肯锡公司数十位现任及前任咨询师。他们感到羞愧，那是一定的。但他们最重要的资产，即客户，却对此事表示理解。公司生意并未受到任何影响。
The perp walks continue. This morning, 62-year old Rajat Gupta, the former managing director of consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Company, turned himself into the FBI to face insider trading charges. Specifically, the feds allege that Gupta, in his role as a board member of Goldman Sachs, illegally passed on inside information to Raj Rajaratnam, a former hedge fund manager who was sentenced to 11 years in prison earlier this month.
Also this morning, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced a six-count indictment against the former consulting luminary, while the SEC reinstituted a civil case it had previously dropped. The charges against Gupta mean that the reputations of two of the most influential firms in the world—McKinsey and Goldman Sachs—are up for another of their periodic rakings over the coals.
The anti-banking contingent of the media has focused on the "involvement" of Goldman Sachs (GS) in this case, with the hope that somehow this news tarnishes the Wall Street titan. Sorry folks, but that's unlikely. As a non-executive board member, Gupta was nothing but an outside advisor to Goldman, and his possibly having sold their secrets to his Sri Lankan pal Rajaratnam says nothing whatsoever about the bankers, except that they clearly picked the wrong man for their board.
Then there are those enjoying a little schadenfreude at McKinsey's expense. If Goldman reeks of moneyed arrogance, McKinsey reeks of intellectual arrogance—the latter capable of producing just as visceral a response as the former. Those who have competed unsuccessfully against McKinsey or perhaps been a victim of its well-known downsizing advice have been licking their chops at just what this means for the fabled consultancy itself.
Short answer: Not much. While researching my upcoming book on McKinsey—to be published by Simon & Schuster in spring 2013—I have spoken to several dozen of the firm's current and former consultants over the past year-and-a-half about the whole Gupta mess. They're mortified, to be sure. But their most valuable asset—their client list—has been sympathetic. Business hasn't suffered at all.
McKinsey's psychological hold on its clients actually beggars belief. When consultant Anil Kumar—a Gupta protégé—pled guilty to actually selling McKinsey client information to Rajaratnam early last year, you might have expected the firm to lose a significant swath of their clientele. Not so. The firm still counts as clients a number of companies whose information Kumar was selling.
In a conversation I had with a McKinsey alum who is now a high-level executive at one of Wall Street's largest players, he suggested that the biggest fallout vis-à-vis McKinsey from the Gupta debacle would be to the firm's own psyche. And he's right—there are few firms that become as intertwined with their employees' self-image as McKinsey, and the fact that one of its former leaders has quite possibly repudiated every important value a McKinsey consultant holds dear has caused internal soul-searching. Ask a client's CEO, though, and he will likely tell you this: every CEO goes to bed at night worrying about a bad apple in their ranks—be it a rogue trader or a rogue consultant. As long as it's just a rogue, though, and not a systemic cultural issue, then the response is far more likely to be pity than anger.