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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

‘The story BCG offered me $16,000 not to tell’

Construction halts in Dubai; image courtesy of The Guardian
I’ve just been reading the musings of Keith Yost, a disillusioned former Boston Consulting Group insider. In a series of four explosive articles published by MIT’s The Tech, Yost has  lifted the lid on the reasons for Blingopolis’s economic failure, as well as exposing much of what’s wrong with early 21st century capitalism.
Even though he had zero commercial experience, Yost was hired by BCG as a Dubai-based management consultant, on a $200,000 per year package, in June 2009. He was supposed to be advising Dubai-based clients on improving their business performance. However he suggests the whole thing bore more resemblance to an elaborate charade orchestrated by the greedy and complacent on the unwary and unneedy than a business transaction between consenting adults.
For me, the classic line from the articles (in part four), is: “[The Emiratis] run their businesses much in the same way a teenager would buy clothes with a swoosh on them — they aren’t trying to generate profits so much as they are adopting a lifestyle brand.”
The articles say as much about why Blingopolis’s economic experiment  was doomed to fail as they do about the ethical values of western consultancies. I take my hat off to Yost for resisting the company’s attempts to buy his silence with a $16,000 bung.