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McKinsey, a secretive consulting powerhouse, enters the spotlight

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How McKinsey became 'quite possibly, the most influential private...

McKinsey & Company is a private consulting firm that doesn't regularly disclose its sales, profits, or even its clients. But that hasn't prevented it from becoming one of the most powerful companies on the planet.

It's all because McKinsey is the company that gets called when business leaders can't (or don't want to) solve a problem.

It recruits the best and brightest, and has an alumni network of influential executives at the helm of some of the world's largest companies, including Sundar Pichai of Google, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp of The Lego Group, and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. Rising political stars like Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, also did short stints with the firm.

But with increased influence comes a brighter spotlight on the historically secretive firm. McKinsey alumni were also involved in major scandals like Enron and Valeant. And the firm has been on a bit of an apology tour after some negative press.

"I think there was a period of time when mystique was a good thing," Kevin Sneader, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company told CNBC in March, "Mystique is not a good thing anymore. People don't like secrecy. We have to change with that."

Watch the video above to learn more about the prominent consulting firm's history and recent scrutiny.

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