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Op-Ed: Sorry I Haven’t Been Participating in the BLM Movement, My McKinsey Internship is Taking Up All My Time.

McKinsey Loves Blacks

By Guest Author Jenna Side, Class of 2021

I want to preface this article with the following: I am absolutely an anti-capitalist feminist. I study at a prestigious liberal arts college that teaches me how to question the world around me and offers exceptional opportunities: that’s how I got this job at McKinsey & Company. So I can’t just pass it up because that would do more harm than good for all of us. That means we all have to make sacrifices here: not just me. Mine is that I can’t participate in the Black Lives Matter movement right now.

Black people don’t deserve to die because they’re Black. I’m not ashamed: you can even quote me on that. Since McKinsey & Company serves over 2,000 organizations with significant global influences like I.C.E. and the Saudi Crown Prince, I think I have a better chance at making a change from the inside, the same way more women and Black cops would make the police force inherently less racist. Because I put a lot of emotional labor into being a good intern for McKinsey & Company, it’s really hard for me to help out with anything else right now. 

During a crazy time like this, I’m very proud to be a young person working for such a prestigious institution where I can learn about economics to help implement systemic change. I think slavery and prison labor are bad but if you look at the graphs, both these things are actually good for the economy so I think it’s important that I get educated so I can play the devil’s advocate in that sense.

This is a graph to help demonstrate my point.

It wouldn’t be healthy to learn and work in a liberal echo chamber where everyone is focused on human rights and doesn’t even know how the economy works. Also since we use the same economic structure we used when we had actual slavery, I want to be sure I fully immerse myself in the world of it before I can even think about questioning it. Even though the economy goes up the more we exploit people, it’s too radical to just assume it’s inherently flawed. Obviously this system benefits some people which is a good thing.

I did, however, post a black box with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. Somebody told me this just clogs activist feeds, but that doesn’t make sense to me because posting that black box in itself is a form of activism. Working at McKinsey & Company has helped me develop communications and management skills similar to this, like learning how to make tough decisions like whether illegals deserve to starve or not. As an ally, I’m confident that posting the box was the right decision. 

If you think I’m just interning at McKinsey & Company for my resume, you should really broaden your sources and have a more open mind. This summer will make me a more effective consultant in my post-grad life which is best for all of us and it’s making me more prepared to help in the future. McKinsey & Company actually does incredible things for the economy. That’s also a really toxic stigma and I’m working to combat harmful notions like that.

For the first time in our lifetimes, we’re really seeing who has time to just drop everything and loot and riot. If anything, this movement has made it clear who isn’t spending their time working for a well-respected company like McKinsey & Company. I personally don’t think that’s something to be celebrated and they should probably just work harder and get an internship like mine next summer if they want to actually do something good for the world. Remember to vote because that’s a right that everyone has and the most effective way to create change. I’m so excited to see everything that we can accomplish together.


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