Anil Kumar – IIT Bombay


Anil Kumar (born 1958) was a top senior partner and director at management consultancy McKinsey & Company, where he co-founded McKinsey’s offices in Silicon Valley and India and created its Internet practice (representing a quarter of McKinsey’s business at the time) among others. Kumar is additionally the co-founder of the Indian School of Business with Rajat Gupta and the creator of two different kinds of outsourcing. He graduated from IIT Bombay in India, Imperial College in the UK, and The Wharton School in the US.

Early life and education:
Kumar graduated first in his class from The Doon School, an elite high school in India, and ranked among the top 100 students across India for admission to the competitive Indian Institute of Technology colleges. He graduated third in his class from IIT Bombay with a degree in mechanical engineering, writing a thesis on renewable energy. Kumar attended Imperial College at the University of London on “the equivalent of the Rhodes scholarship” sponsored by Cecil Rhodes’s De Beers Company. He became the first student to complete Imperial’s two-year course in applied mechanics in 10 months, and also graduated first in his class. Kumar attended business school at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a self-designed major on the management of technology and international business.

Kumar was a “star senior partner,” and “one of McKinsey’s most senior employees [and] brightest stars.” He co-founded McKinsey’s offices in Silicon Valley and India and created and led the Firm’s business in three different areas of Internet companies (representing 25-30% of McKinsey’s worldwide revenues at its peak), outsourcing, and intrapreneurship.

McKinsey and Company:
Kumar began his career at Hewlett Packard as a product manager before joining McKinsey and Company in 1986 as one of the earliest Indian-Americans at the consultancy. In 1988 he co-founded McKinsey’s offices in Silicon Valley with a partner, growing the office “from two people to approximately 35” by 1992. In 1993 as a partner he founded McKinsey’s office in New Delhi, which along with the Mumbai office co-founded the consultancy in India. In India he pioneered the concepts of Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing and became the protégé of then-managing director (chief executive) Rajat Gupta. Kumar returned to the United States to found and lead McKinsey’s Internet practice during the dot-com bubble. “Under [Kumar’s] leadership, McKinsey’s e-commerce practice grew to represent a full 25-30% of the Firm’s revenues,” court documents revealed, though Kumar was blamed for the evaporation of this business in the subsequent dot-com collapse.

Education and non-profits:
Kumar co-founded the Indian School of Business with Gupta in 1997, today ranked among the top 15 business schools in the world by The Financial Times. Court documents revealed he personally raised approximately 35% of all money donated to the school and kept a low profile as co-founder: “a large part of the intellectual vision of ISB is in fact Anil’s, a point not many outside ISB’s leadership will ever be aware of.”

In New Delhi, Kumar helped IIT Delhi double its student body with no increase in costs and was a founding board member of the Bharti Foundation. In San Jose, he served on the boards of the Children’s Discovery Museum and San Jose Civic Light Opera.

Personal life:
Kumar maintained an intentionally low public profile, and according to prosecutors was “earning significant amounts of money at McKinsey [though] lived relatively modestly, his assets far exceeded his liabilities.” He lived and worked for decades in New Delhi, New York, and Silicon Valley, traveling over thirty thousand miles a month for McKinsey.

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