Young McKinsey consultant commits suicide due to 'work pressure'

18 March 2024 2 min. read
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The issue of mental health in management consulting has yet again come to the fore following the tragic news of a consultant in India who has committed suicide due to suspected “immense pressure” at work.

Friday February 23, 2024 was supposed to be just another working day for Saurabh Kumar Laddha, a 25-year old consultant at McKinsey & Company. But after returning home from work at 22:30 to commence his weekend, his life took a dark turn.

At 23:15, Laddha jumped off the ninth-floor of his apartment complex in Wadala, a neighbourhood in Mumbai. He did not survive the jump.

Young McKinsey consultant commits suicide due to 'work pressure'

A health and police report has confirmed his death was due to suicide, adding that it was due to “pressure at his work place”.

Laddha was a graduate of IIT Madras and IIM Calcutta and had been working for the strategy consulting firm since August 2022. According to reports in media, the project he was working on was “highly demanding”, with Laddha himself facing much stress to deliver on targets and deliverables.

In his last phone call to his girlfriend, Ladda had mentioned the pressure he was facing on the project. “We have also come across a few messages in which he is talking about work pressure,” said a statement from the police.

Mental health

The news has sparked yet another round of debate on the mental strain that long working hours and high pressure to perform can have on young professionals. Consulting is notorious for its long working hours, especially in segments of industry that work with tight and high-impact deadlines, such as strategy, deals, and big system implementations.

Further reading: Consulting manager expects staff to work 80 hours per week.

McKinsey & Company is one of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms. Consultants that are admitted to the company are among the brightest talent in the country.

In a reaction on the case, McKinsey said it was deeply saddened by the news, and that it prioritizes employee well-being and a supportive work culture that encourages open communication about mental health issues. Additionally, the firm has all kinds of support mechanism in place for people feeling overwhelmed by work-related stress.

McKinsey is collaborating with the Indian police on the case. Co-workers of Ladhha, including seniors who were working on the same project, have been probed for the investigation.

In recent years, similar tragic events have occurred among staff of other consultancies. In 2022 for example, an Australian colleague of EY was found dead, with strong suspicions that her suicide came in response to high work pressure.