MiB: Bethany McLean, Enron, and Wall Street’s Promotion Machine

MiB Bethany McLean

In our latest Masters in Business podcast, we speak with Bethany McLean, Vanity Fair contributing editor, and author of numerous books, most famously The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of EnronThe documentary film based on her book was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. In addition to her book on Enron, McLean is also author of Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants and All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.

A graduate from Williams College with a double major in math and English, McLean discussed the brutal competition she witnessed as an M&A investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs.

McLean gave up banking for reporting, joining Fortune Magazine in 1995. We discuss her frustrations with the media’s role in “Wall Street promotion machine.” This led her to seek out more voices for her reporting, including short sellers. She eventually penned a now infamous March 5, 2001 column titled Is Enron Overpriced? It marked the beginning of the end for the energy trading giant; by the end of the year, Enron filed what was then the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history, caused by “institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud.”

You can stream the full podcast, or download it on Apple iTunesBloomberg, or SoundCloud. All of our earlier podcasts are at iTunesSoundcloud and Bloomberg.

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