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Ajay Dhankhar

Senior Partner, New Jersey
Serves as a global leader of McKinsey’s work in M&A, strategy, finance, and risk for the Life Sciences Practice; spurs leading organizations to deliver disruptive value through M&A and innovative strategies

About Ajay

Ajay has been with the firm for over 20 years. With a background in computer science and a PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he is the global coleader of McKinsey’s M&A, strategy, finance, and risk work for the Life Sciences Practice. Ajay also serves as a senior master faculty of McKinsey’s partner training programs, and was previously the global coleader of our R&D work.

Ajay has helped deliver more than 35 major transformations, including one of the top-five largest restructurings in the financial industry, and three of the top ten in healthcare. He has extensive experience in corporate and business-unit strategy, portfolio transformations including divestments, capital management, activist investor responses, enterprise risk, and large-scale post-merger integrations. He has also led McKinsey’s overall client service for multiple healthcare and other sector companies across North America, Europe, and Asia focusing on organic growth, productivity improvements, and inorganic moves. He is a thought leader on M&A and strategy and regularly publishes in leading journals such as Nature Reviews Drug Discovery,, and others.

Outside of work, Ajay enjoys golf and skiing with his family and friends, and serving on the boards of several not-for-profit institutions including The Antara Foundation, Newark Academy, and the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association.

Published work

A new prescription for M&A in pharma,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Expanding horizons for risk management in pharma,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Escaping the sword of Damocles: Toward a new future for pharmaceutical R&D” (PDF–1.76 MB), McKinsey, 2012

Managing the health of early-stage discovery,” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, March 2011

Ajay has also published extensively in other journals and magazines, including Silicon India and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

Past experience

Yale University
Teaching Fellow, Biochemistry Department


Yale University
PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry

Yale University
MPhil in molecular biophysics and biochemistry

Angelo State University
BS in physics and computer science