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a situation where you handled conflict, and how did you resolve that conflict

1st round McKinsey McKinsey & Company McKinsey PEI story-telling
New answer on Sep 25, 2020
4 Answers
5.6 k Views
Rebecca asked on Mar 25, 2018

Hi all,

I have a personal experience for team conflict during the case competition. However, I am not sure this is a good example. Do you think is too simple or not dramatical? Please kindly advise. Thank you!!!


I participated Case Competition at Princeton University. My team as a consultant team to provide recommendations to Spotify which is leading company in online music streaming industry to increase their profit. We provided short term recovery stage and long term transformative stage. Then I thought there still have some risk during the implementation of each stage. I talked with my teammates that we need add some slides about risk side. However, all my teammates did not agree with my opinion and they suggested giving up risk since besides risk we have a strong recommendation and we only have two days left. There is not enough time for everyone to increase some risk part and also prepare for presentation. I did not argued with them. I think we still need a comprehensive suggestion to our client in the real world. When I back home, I made some research about how to build or outsource an E-commerce store at mobile app and conducted informative interviewed with spotify employee. I knew there is a lot of risk if Spotify want to make some move. I wrote one part of the risk with the mitigation plan. Then I talked with my teammates again. “We came together and spent a lot of time because we want to improve our skill and win the case competition. There have a lot of risk during our recommendation implementation. For example, our e-commerce store outsourcing part, Spotify will face a delay in work progress, inconsistent quality and intellectual property at risk. We can provide the mitigation plan such as make comprehensive research, do test to run a product and prepare legal solution.” My teammates looked carefully at my risk and mitigation plan. Then I motivated them and said, “Although time was limited, we can work hard together and make our solution more possibility to win the competition.This is called-teamwork. I cannot do all of these without your help. At this point, they all agreed with my strategy. Then I distributed the task to each of them to make our process more efficiency. During the competition, our judge loved risk and mitigation plan. Our team is Top 4 for the competition."

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Anonymous replied on Mar 26, 2018


It is very important "how" you tell the story. Even the best story will not work if you're presentation is not to the point. Being able to communicate effectively is key for a consultant and that is also what they want to see.

I think you can use the story (if you can't think of anything else). You should tweak it a bit and highlight the key points a bit more.

Key things to remember:

> Structure your story (1) Situation (What is the context) (2) Complication (What was the conflict?) (3) Solution (How did you resolve the conflict?) In your story 2 and 3 is not clear enough.

> Be specific but keep it simple. It is a fine line between being too generic and adding too many unnecessary details. Your mention lots of details in your stories that are not always helpful for proving your point.

> Not longer than 2min. It is important to be to the point and bring across your key messages in 2min or less. So practice your presentation.

Good luck! I am sure if you go over it again and practice, you will have an excellent story to tell :-)

Best, E

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replied on Mar 25, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I would say there are several problems with that story:

  1. The context is non-business (case competition). Be sure, 70% of the candidates will have similar stories.
  2. The problem is too small (slide?)
  3. The story lacks the specific tools how you handled the conflict
  4. There is no clear impact

Thus I recommend making a different story


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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


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Anonymous replied on Sep 25, 2020

Dear Rebecca!

Please use this structure for your story, which consists of 5 components:

1. Situation (background)

2. Problem (Complication)

3. Your approach (how did you manage this problem)

4. Results (Outcomes of your approach)

5. Your learnings (what you take from this situation)

If you can apply this framework to every of your PEI stories and communicate in a top-down way, you would definitely leave a great impression. For more details, feel free to approach me.

Good luck,


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