All three different PEI questions?

Mck McKinsey PEI Personal Fit Preparing for final round at McK
New answer on Aug 31, 2022
9 Answers
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Michael asked on Aug 18, 2022

Hello Community,

I am having interviews at McKinsey.
Regarding the PEI, I and am wondering, if in the four interviews all three PEI categories will be touched upon and one doubled. - Meaning the interviewers or HR keeps track on what I was asked already.

OR 

Is it very random and every interviewer just picks the PEI he likes most. - Meaning it is theoretically possible, that I have to talk about the same PEI-category (e.g. Personal Impact) up to 4 times and every time with another matching story.

Thank you so much and best regards from Munich,
Michael

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 18, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

The PEI selection is not random. Interviewers talk to each other and align beforehand.

Usually, this it how it goes for Germany:

The first three interviewers will cover one dimension each. For the fourth interview it could go three ways:

  1. You are not asked any PEI questions. This can happen if your first three stories are extremely strong and cover different elements of your resume
  2. You are asked the PEI question where the previous interviewers saw the biggest weakness
  3. You might be randomly asked to talk about one dimension, e.g., if all your initial stories were great but from the same context or situation

If you want to know more about 

  • How to design a McKinsey PEI story
  • How to structure it
  • What content to include

check out the article that I wrote on it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

Alternatively, happy to work with you on the stories as well. No story I crafted with my candidates has ever been rejected.

Cheers,

Florian

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Emily
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replied on Aug 18, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Hi Michael,

In your first round you will be asked two PEI questions (two out of the three categories of personal impact, leadership and entrepreneurialism). The interviewers are told what to ask and so they will not overlap. The questions may sound similar but they are looking for different things.

In your second round you generally have three interviews and again, generally you will be asked a different PEI question in each - to test different areas. Very rarely a partner ‘goes rogue’ and will ask you whatever they feel like - but this doesn’t happen often!

Sometimes these questions can sound sound similar. You want to make sure that you have a different scenario for each question (although you can repeat scenarios between rounds). 

The PEI is really important - it’s weighted as heavily as the case. So make sure that you feel and are prepared!

Good luck! 

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Michael on Aug 18, 2022

Thank you so much for this very fast and extensive answer! This really helps for my preparation.

Kiran
CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Aug 18, 2022
Former McKinsey Consultant (ranked top 3-5%)|McKinsey interview coach, 50+ sessions|30% off first session|Tech Investor

Hi there,

Agree with all the below. I would add the following:

  • Sometimes in later rounds, partners/senior partners will assess the core tenants of PEI with non-typical story questions/a somewhat masked fashion (e.g., a client asks you for abc which is questionable/out of scope, how do you respond?)
  • There is a minimum bar you need to hit for PEI (alongside other elements of the interview)…
  • …but also it matters as much (if not more sometimes) as the case e.g., if you don't hit the bar on the case but nail the PEI (anecdotally from my experience talking to recruiters in a few offices) are less likely to make you sit a cycle out before letting you reapply (vs. if you nail case and don't hit the bar on PEI)--the logic here is ‘we like this person at their core, they just need a bit more time to prep cases’

Saying all this candidates invest minimally in PEI vs. the case. 

We can jump on a quick call to discuss strategies to crafting amazing stories (again none of the stories I have helped structure and synthesise has been rejected).

(edited)

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Cristian
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replied on Aug 19, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

No, it's not random. The interviewers align beforehand on which dimensions each of them covers, so they don't all focus on the same thing. Usually, one of the dimensions is doubled in the second round. 

It's best to prepare about 2 stories per dimension to make sure you have enough material for both rounds. 

Best,

Cristian

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Ian
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replied on Aug 19, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Florian is absolutely right here!

But what did he really say? He said: You can't go in predicting these things! 

He listed 3 outcomes….that could all happen.

In sum, you need to really go into all interviews with the statement you made “Is it very random” holding. The more you go in expecting a set thing to happen, the more likely you are to be thrown off!

Be ready with 2 PEIs for each story type…and be ready to be asked all the same questions OR completely different ones!

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Udayan
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 21, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

PEI is not assigned randomly, interviewers discuss or are told which PEI question to ask. The idea is to ensure they can get a holistic evaluation of you which cannot happen if they all ask the same question.

For a fourth round, they can pick any of the 3 questions - usually it depends on where they want to probe more depending on your previous answers, or they could choose to go with a different type of question entirely (e.g., presenting you with a scenario and asking for your thoughts or just assessing PEI elements using normal conversation)

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Philip
Expert
replied on Aug 18, 2022
Fmr. McK Associate Partner / 10 yrs MBB experience / Expert at early as well as the trickier late stage interviews

Agree with the other answers that interviewers will align on which pillars to focus on.

However, I would prepare a detailed extra answer for each pillar just in case a partner goes rogue (they do!). You do not want to give the same answer twice. 

Linked to that - a piece of advice around this is : don't  answer each different PEI question in the different interviews with a story from the same part of your CV - it makes you look mono-dimensional. E.g. - if every story is about your previous job, the same internship, the same extracurricular, then you are not showing a diversity of experiences which is not a formal criterion, but is something that will def impact any discussions about your offer afterwards. 

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Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 18, 2022
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Micheal, I confirm interviewers are told beforehand what PEI pillar to ask (sometimes you can also find it in the event title).
 

Best,
Antonello

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Aug 31, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

This is not random. However, you should be prepared to give multiple examples for the same PEI dimension.

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months
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