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Can I reuse PEI stories I discussed in my first round McKinsey interview during my final round interviews?

Anonymous B asked on May 01, 2018 - 10 answers

Hi guys,

I have my final round McKinsey interviews coming up next week, and was wondering wether I could get some opinions on the PEI part of the interview.

I was unsure of wether it would be acceptable to reuse the same stories I discussed in the first round interiews during my final round interviews with the partners. Obviously they might not ask the same questions, but if they do and I have already discussed what I feel is my strongest story in the previous round, will they 1) Know I have previously used it 2) Penalise me for using it

Thanks in advance for your help

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replied on May 02, 2018
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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Here's my list of topics and # of stories per topic I send to my clients specifically for MBBs:

2 for influence

2 for team

2 for adversity

2 for problem solving

2 for initiative

Originally answered:

McK PEI - Variation

replied on Apr 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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It does not depend on the round and may happen even with the managers. If you have time I would recommend to have 1-2 backup stories per question. For example, there may be the following variations in the personal impact story:

  • Team conflict
  • Personal conflict
  • Conflict with the boss
  • Changing someone's mind
  • Overcoming difficulties
  • etc

Other reasons to have multiple stories:

  1. "This story does not fit. Do you have another story?" - an interviewer can easily say something like this if he is not convinced that your story is good enough or the story does not fit his criteria for some reason.
  2. It is essential for you to prepare at least three stories for each area so that in case you get the same question by a couple of interviewers you are not telling the same story. I personally had 3 interviewers asking me exactly the same story. Originally the three of your interviewers are supposed to ask the different questions. In reality, interviewers don't often have a chance to meet before the interview, and sometimes they are urgently replaced by the colleagues. Of course, you can use the same story, but it is much better to demonstrate a diverse experience.
  3. Finally, the interviewer may ask you the questions you didn't even expect. It's always good to have some backup stories and adapt them to answer those unexpected questions.


replied on May 01, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
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I would also recommend to have different stories at hand! If an interviewer in Round 2 asks a similar "experience question" as in Round 1, chances are that they were not entirely satisfied with the example you provided earlier and want to probe deeper on one or two sub-aspects.

So what I am usually working out with my coachees are different examples per topic that might be under scrutiny during the fit/experience part of the interview.

Cheers, Sidi

replied on May 01, 2018
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Hi there,

I don't necessarily agree with the advice so far - and I wrote a detailed blog post some time ago covering exactly this question (to avoid duplicate content, you can find the full article here:

Short answer: McKinsey does not explicitly forbid re-using PEI examples from previous interview rounds, but I could only recommend that in very specific circumstances.

For all the details and facts covering my answer, you can check out the full-lenght blog post mentioned before.

Hope that helps you succeeding in your McKinsey interviews!


Originally answered:

McK PEI - Variation

Anonymous replied on Apr 10, 2018

Hey anonymous,

Just wanted to add a word of caution related with conflict stories (I'm commenting on this, as it's one of the most common mistakes I've seen people doing while at PEI interviews): a conflict story can actually be used to test two different dimension - personal impact and leadership - depending on the wording (with a peer/boss is for personal impact; with a subordinate/team you're leading is for leadership), so be really careful in order to make sure you address the right story and, especially, communicate the right skillset :)

Hope this helps



Joseph replied on Dec 24, 2018

hii, According to mu opinion, You should prepare some another story for your next interview round. Your same answer will put a bad impact on your performance. But, No need to worry, there are several resources to prepare McKinsey interview questions.

There are really only 3 best sources you need to read, so no need to browse for hours:

1. The website of the firm you are applying to, and in particular the recruitment section. Below are the links for a few top consulting firms. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, so don’t create confusion for yourself and only read about the firms you are applying to:

- McKinsey


- Bain

- Deloitte

- Accenture Case and Accenture Skills interviews

2. Case in point, by Marc Consentino. My advice is simple, although controversial: learn the 12 frameworks by heart. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t learn any frameworks, but what they really mean is that you shouldn’t use generic frameworks during a case, which I totally agree with. But learning the 12 frameworks will give you valuable inspiration, a basis upon which you can build and adapt your framework, a mental crutch to lean on when all you have is 1 minute, a blank sheet of paper and a consultant staring at you.

3. The ZeroToMBB website, of course! Such free resources! Much coaching!

If you have any question then feel free to ask. You can contact me via my email id- z********@g****.com

Anonymous B replied on May 01, 2018

Dear Sidi, Robert and vlad,

Thank you all for your quick and insightful answers to my question. It's highly appreciated.

It seems like the concencus is that it would be best to prepare numerous stories and give off a more varied impression of my experiences. Back to the drawing board we go!

Will let you know how I get on with the final round.

Thanks again

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