Can you repeat fit stories across interviews with different interviewers?

New answer on Sep 30, 2023
9 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Sep 25, 2023

If you can't, how can many stories do you ultimately need across 4 MBB interviews? And how specific do they have to be (eg. high-level stories that happened over a long period of time, vs specific incidents that happened on a specific day).

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replied on Sep 25, 2023
University of St.Gallen graduate | Learn to think like a Consultant | Personalized prep | CV review

While it's not recommended to repeat the exact same stories across interviews with different interviewers, it's important to note that you can use variations of the same core stories while tailoring them to the specific questions and context of each interview. This approach allows you to showcase your skills and experiences consistently while addressing the unique aspects of each interview.

To determine how many stories you ultimately need across 4 interviews with top consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG (MBB), it's advisable to have a pool of around 8-10 strong stories and examples from your professional and academic background. These stories should demonstrate your key competencies such as leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, and impact.

These stories can vary in specificity:

  1. Specific Incidents: Having a few highly specific stories that highlight your problem-solving ability and leadership in challenging situations can be very effective. These could be instances where you tackled a specific problem, achieved a significant result, or demonstrated a particular skill. These stories should show clear actions you took, challenges you faced, and the outcomes you achieved.
  2. High-Level Stories: These can provide a broader perspective on your experiences and how they relate to the firm's values and expectations. They may cover projects or experiences over a longer period, showcasing your ability to drive impact consistently. While high-level stories are valuable, they should still be rich in details and concrete achievements.
  3. Tailoring is crucial. In each interview, you should customize your story to directly address the questions or competencies that the interviewer is assessing. This demonstrates your ability to adapt your experiences to different situations, which is a valuable skill in consulting.

Also, be aware that interviewers at MBB firms often probe deeply into your experiences. So, even if you reuse a core story, you may need to provide additional details, emphasize different aspects, or showcase how the experience relates to the specific case or question at hand.

In summary, you can use a set of 8-10 core stories but tailor them for each interview, ensuring they align with the competencies being assessed. A mix of specific incidents and high-level stories is beneficial to showcase your abilities comprehensively. Always be ready to adapt and provide additional context as needed during each interview.

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 26, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Can you repeat fit stories across interviews with different interviewers?

The answer depends on whether you are referring to the same round or different rounds.

Different rounds 

It depends on how strong is the alternative story that you would use. In general, I would recommend repeating in the final a great story that fits the question that you used in round 1, rather than a weaker story that you have not mentioned. 

In case you have doubts, you can also clarify that with the interviewers:

  • I  coached a few candidates who were told by HR/interviewers it was totally fine to reuse their first-round stories in the final round as they were very good.
  • Another candidate I coached asked the partner in the final round if she could use the story mentioned in the first round, and he said it was totally fine. If you have any doubts, you can do the same.

All candidates in the end got the offers, so repeating the stories did not have any negative impact.

On the other hand, if you feel all your stories are great, you can definitely use a different one in the final.

There is one case where you should not reuse your first-round stories – that is if you got feedback that they were not particularly good / that you should not repeat them. Or, even if you didn’t get explicit feedback, you understood there were issues with the story given the reaction of the interviewer. In that case, I would recommend to change them.

Same round

I would avoid using the same story in the same round in case two interviewers ask for the same dimension/ question

2) How many stories do you ultimately need across 4 MBB interviews?

For key questions like the McKinsey ones (leadership, impact, drive, change), I would recommend 2 stories per dimension for the following reasons:

  1. The interviewers may ask for the same dimension in the same round (it is not common but may happen). Presenting two different stories would be better in case they discuss them.
  2. The interviewer may not like your initial part of the story and ask to switch to a different one. You can then switch to the other you prepared.
  3. Some stories may fit better a particular question (eg tell me about a time when you had challenges as a leader vs tell me about a time when you had to manage a conflict in a team).

3) And how specific do they have to be (eg. high-level stories that happened over a long period of time, vs specific incidents that happened on a specific day).

In general, and particularly at McKinsey, you need to provide specific details in your story and they may ask several follow-up questions to go deeper into its various aspects.



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Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2023
ex Jr. Partner McKinsey|Senior Interviewer|Harvard MBA Endorser|Performance Coach & Mentor|Real Feedback|10+ Experience

Repeating Fit Stories:

  • Different Rounds: It's okay if the alternative story is strong, but ensure it fits the question better.
  • Same Round: Avoid using the same story if two interviewers ask the same question.

Number of Stories:

  • Aim for 2 stories per key dimension (e.g., leadership, impact, drive) across four MBB interviews to provide flexibility and depth.

Specificity of Stories:

  • Stories should be detailed, and expect follow-up questions for deeper insights.

Best, Frederic

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 26, 2023
#1 BCG coach| MBB |Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate | Customized

Hi there,

Yes and no. You can have some overlap if truly needed.

Generally, it's worse to have overlap between interviews within the same round

If there's a question in the 2nd interview and your best answer by far is one you've already told, tell it. If you have a “good” answer that is different, then tell that.

Make sense?

Here's some more reading to help:

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Anonymous replied on Sep 25, 2023

Hi there,

to a certain degree, you can repeat fit stories across interviews. However, I would consider the following points:

  • You should have prepared your main stories and at least 3-6 backup stories and be able to adapt them based on your interviewer's follow-up questions. By doing so, you would avoid lacking creativity and alternative answers depending on the questions you are asked. 
  • Even if your interviewers are different between the first and second rounds, they will COMMUNICATE and discuss your performance with one another, especially for the final rounds. So, if you tell several times the same stories, that will probably come up when the interviewers debrief. 

Hence, if you are concerned about not having enough stories to tell, then it is an indicator that you should prepare a few more to feel confident on the interview day.

I hope this helps and best of luck!



Check out my profile to book a coaching session to work on your FIT stories:

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 26, 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there!

Ideally don't recycle stories.

If you're a borderline candidate and the interviewers meet to assess whether to give you the offer or not and the find out that you told the same story multiple times, it won't look good on you. 

I'm confident that everybody has plenty of stories to tell, so just come up with more. 

In terms of how many, I usually recommend candidates to develop 6. Specifically 2 for each of the 3 dimensions that McK tests (inclusive leadership, personal impact, entrepreneurial drive / courageous impact). These stories can then be adjusted and used for other firms as well. 

Both stories that show your actions over a period of time and during a single day work. The more important thing is to pick examples of difficult contexts where you prevailed through your actions and to give a granular understanding of what these actions were. 



Practicing for interviews? Check out my latest case based on a first-round MBB interview >>> SoyTechnologies  

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 27, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer


Ideally you wouldn't want to repeat a story, even though this may not be ‘officially’ tracked (i.e. there wasn't a specific box in my evaluation forms I used to fill that asked me to write down the topic of the interviewee's story).

  • Firms are looking for people with deep and robust experience, and the ability to be critical/reflective about that
  • By not having enough stories, the risk is coming across as too ‘thin’ and not differentiated enough
  • In anycase, if interviewer tells you to use a different story (regardless of their motivation of asking you to do so) and you are not able to come up with a good one, then you still wouldnt do well

Normally about 4-6 strong core stories should suffice, with a few more to answer ‘left field’ or other less typical kind of questions. 

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 25, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Regarding your questions:

Q: Can you repeat fit stories across different interviewers?
I would not recommend this at all. During interview debriefs, interviewers discuss your case and recall the personal storyyou told them. They can have a more complete view of your profile with different stories. This can also happen across first and second interview rounds.

On top, interviewers are looking for different things on each fit interview (they frame what they are looking for at the beginning) so not all stories would work for every interview.

Q: How many stories do you need for 4 MBB interviews?
For a series of MBB interviews, I recommend having a mix of about 8-10 robust stories. This gives you an arsenal of 2-3 stories for each main quality they're assessing, such as leadership, teamwork, personal impact and courageous change at McKinsey interviews.

Q: How specific should these stories be?
Specificity is key. While providing a high level view of your stories can set the stage, interviewers often resonate more with detailed incidents tied to particular events or days. To best present your stories, you might consider organizing them using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format for clarity and effectiveness.

Hope this helps in your preparations, and all the best with your interviews!

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replied on Sep 27, 2023
#1 EY-Parthenon Coach | Bain | Roland Berger | RB Former Head Recruiter | Market Sizing Expert

You need a minimum of 6. There are key topics and you need a different story for each of them. But minimum is below ideal. You need at least another 2-4 stories for redundancy, for backup and for different angles / niche topics.

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Lorenzo gave the best answer


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