Challenge PEI - story about actually preparing for interviews

McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jun 16, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 15, 2021

Hi folks,

I am putting together my PEI stories for McK interview and I am bit struggling with presenting hard challenge to overcome (e.g. "Tell me about the challenge you had to push hard to overcome"). As a consultant I have challenging work in general, but I genuinely feel challenged since I emarked on this McK preparation path. Combining time demanding consulting job (and pursuing promotion this year) with case study preparation and also ensuring my wife does not divorce me posed quite a significant challenge for me. Especially since I am of a technical background and have to catch up quite a lot on business sense, etc.

I feel like it would make nice challenge story where I could speak about motivating myself to continue through the journey and also seeking support from my peers in work and family. The preparation is also long term commitment which makes it bigger challenge than things when you have to pass through few bad days in a row.

What do you think about this? Good or bad idea?

Thanks for your insight.

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Florian
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replied on Jun 15, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

the question you are discussing would fall under the Entrepreneurial Drive, where you need to showcase:

  • Set a goal for yourself and pursue it relentlessly against all odd
  • The focus here should be on overcoming obstacles, showing ambition and dedication as well as ingenuity

For that specific dimension, it is essential that the goal is set by yourself + has a positive outcome.

The daily situation on the job as a consultant would usually not fit since most of your tasks and goals are dictated to you by clients, EMs, and partners or the given situation unless you went beyond your role and tenure to achieve something that was also initiated by yourself and not asked for by anyone else.

Your preparation story would also not work since you have not achieved any positive outcome yet and are still in the process.

Do you have any alternative stories for drive since you would need two anyway before going into the interviews? Maybe you can start earlier and discuss how you made it to consulting with an engineering background in the first place?

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Jun 15, 2021

Thank you for the answer, Florian. I would disagree through with " you have not achieved any positive outcome" since the main outcome that I am following here is to improve my problem solving skills and become comfortable approaching any issue that I am faced with. I definitely achieved the improvement in this area although I did not passed my interviews yet. I see their "setting the goal" dimension as well as overcoming obstacles in terms of time and obviously demotivation. Ingenuity is questionable though.

Anonymous A on Jun 15, 2021

Alternatively, I can speak about the time when I managed full time engagement at client, additional project on top for another client (I decided to participate by myself) and preparing proposal for 3rd client at the same time. But this was a challenge through 1 week where the work accumulated as there was not a lot of ingenuity involved to solve this, rather switching between different tasks and keep going forward to deliver best results on all 3 fronts, which I did.

Florian on Jun 15, 2021

That is too abstract and can't really be measured before the outcome of the interviews (''improve my problem solving skills and become comfortable approaching any issue that I am faced with''). The first question I would ask is: ''how do you know you achieved your goal?'' if we then in the same interview move to the problem solving / case interview part, this is a very risky proposition as well and will make the whole process even more stressful for you. I would look for another story!

Anonymous A on Jun 15, 2021

Alright, understood. I will look for another story then. Thank you very much for providing feedback, Florian

Florian on Jun 16, 2021

You are very welcome! :-)

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 16, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Frankly, I don´t agree with the fact that this is a bad idea just because everyone went through it. If your circumpstances where really hard and you have a good story to tell, go for it! For me for instance, as someone with architecture background it was a challenge, and the "what are you doing here and how did you make it" questions used to come up a lot with McK people once I was in already -so they were genuinly interested-. 

If you want to deep dive on the topic, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find a Expert Article on PreLounge fully dedicated to Behavioural questions, one of the key building blocks of FIT: 

https://www.preplounge.com/en/behavioral-interview-questions

In adition to that, you can find 2 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation (motivational quesitons and Intro & CV questions:

Intro and CV questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/introduction-and-cv-questions-fit-interview-preparation-200

Motivational questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/motivational-questions-fit-interview-preparation-201

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 16, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I would not use that particular story for the following reasons:

  1. Many other people interviewing may go through similar experiences – you are not going to be unique
  2. They expect the preparation while working and having a family to be doable – presenting this as a big challenge may give the impression you never had real challenges
  3. You probably had bigger challenges more interesting than this and more unique
  4. You won’t be able to show initiative in the story (technically you did not properly start and implement something, which is a requirement for an entrepreneurial drive story, but only applied for the job)
  5. You won’t be able to show results (you have not landed the offer yet)

Best,

Francesco

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 16, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly, very frankly, this is a bad idea.

Think about it: every single candidate they're interviewing went through the same prep. If you're saying this was the biggest challenge in your life, how are they going to be impressed?

Furthermore, interview prep is 2% of what you'll face on the job - it gets a lot harder. This story would just indicate to the interviewer that you won't be able to handle the heat when it really gets hot.

I'm sorry, but you really do need change your story. I promise you there's plenty in your past that you can draw on!

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Adi
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 15, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Dig a little deeper into uni, internships & work experience to find a better example. Essentially you want to find a difficult situation that you experienced.

As a general guidance, think about your answer/story in terms of following:

  • What was the challenge/problem
  • Why did it happen
  • How did you fix it
  • What was the outcome (impact on you and people around you) and what did you learn/how are you applying the learning

Keep answers to 2-3 mins max and practice storytelling techniques. 

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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