FIT common mistakes

FIT mistakes
New answer on Sep 23, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 14, 2020

Hello!

What are the common mistakes when doing the FIT part of the interview?

- Talking about WE instead of I

- Not being structured/leveraging STAR methodology

What else, and how can be prepared?

Furthermore, are there any DOs and DONTs valid for one MBB and not the others? Or some hints that are particularly relevant for some of the companies and not the others?

Thanks!

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Daniel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 20, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

The biggest and the most common Personal Fit mistake I've been seeing while being an interviewer at McKinsey is focusing on content vs focusing on interpersonal interractions.

What do I mean by that? You can tell any story from 2 different perspectives:

  1. Focusing on your arguments and on the content of the problem
  2. Focusing on how you felt, what you thought about how other people felt, and why you thought other people acted some way or the other – this is the right way

Imagine you are telling the story to your close friend – that's essentially the angle how you want to tell the story. McKinsey wants to know how you feel about other people, how you read other people's emotions and how you interract with other people.

DM me if you want to discuss in more detail or have further questions!

Best,
Daniel

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Robert
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replied on Mar 15, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

From a top-down perspective, please differentiate McKinsey vs. all other top consulting firms.

Whereas in all "other" consulting firms you have more traditional and unstructured personal fit interviews, McKinsey has created a highly standardized "Personal Experience Interview" (McKinsey PEI).

For "other" firms, you can get your answer best from books like "Sweaty Palms" (Medley) and similar, so I don't go into more details for that here.

For the McKinsey PEI, all candidates underestimate the importance of the Personal Experience Interview (PEI), as well as the difficulty to do it really well. So it is comparably easy to stand out from the crowd, compared to the case interview (most candidates focus nearly exclusively on the case interview itself and neglect the PEI). So it's a good niche to massively improve your chances of getting an offer.

How to prepare your McKinsey PEI

1) Get a clear understanding of what McKinsey wants you to talk about

Many candidates come into my PEI coaching sessions well prepared. Well prepared for sure yes, but unfortunately they have well prepared answers for the wrong questions.

So before jumping into the middle of preparing your answers to McKinsey PEI questions, hold on for a second and don’t make the same mistake as many other candidates, and don’t waste your precious prep time to come up with answers for the wrong questions.

Therefore, before thinking about your answers, let’s think about the questions and - in broader terms - about the 3 PEI dimensions (yes, there are only 3 dimensions; “Problem solving” is referring to the case interview and thus not explicitly part of the PEI): Leadership, Personal Impact, and Entrepreneurial Drive. Before going any further, make sure you have a crystal-clear understanding of the 3 PEI dimensions and where to focus on.

2) Before going deep, lets firstly think broadly

Again, before jumping into the middle of preparing your answers, let’s firstly think broadly to get an overview of all your potential PEI examples. Like in a brainstorming, feel free to jot down as many potential PEI examples as you can think of - we can sort and order them in a second step.

For getting all your potential PEI examples in order, the following simple matrix usually helps. As a further categorization to the 3 PEI dimensions, I added the general context of the potential PEI examples on the x-axis.

(Whenever in doubt, rather use recent examples from a professional context, since those examples are the easiest ones for the interviewer to mentally transfer to a consulting context and imagine you succeeding there. At the same time, having examples from various different contexts will give your McKinsey interviewer a more comprehensive picture of your experiences and personality.)

Table personal fit evaluation

3) Structuring your PEI examples

After having an overview of all potential examples and having prioritized them based on the fit to the respective 3 dimensions, it’s time to think about their storyline and start structuring them. Remember, “ABS” (Always Be Structured) is not only valid for McKinsey case interviews, but also for the McKinsey Personal Experience Interview. For this, I have dedicated a distinct blog post on how to structure your McKinsey PEI.

4) Practice, practice, practice .. and get outside feedback and fine-tune your PEI examples

Once you have chosen the best-fitting examples and structured them, it’s time to practice. It is of vital importance in the preparation process not only to develop your example in your mind, but also to really deliver it to another person.

Actually saying a lot of things out loud sounds completely different (and sometimes probably quite unnatural) than just thinking about them in your mind. Speaking out loud helps you to get your message across in an authentic manner.

In addition, here is a quick checklist of issues to consider, which proved to be useful for many candidates to remember:

  1. Be very, very specific with your stories
  2. Choose recent stories for the interview which you remember well
  3. Focus on your achievement/skills, not on your team or group
  4. Talk about your specific skills, not about the situation in general
  5. ABS .. always be structured, also in your PEI
  6. Show your self-reflection and how quick you learn
  7. Be prepared to also talk about "soft" facts of your story
  8. Practice a lot, but make sure it does not sound recanned
  9. Don’t fake a story – any skilled interview will notice immediately

For in-depth prep of your McKinsey PEI, I put together a a comprehensive dedicated guide (~170 pages solely on how to actually do well in your personal experience interview) available as ebook (https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com/).

Recently I have added a blog with free expert advice on the McKinsey PEI where I am sharing some answers on the most common PEI questions that I receive from candidates - you might want to browse through some posts: https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com/blog/

For individual high-impact PEI prep, time permitting, I also do have some slots every now and then for McKinsey PEI Coachings - just send me a message if you are interested in a McKinsey offer.

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous replied on Sep 23, 2020

Dear A,

On the top of what has already been said, I would add to have a golden middle in your preparations and saying your FIT stories by heart and to keep it natural.

Also, to the ommon mistakes I would add is to think about what others think while you are talking. Keep positive and energetic.

Best,

André

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Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

A lot has been said by other experts. I do want to add on one mistake I have seen - appearing to be over prepared.


Some candidates over prepare their fit question answers, and it feels like they are just rushing through the STAR model. While keeping to the model is recommended, when you actually communicate, you need to engage your interviewer. This means you are not just there to dump your answer, but as you speak, you should observe the reaction from your interviewers as well, take hint to adjust your speed, elaborate on some specific points if you interviewer is not following. It is a 2 way interaction, do remember to bring your audience onboard. Sometimes the interviewer might interrupt and ask question, go with the flow, instead of trying to stick to the prepared answers rigidly.


Hope it helps.
Emily

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 23, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

talking about a red flag when you discuss your weaknesses. Try instead to talk about how you understand them and what are you doing to improve them

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

On top of the insights already shared in the post, next week will be pusblished in PrepLounge´s Shop material related.

In concrete, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB". 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.

Hope you find it useful!

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Anonymous B on Mar 04, 2021

Honestly, who upvotes your spam posts?

Anonymous C on Mar 29, 2021

Same feeling, so many non-related posts, almost everywhere!

Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

Content Creator
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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