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How should one address PEI when one does not have relevant experience for the question?

Anonymous A asked on Jul 27, 2018 - 3 answers

For example, let's say that the interviewer asks to give an example where the candidate had to work with different groups and deal with challenges as the groups did not agree. What if the candidate never had this specific experience? Let's say the candidate has significant experience and been reasonably successful. At some level, it would be a bit unfair to assume that every candidate had such an experience as it is somewhat too specific and narrow. Can she just say that she never had such an experience? Or the expectation from McKinsey is that the candiate needs to come up with a good response?

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 27, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

in general if you are unable to answer a PEI question – even mentioning you did not have such experience - you will lose points in the fit part. That’s based on the expectation that an appropriate candidate will have:

  • Sufficient leadership experiences
  • Sufficient impact experience
  • Sufficient drive experience

The questions in the PEI part are normally broad enough so that every good candidate should be able to derive a story. Eg if the ask you about an entrepreneurial drive experience, you don’t need to provide evidence of founding your own company – organizing an event in your university, managing a college club or leading some relevant extracurricular activities could be enough. In an equivalent way, every candidate is expected to develop a good story for working in groups and having to lead the group through challenges.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Rohit replied on Jul 28, 2018

let's say that the interviewer asks to give an example where the candidate had to work with different groups and deal with challenges as the groups did not agree. What if the candidate never had this specific experien

Vlad
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replied on Jul 27, 2018
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Hi,

If you say something like that - most probably you will not pass the interview.

Moreover, if the story is not applicable enough, the interviewer might say "This story does not fit. Do you have another story?"

Thus it's critical to prepare a good story to pass the interview.

Personal impact is a story of influencing people and persuading them to follow your solution. Think of the consultants - in a similar way they have to present their solutions to the client and unite the stakeholders with various opinions.

How should you approach the personal impact story?

  1. Start with a project / job description and mention the conflict
  2. Then provide the particular details of the conflict: Who was involved and what was exactly the problem
  3. Continue with a list of actions you took - Details on how you developed the solution, arguments you used to change the minds of people and people you attracted to support you
  4. Finish with a measurable impact from your actions

Best,

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