How to best prepare for McKinsey's Fit and PEI questions?

FIT Interview McKinsey PEI Story
Edited on Aug 17, 2021
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 10, 2021

Hello all,

With regard to McKinsey's PEI and Fit questions:

1) What main aspects I should have prepared stories for and how many stories per aspect?
(By aspect I mean: conflict resolution, leadership impact, .. etc)

2) What characterizes a successful story (and story telling) in such interviews? I'm basing my stories on the STAR model.

3) Any tips that you might think of and would like to share (previous experiences .. etc)

Thank you!

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Mar 10, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

There are some great prior Q&As for this. One example is here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mckinsey-pei-number-of-stories-6842

Personal Stories

Step 1 - Categorize the main stories

There are 5-10 "themes" you need to prepare for. i.e. Leadership, teamwork, challenge, etc. Figure out this list and make sure your stories cover this range (PM me and I can provide you with a template for this list)

Step 2 - Create FLEXIBLE stories that cover a range of categories

You need to create 4-6 stories that each cover a range of topics. They need to be powerful stories that can be adjusted and adapted based on the question asked.

One of my "core" or "killer" stories was usable for Initiative, Achievement, Leadership, Challenge, Change of direction, AND Persuasion.

Write down these stories along STAR or similar format...use bullet points

Interview questions notes

Step 3 - Organize these stories so you know which ones can be used for what and PRACTICE

Make sure you cover the whole gambit. Then, practice getting asked a question and thinking of which stories apply. I can assure you, no-one is coming up with full stories in a few seconds. Rather, they have practiced how to adapt an existing story to the question asked.

Interview stories notes

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Florian
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updated an answer on Aug 17, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 500+ McK interviews in 2021

Hey there,

The McKinsey PEI is by far the easiest aspect of the McK recruiting process IF you know what you are doing.

UPDATE

I have written a detailed insider perspective on the PEI that covers all aspects and will help you prepare strong stories here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

-----
1.In an ideal world, you would prepare 6 stories (2 for each dimension, which are entrepreneurial drive, personal impact, and inclusive leadership). You do not need to prepare stories for any other dimension or character trait, even though it often pops up here. Waste of time and distraction!

2. McKinsey has very specific keywords/ phrases/ elements they want to hear for each dimension. You can guess some via their website or learn more about it in this longer article I wrote: https://strategycase.com/mckinsey-personal-experience-interview-the-only-post-you-need-to-read

Also, in terms of presenting your story, I recommend the SCORE framework, which I developed (also available in the article link above)

3. My main tip is to work with a coach to draft and feedback your stories (someone with interviewer experience at McKinsey) since they know exactly what constitutes a good story (content) and how a good story is told (communication). From official sources, you can only guess what is important for each dimension, and there is a lot of rubbish floating around about the PEI. The easiest and most effective is to book one hour to go through one story for each dimension. Afterward, you can be sure that this part of the interview will work out.

Let me know if you need help with your PEI story content and delivery! Never had a candidate fail that part of the interview... :-)

Cheers,
Florian

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Ken
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replied on Mar 11, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

McKinsey is super transparent where they list down what they look for and the question they will likely ask you for each on their website: https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/interviewing

Just like the case, they look for three things where each will be tested in an individual interview. If you want to be well prepared, it's always good to have two stories per dimension so that you have a back up but often times, your final round interviewers are ok with you using the same story from first round.

In terms of structure, you will see that the fourth dimension is problem solving which is tested in the case but McKinsey has a strong problem solving culture too. As a result, using the PARADE method does exactly that and also ensures you have suitable details prepared for your story. Since McKinsey only asks one fit question per interview, it's a good idea to recall the details about who was involved, what they said, how did that make you feel, etc, etc.

Good luck!

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Gaurav
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replied on Mar 11, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

So, the goal for the fit part is to show the interviewers your critical thinking and problem-solving skills and how suitable you are for the job.

Behavioral questions might be like:

  • Why consulting? / Why company XX? / Why are you the perfect fit for this position?

  • Describe a time when you disagreed with a team member

  • Tell me about your biggest mistake at the workplace

  • Name three improvements you made in your most recent position

You can find other questions online; just pick some of them and start answering them in a way that makes sense:

  • Keep it short (1.5 minutes max)

  • Use storytelling techniques (Structure your speech!)

  • Try to get the interviewer to participate, e.g., while telling about your experience in place XX, ask them whether he has been there

The more questions you practice, the easier it becomes for you to come up with a friendly and suitable answer.

Personal Impact at McKinsey is all about influencing other people. In essence, they want to know if you’re able to change people’s minds.

The questions are structured into three parts. So by being prepared for this kind of questions, you can crack similar questions in any other company:

  • The Entrepreneurial Drive / Drive and Achieving Question

  • The Personal Impact / Persuasion / Conflict Resolution Question

  • The Leadership / Teamwork Question

As always, include the why you did it. You want to show a balanced persuasion approach that is thoughtful but not manipulative. Ideally, your solution made everyone in the situation better off (even the “opposite” side of the argument).

Hope that helps! Hit me up if you need any advice, happy to help.

GB

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Ian

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