How to get ready for PEI Mckinsey?

McKinsey PEI PEI
New answer on May 18, 2021
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 16, 2021

Hi everyone,

I want to prepare for PEI for Mckinsey interviews. I have about 3 weeks to get ready before the interview (I have been working on cases for a few weeks now). Could you guide me on where to start and how to approach the PEI preparation?

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 17, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

I have written a detailed article on the PEI and will share some quotes from it below:

1. Learn about the PEI dimensions

Below are the three dimensions plus some ideas on what to include:

a. Entrepreneurial Drive

  • 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

b. Personal Impact

  • Persuade a group or individual to adopt a certain idea or plan of yours
  • The focus should really be on the influencing tactics you used to reach your desired outcome

c. Inclusive leadership

  • Show that you can manage a diverse team, leading it to a successful outcome
  • The focus here should be on all traits that make a great leader (e.g., inclusiveness, mentor, mediator, go-to person, people person,...)

2. Select the right stories with the right content

When it comes to the selection of your McKinsey PEI stories, you need to think about three dimensions in the following order:

a. Fit with the actual dimension that is asked. The stories need to fit the criteria set out by McKinsey to match with Entrepreneurial Drive, Leadership, and Personal Impact. For content ideas see above.

b. Diversity of experience. Your stories should be from different walks of life, e.g., jobs or careers, universities, extracurriculars, etc. Don’t take all stories from one experience.

c. Recency. In general, the more recent the better. Unless you interview for an experienced hire or more senior position, your stories should not date back more than 2-3 years.

Make sure that

  • you draft two stories each to always have a backup story in case the interviewer rejects the first story
  • you are aware that the interviewer might interrupt you a lot to ask detailed questions, which means your stories need to go very deep as you should be ready to answer very focused questions such as ''what did you say at that moment?'', ''How did he react'', etc.
  • create catchy headlines for each story that already convey the main message
  • you create content for each story to be able to talk freely for around 10 minutes

3. Learn how to communicate them most effectively

Communication is key in the interview. Speak like a consultant, follow a logical, top-down structure, and make sure to

  • focus on yourself and your own role all the time
  • keep the context brief and really focus on your own actions (context 2 minutes, your actions 8 minutes)

I have developed a framework specifically for the effective communication of McKinsey PEI, the SCORE framework. Reach out if you want to know more about it.

4. Shortcut get it right quickly: Book a session with a coach that knows these dimensions in and out to make sure that

  • a. they contain the right content
  • b. they are communicated in the most McKinsey-like way
  • c. you can anticipate and prepare for the detailed drill-down questions the interviewers will ask

No story I worked on with my candidates has ever been rejected. Reach out if you need help!

I have written a detailed insider perspective on the PEI that covers all aspects and will help you prepare strong stories here:




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replied on May 16, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

1. Read thoroughly where McKinsey essentially tell you what they will ask you and what they are looking for in each dimension

2. Take a framework like the PARADE method to structure your story, highlight the key parts of the story that addresses what McKinsey is looking for in the specific dimension, and to reflect on the details of the story that your interviewer will ask about (e.g., key conversations, reason behind your decision, etc.)

3. Practice telling your story in an engaging way, both as a "speech" (for a disengaged interviewer) as well as a conversation (for a very engaged interviewer). Delivery is super important. A good story will go to waste if you can't tell it in an effective way

4. (Optional) book a session with a former McKinsey interviewer to get any feedback on both the story, structure and delivery. I personally think the ROI of a coaching session for PEI is extremely high as you will then be fully prepared for something you can actually be fully prepared for (vs. the case)

Good luck!

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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 16, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


If you want to deep dive on the topic, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (

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 5 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

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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Anonymous B replied on May 18, 2021

One question for coaches, do interviewers time you during the PEI? i.e., will I be penalized for an 8 minute story as opposed to a 12 minute story? Thanks

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Ken on May 18, 2021

Definitely not. A McKinsey interviewer is trained to maximise your PEI performance so time is not really an indicator of anything

Content Creator
replied on May 17, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

In terms of practicing, the best way is to first prepare the answers to "Resume Walkthrough", "Why Consulting" and "Why the Company" as well as your personal stories first. Then, practice with a friend and/or coach (highly recommended) to make sure your answers are clear, concise, persuasive, etc.

Personal Stories

Step 1 - Categorize the main stories

There are 5-10 "themes" you need to prepare for. i.e. Leadership, teamwork, challenge, etc. (note: These all fit into the 3 McKinsey PEI themes) 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

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.

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Content Creator
replied on May 17, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

The PEI at McKinsey is structured around 3 key dimensions: inclusive leadership, personal impact and entrepreneurial drive. Normally, you receive a question for each dimension in each interview.

Since 2020, McKinsey started to use the wording “inclusive leadership” to specifically address the leadership question as related to a diverse team.

Below you can find a description of the three dimensions:

1) Inclusive leadership is about leading a diverse team in a challenging situation and showing team management skills. Example:

  • Tell me about a time when you lead a diverse group of people in a challenging situation.

Here you want to emphasize how you overcome a difficult situation by leading a diverse team.

2) Personal Impact is mainly based on persuading someone about doing/not doing something. Example:

  • Tell me about a time when you persuaded your boss to go along with an idea you had.

Here you want to emphasize your influence on someone else, usually in disagreement with you.

3) Entrepreneurial Drive is about starting and implementing something overcoming major difficulties. Example:

  • Tell me about a time when you set a major goal and been able to achieve it, overcoming major difficulties.

Here you want to emphasize the fact you started something and achieved it, with details on the process that led you there.

Besides asking questions on the previous PEI dimensions, they may also ask questions like the following:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why consulting
  • Why McKinsey
  • Why should we hire you

I would recommend the following to prepare:

  1. Understand the difference between, leadership, impact and drive areas. If the description above is clear to you that should be enough ;)
  2. Identify good stories for each area. Ideally you want to have at least two stories for each dimension.
  3. Use a structure for your story. I would suggest to use the STARR model (Situation, Task, Action, Rational for Action, Results)
  4. Identify for each story one sentence clarifying what the story is about and start with it. Think of it as the title of an article.
  5. Practice live, collect feedback from people listening to you, reiterate until you get fluent and persuasive

I helped a lot of people in PEI preparation (you can check the reviews on my profile mentioning that) if you need additional help please feel free to PM me.



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Content Creator
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months
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