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leadership experience story choose

leadership and development McKinsey McKinsey & Company McKinsey PEI story-telling
New answer on Dec 30, 2023
5 Answers
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Rebecca asked on Mar 25, 2018

Hi all,

I was a president in an international student organization at my college school and worked hard with my officers to provide valuable workshop and events. (100+) Best operation organization at school.

Now, I am a VP of marketing at NPO which is a non-profit organization called Redefine. It builds a community for Chinese women, with a focus on self-discovery, growth and leadership. We embrace the responsibility to challenge, inspire and support self-identified Chinese women to think more critically, dream bigger, develop a give-back mentality, define their own identities, and redefine their paths. I led 10 people to make our marketing more successful. It's hard because everyone not in the same place. All meeting is through the online video call. I need build team and motive them to work together.

Which one is the best that I can use in leadership experience? Thank you so much!

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Content Creator
replied on Mar 25, 2018
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi there!

Based on your short description of the context, both examples are fine. However, the real question is: in which of those contexts did you encounter interpersonally challenging situations in a team setting, to explain your detailed "Actions" and "Decision-making rationale" (according to the PARADE framework) in those situation. The context as such is actually secondary.

Additional comment: As a rule of thumb, the more current your example is, the better - all other factory being equal, chose the more recent example.

(Why? Firstly, as an interviewer, I am interested in your current skillset and abilities. Therefore, I am not really so much interested in your actions and decision-making rationale several years ago as opposed to several weeks or months ago. And hopefully, you developed yourself further over the last couple of years, so that your actions and decision-making rationale were different today, given the possibility that you would be in the same situation again.)

Hope that helps!


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Rebecca on Mar 25, 2018

Thank you!!!

Content Creator
replied on Dec 30, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Being asked for a leadership story at a McKinsey interview you should focus on your best experience leading a team (of any size), either on a personal or professional situation. Keys here:

  • You leading style is and how you inspire the team to reach a challenging goal
  • Your teamwork skills to coordinate work and make everyone shine
  • Your ability to understand and act on team dynamics, even the personal ones (motivations, frustrations)

I hope this helps.


Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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updated an answer on Mar 25, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I would apply several filters to compare these two situations:

  1. Did you take additional responsibility (more than it was expected from you)
  2. Did the situation has a real problem?
  3. Did you have your own team of direct reports / a group of external stakeholders whose work you have to organize?
  4. Have you organized the process to structure and simplify the work of other people?
  5. Did you motivate others?
  6. Have you used the leadership tools that consultants usually use on their projects?
  7. How big was the impact?



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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


On top of the insights already shared in the post, 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.

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

Hope you find it useful!



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Anonymous replied on Sep 25, 2020

Dear A!

Below you can find some examples of the questions that would help you to differ the dimensions of PEI: Leadership

  • Tell me about a time you led others.

  • Tell me about a time when you were on a team that had a conflict that was keeping it from achieving its objective.

  • How do you motivate people?

​The ideal story can cover all these questions.

I highly recommend you to analyze your stories and choose the best one.



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