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Managing Conflict

McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jul 16, 2020
5 Answers
2.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 20, 2020

In my previous McKinsey round 1 interview, I was asked to share the time when I manage a team conflict. The feedback from the interviewer was that I handled all the issues by myself too much and don't really collaborate with the team. I'm kinda confused because I thought that I should use more 'I' rather than 'we'.

My story is there's a conflict between a team member and president of the CCA club. I was the leader for that team member in the club. So, what I did is I tried to talk to the team member, discussed his issues and tried to find a solution; then discussed the solustion to the president of the club.

Is there anything that I should improve on? Thank you!

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Best answer
Sidi
Expert
replied on Jun 20, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

Managing conflict is a sub-topic within the dimension "Leadership". Leadership, for McKinsey, means "enabling others to overcome obstacles". So it is about showing how you analyzed the root causes of the obstacle (i.e., here, the conflict), and what you did in order to help the team members to overcome this conflict. It is extremely important to focus on how you analyzed the root cause of problem - this is the core of your story. (and this is why the often recommended "STAR" framework is not good at all for McKinsey PEI stories, since it jumps over this element).

Please also have a look at my ealier answers:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-answer-pei-questions-for-mckinsey-interview-6835

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/does-teaching-count-as-a-leadership-example-6327

Cheers, Sidi

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Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 20, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Based on this very limited information difficult to give specific advice, but I can understand your confusion.

  • Using "I" than "we" - I basically agree to that, since McKinsey is hiring you, so it's only about the added value from you specifically (so I really don't care subject-matter-wise which great super-complex-highly-sophisticated-artificial-intelligence-algorithm you developed together with a team, since I don't hire any one of the others usually). However, this does not mean that in order to resolve an interpersonal conflict, that only you yourself needs to take the action.
  • "Team conflict" - the example you gave is actually a bilateral conflict between 2 specific members of the team, so it's not really a team-wide conflict (if that was meant by your recruiter).
  • Bonus: I recommend having an example with 3 conflicts/challenges to discuss about. If you give the top-down view first to your interviewer, he can choose one or several conflicts/challenges in which he is interested. This reduces your risk of talking about a situation in which the interviewer is not that much interested.

For making your McKinsey PEI bullet-proof, feel free to reach out for arranging a session! In case of interest, I also wrote a full book on how to prepare for the McKinsey PEI (https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com).

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

Robert

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

That's a really tough one and I can understand why you're confused!

My understanding (take with a grain of salt), is that, you used "I" untactfully. Teamwork AND leadership, means working with others. It means enabling others, energizing others, and leading from behind.

in any story, you do need the "I" to show that you actually did something. But you also need the "We" to show that you work well in a team.

At McKinsey (or the other consultancies for that matter), there is no I! You are always with a team, working with others, etc.

How this makes sense :)

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 20, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Hi,

We would need the full example to see what exactly you said to put the feedback in perspective. It is likely that the example you provided had multiple solution points (e.g., asking others for help, engaging in discussions as a team or doing it all on your own). It is important when working in teams to involve others in the decision making process or you risk making people feel alienated or not personally involved in the outcome.

Happy to discuss this further feel free to DM

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 16, 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, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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