mck pei - can i clarify which dimension

McKinsey PEI
New answer on Mar 08, 2022
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 05, 2022

If the question is stated like tell me about a time you solved a problem in a short period of time or tell me about a time you took initiative…although it sounds like an entrepreneurial drive story, if i'm not sure, can i ask if the dimension they're looking for a s story on is entrepreneurial drive?

With the personal impact / leadership dimensions it seems like it'd be more clear (e.g words like led a team, convinced/persuaded etc would probably be in the question)

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Lucie
Expert
replied on Mar 05, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

MBB want to hear from you stories where you transmit you do have the key characteristics and strengths (e.g. ability to make an impact, leadership, result-oriented, etc.). It not necessarily must be from work only but can be also from school/uni or private life. 

There are many articles available on this topic here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-news?

You can also get a coach to prepare you for this part (FIT interviews is equally important as the business case).

Good luck,

Lucie

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Gowtham
Expert
replied on Mar 06, 2022
Expert Coach for Consulting Interviews using Mind Mapping Techniques | 10+ yrs industry experience

Hi Buddy, 
I wouldn't suggest asking the interviewer directly. It might indicate that you have a well-scripted answer. 

The best way to tackle PEI is to have an honest story to tell. In fact, if you are by nature a well-structured communicator it's best not to over-prepare for the PEI. It's a lot easy to just have a conversion about the story or scenario. 

You might be able to use the same story for multiple dimensions. As other coaches suggested it's best to start with a one-line summary and check with the interviewer. 

In my experience (a while back), the interviewer himself asked me to share the one-line summary to confirm with him before going into detail. 

While it's best to have 2 stories for each dimension. I had prepared for exactly 3. After a couple of questions, he did not feel the story was the best fit for the dimension he was looking for and suggested narrating another scenario. 
I was forced to use my other story and spin it to the dimension he was looking for on the go. 

Keep it honest, run the stories or scenarios in your mind(imagine the actual incident visually running in your head) and communicate in a structured fashion. 

Regards,
Gowtham

 

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Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 05, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

I wouldn't ask for two reasons:

  • It sounds too robotic and you should be able to answer a direct and ultimately “simple” question
  • You should be able to use at least one of your stories because they typically involve a problem that needs solving, you taking an initiative, etc. (if not, they're not good stories)

That being said, interviewers should ask clearly about either of the 3 PEI dimensions and not be too vague. In case of showing an initiative, that sounds like ED. In case of problem solving, it's indeed not clear what PEI dimension is being explored.

However, whether you're sure or not, always give the interviewer the 1-liner for the most appropriate story you prepared and let them decide whether she/he thinks it's a good fit.

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!

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Charlotte
Expert
replied on Mar 05, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

I wouldnt necessarily clarify like this, but if you are truly unsure whether your answer is appropriate you can summarize your answer in 1 sentence and ask if this falls under the scope of what is asked. But if it is just an initiative question, I would say go ahead and provide an answer and do not worry what part they are assessing or not. Show your strengths in this answer, ideally cover multiple dimensions when answering so you should be fine. For example initiative can also be about leadership.

Best regards,

Charlotte

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 06, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Both questions could fit entrepreneurial drive. To be related to other dimensions they should:

  • For personal impact: refer to how you convince someone not agreeing with you
  • For inclusive leadership: refer to how you lead a diverse team in a challenging situation

Given you should start every PEI story with a one-line summarizing the story, you should be able to verify this with the interviewer indirectly. As mentioned by Charlotte and Moritz, if they don’t think it fits after your intro, they will tell you and you can move to another story.

You can find more on PEI at the following link:

https://www.case.tools/pei

Best,

Francesco

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 08, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

No, you should not do that. If they ask you a question you should answer the question, not try to “rename” the question. Can you immagine how akward it would feel if you actually asked what was the “dimension they're looking for” in your answer? 

The interview is also judging your ability to manage a conversation. And in a conversation, the questions (and the answers) are not previously scripted. You can prepare, but make sure your stories are flexible enough that you can adjust them and reframe them to answer whatever question you get.

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Ken
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Mar 07, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

The better question would have been: what are they looking for when they ask “tell me about a time when you solved a problem in a short period of time or took initiative".  Knowing which specific PEI dimension isn't particularly meaningful to know.

My best advice on PEI is, spend time thinking about the 3-5 sub-dimensions behind the three PEI dimensions.  Use that as your assessment criteria to see if your are striking a balance between those sub-dimensions.  That's essentially what your McKinsey interviewer is doing.

(edited)

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 07, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Of course, you can clarify and you should definitely do so! No need to beat around the bush as others have recommended. You can literally ask: ‘’Am I correct in assuming that this is an Entrepreneurial Drive story you want me to tell?''

Two reasons why:

  1. During the interview (case and PEI) you should always clarify if something is unclear; same as you would in a real-life client setting. You want to avoid answering the wrong question at all costs and avoid the impression that you are too afraid or not confident enough to ask.
  2.  McKinsey and McKinsey's interviewers know that the story you will discuss is highly scripted. That is the whole reason why the PEI is standardized across the globe and conducted in this manner for many many years.

If you want to read more about it, have a look at the article I wrote: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/mckinsey-pei

All the best!

Florian

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 06, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I completely agree with the other coaches here - you'll get your answer from summarizing the story before you begin!

Now, the best way to get ready for this is to practice! Ask others to do mock behaviorals with you. Importantly, ask them to throw you off with vague questions so that you can practice being thrown off.

Good luck!

Here's some additional Fit/Behavioral advice: https://www.preplounge.com/en/tell-me-about-yourself-interview-question

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Lucie gave the best answer

Lucie

10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach
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