McKinsey 1 round interview PEI

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New answer on Aug 22, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 15, 2020

Hello everyone,

I have an upcoming 1 round interview with Mckinsey, and I am looking for some suggestions to better prepare myself.

1. For the PEI part, do I need to prepare two different stories for seperate interviews? Or can I use the same story with different perspectives?

2. I have already finished LOMs and Crafting Cases and practiced over 15 different cases already. I am quite nervous for the cases and don't know how to plan for the next 1 week before my interview. Can anyone give me some suggestion?

Thank you!

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Daniel
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replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

I don't agree with Clara – at least in McKinsey Germany interviewers do shortly share the stories content, so I wouldn't recommend using the same story.

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Francesco
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replied on Jan 16, 2020
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Hi Anonymous,

I replied to your questions below:

  1. I would prepare at least two stories per major topic (leadership, drive, impact). The reasons are:
    1. One of the interviewers may not like the story and ask for another example
    2. You could use different stories for a different formulation of the same topic thus fitting better the question
    3. You will show a broader level of experience if the interviewers discuss your stories
  2. If you don’t feel confident, it would be better to reschedule. If you feel confident or it is not possible to reschedule I would recommend the following:
    1. Do at least a case per day until the day before the interview, more if you have more time
    2. If you have a “failure” doc with all the mistakes you did, be sure to review the mistakes and try to redo the most challenging cases
    3. Prepare your questions for the interviewer
    4. The day before the interview repeat the answers for all the major fit questions
    5. Stop the preparation at 6pm and have a good night sleep the day before

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Aug 22, 2020

Hello, A!

Please use different stories in order to avoid any problems. For every story, I would recommend you to use a specific structure, which consists of 5 components:

1. Situation (background)

2. Problem (Complication)

3. Your approach (how did you manage this problem)

4. Results (Outcomes of your approach)

5. Your learnings (what you take from this situation)

If you can apply this framework to every of your PEI stories and communicate in a top-down way, you would definitely leave a great impression.

2) You can also read Case In Point by Cosentino to understand different types of cases and approaches to crack them.

For more details, feel free to approach me.

Best,

Andre

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Clara
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replied on Jan 16, 2020
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Hello!

To your questions:

1. Interviewers don´t share the content of the stories you tell them, so you can use the same story for a similar question if it´s with 2 different people.

2. A priori, 15 interviews seems little to me to be fully prepped. If you don´t feel 100%, I would reschedule, since you only get one shot. If you do feel sure, do some more practice without exceeding either, to arrive fresh.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Robert
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replied on Jan 16, 2020
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Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your questions - I will focus on answering the first one.

Let’s think on our own why it does not make sense to re-use the same PEI examples across different McKinsey interviews or interview rounds:

  • It does not add any value to your profile at McKinsey – repeating the same information to different interviewers is a waste of precious face-time to convince McKinsey about your skills and experience.
  • You communicate implicitly that you don’t have a lot of experience in those areas, if there is just one single situation you can talk about in one or more of your interviews.
  • Repeating the same example from your 1st interview round in your 2nd round of McKinsey interviews is an equally bad idea. What typically happens in the second round of the interviews is that they will try to better understand those aspects where you could not fully convince the interviewers in the first round. So the interviewers in the second round will bring up this aspect again – and in case that this was a specific PEI dimension, it is not very clever to tell the same example a second time if it was not convincing in the first place.

If I should not use the same McKinsey PEI examples at all – can I use the same situation for different PEI examples at least?

Generally speaking, it’s possible and in any case much better than using the same PEI example in different interviews. However, if you do have the choice, it is better to use different situations also for the different dimensions.

The interviewers will sit down together after the first round and discuss their impressions from each candidate. In case there is any slightest doubt whether or not he should be passed on to the second round, they will also discuss some more detailed aspects about which they are not 100% sure. In case this happens to be the PEI, each interviewer will probably briefly summarize your PEI and give his personal impression.

If now everyone of those 3 interviewers come up with the same or very similar example from you, it just sounds odd and will trigger additional doubts if this is the right candidate, if there was just one single basic situation which was used for all dimensions (questioning whether this candidate has the required experience McKinsey would like to see if there was obviously just one single situation that the candidate could talk about).

I extracted this part from one of my blog posts - you can read the full article here, including an official statement of McKinsey on that topic: https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com/blog/can-i-use-the-same-pei-example-in-different-interviews/

Hope that helps - if you need tailored advice, please feel free to contact me for a McKinsey PEI coaching session!

Robert

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Antonello
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replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
1. There is no problem in providing the same impactful story to different interviewers.
2. I recommend practicing really assigned cases with strong candidates or coaches. I usually recommend arriving at the 1st round with 40+ cases, therefore I suggest a structured prep plan for next days or evaluating a rescheduling.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

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Vlad
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replied on Jan 15, 2020
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Hi,

1) You have to provide different stories for different types of questions. However, you can use the same story for the same question. Interviewers will not discuss your stories with each other - they have other work to do

2) 15 cases is definitely not enough for an interview. I recommend rescheduling an interview. There is absolutely no penalty for rescheduling. Please value your time and efforts

Best

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Giulia
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replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey Business Analyst | 3+ years Experience | MBA at LBS

Hi,

for the PEI part, try to focus on what's true and your true self. I would only think about one story per "type" of PEI question. It is highly improbable that they are going to ask you the same PEI questions, they are usually 1-2 per interview and they to vary.

for the last week preparation, I would simply keep preparing during the week without studying like crazy. You want to arrive prepared but not over stressed :)

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Anonymous A on Jan 15, 2020

Hi Giulia, thank you for the quick response. Generally, will there be more than two types of PEI question in the same interview?

Giulia on Jan 15, 2020

There a lot actually! A few examples: talk me through your CV, talk to me about a situation when you showed leadership, a situation when you faced conflicts and how you solved it, a big failure in your life and how you reacted, would you change anything of your academic history and why, tell me your three main strengths/areas of improvements..

Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

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