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McKinsey Behavioral Question

behavioral behavioral interviews McKinsey
New answer on Sep 30, 2023
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 23, 2022


Any help with McKinley's behavioral questions before the case interview.

I am not sure how to prepare for them and what to except. 

If there is any tips on they are looking for and what I need say/do will be much appreciated! 


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 24, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi there, 

generally speaking about personal interview, bare in mind:

Questions will be selected based on your CV and cover letter (in addition to your job position), ensure alignment when preparing all 3

Choose the right stories, ensure they transmit unequivocally the key strengths MBB looks for (and they are better than the 99% of other candidates) -> challenge you on this

Prepare approx. 2 stories per topic (e.g. leadership, impact)

Be specific and provide evidence: quantify, use KPIs/numbers - they stick in mind!! (Bear in mind that, just because you held some role does not mean you were actually good at it)

•talk about a specific experience that reflects how you demonstrate a particular consulting-relevant trait that doesn’t leave any doubt and room for misinterpretation

to prepare a story:

1. Make sure to share context of the story - the obvious to you, e.g. Ikea is the largest furniture producer and seller worldwide with xxx % of market share: 99% forget it which makes impossible to follow

2. Explain your role

3. Your solution (should be clear it was your call, and you equivacably demostrate key skills)

4. Result and impact

5. Learning and future use

Last but not least test your stories. Tell them someone with very different background and tell them to tell you what they understood. This is the best method. 

Good luck!


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

Hi there,

On your question:

1) How is the PEI interview process?

  • Look for 2-3 good stories on each dimension and make sure they have a strong outcome / achievement
  • Start giving 1-2 minutes overview of the situation and the big steps you took to solve it
  • From there you can ask your interviewer if he/she wants more context of would like to focus on a specific part

2) Which dimensions you should cover?

  • Entrepreneurship: focusing on how you delivered impact out of your comfort zone
  • Leadership: focusing on leading a team towards a challenging goal
  • Personal impact: focusing on persuading an individual or group with an opposing opinion
  • Courageous change: focusing on dealing with ambiguity



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replied on Nov 25, 2022
Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor

Hi there,

There are known types of PEI questions (leadership, impact, entrepreneurship and problem solving). In order to crack these, you would need to:

1- understand the difference between these and what the interviewers usually look for

2- Have your stories ready and ensure they are flexible and diverse enough to fit multiple skills/themes

3- Practice, practice, practice. I can't stress enough on how much that's important as you can only get so far by going through the theory only without testing the PEI part with peers or coaches.


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 23, 2022
Limited Availability | BCG Expert | Middle East Expert | 100+ Mocks Delivered | IESE & NYU MBA | Ex-KPMG Dxb Consultant


You need to focus on 2 things:

1) Prepare detailed stories: I'm sure you are aware of the standard FIT questions in consulting interviews. How this differs for McKinsey, is that you need to be able to talk for 5-10 minutes on this same topic if prompted by the interviewer. Often times you may start with the standard 2 min answer to a question, but then the interviewer will probe further and ask you what exactly was the situation, what exactly did you do, what exactly were the results.

Thus it is very important that you flesh out the details while you are preparing to be able to add/subtract details during the interview.

2) Prepare alternate stories: As you may already know, the same question may be asked by more than 1 interviewer. In this case, you must mention different stories. Its a general practice to not repeat the same stories across interviews. And thus you would need to prepare 3-4 alternate stories for every fit question. Of course, if your stories have multiple takeaways, you can tweak a ‘success’ story and make it a ‘favourite project’ story and thus minimise your overall effort.

Happy to discuss over chat.

All the best!



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 23, 2022
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hey there,

I have written a very detailed article on the McKinsey behavioral interview (the PEI).

McKinsey interviews are highly standardized across the globe to ensure objectivity and reduce bias. That is why they consist of the same two main components in each office, the problem-solving interview, and the personal experience interview.

At its core, the McKinsey Personal Experience Interview is a behavioral interview, yet it comes with a twist. Instead of asking many rapid-fire questions like in a typical personal fit interview (e.g., what are your strengths, weaknesses, why consulting, why McKinsey, etc.) it revolves around three specific character traits that will be discussed in great detail.

Each Personal Experience Interview focuses on one specific trait at a time and can last up to 20 minutes. In the whole process, you will have to talk about three different traits, more specifically

  • Entrepreneurial drive OR Courageous Change
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Personal impact

Inclusive Leadership

The interviewer will ask you about a situation where you led a team through a challenging time to achieve a certain goal. For this dimension, you need to show that you ...

  • ... can handle a diverse group that accepts you as their leader, with diversity being the result of different backgrounds, cultures, hierarchy levels, etc.
  • ... tailor your leadership style to different groups and group members
  • ... demonstrate your ability to make the team succeed by helping to structure, divide, and delegate tasks and providing them with work plans, deadlines, and effective communication
  • ... motivate your team, improve the team spirit and the working environment for all involved
  • ... are interested in the well-being of the team and their own individual development along the way
  • ... deal with conflicts between teammates and goals effectively

Overall, showcase that your presence as a team leader had a positive impact on the team and lead to a strong outcome for a particular project or task.


Entrepreneurial drive

For this dimension, the interviewer will ask you about a situation where you set a goal for yourself and achieved it against all odds. You need to demonstrate

  • ambition and dedication by pursuing several goals at the same time
  • an intrinsic desire and motivation to achieve this goal
  • how you overcame obstacles or faced headwinds along the way by coming up with creative and new ideas or approaches
  • how you follow the goals with energy and passion until you reached the desired outcome


Personal impact

For this dimension, you will be asked to tell a story in which you influenced or persuaded an individual or a group of people. This can either be about them adopting a certain idea or plan of yours, helping you with achieving your own goals and driving something together, etc. Focus on stories that showcase how you

  • worked with challenging individuals or groups, ideally more senior than your own role
  • needed to understand their concerns and reservations first
  • were able to convince them by using a mix of the right set of arguments and effective communication
  • created a sustainable way of working together or even a solution to a difficult problem


Courageous Change

McKinsey has started to replace the Entrepreneurial Drive dimension with a new dimension called Courageous Change in a couple of countries. What they want you to talk about is a situation where you faced and maneuvered a significant change or an ambiguous situation, adapting to new circumstances. You need to demonstrate that you

  • are able to quickly adjust to new situations and change your course of action if needed
  • have the resilience to deal with setbacks and stressful environments
  • use challenging situations as a learning and step-up opportunity
  • can act based on limited or ambiguous information that is available to you
  • overcome obstacles or face headwinds along the way by coming up with creative and new ideas or approaches
  • remain positive throughout the whole experience

The new dimension is very similar to Entrepreneurial Drive and most of your content elements overlap.

For more on how to structure and tell your stories, see here:



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 24, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

There's so much here that just a Q&A won't be sufficient! If you're starting from scratch I recommend both Florian and Francesco's PEI guides.

There are also so many resources out there!

If you're really struggling, I highly recommend getting a coaching to help you have the best possible story.

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