McKinsey EM Interview

McKinsey McKinsey PEI PEI
New answer on Feb 05, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 05, 2022

Hi,

I recently interviewed for Generalist EM position. I only had 2 interviews so far, one with recruiter and the other one is PEI. No cases yet. The PEI interview didn't go as most people have shared, but deep dive into every single professional experience on my resume. For every job listed, I was asked to provide details of my position, clients leadership I work with, team I work with, and my proudest achievement or lowest point and how I overcame it.

I believe my examples were strong, but my articulation wasn't. Additionally, I sounded almost like I had no experience managing a team of professionals (I don't have direct report who's part of the core team in my current work, they are more of the admin/executive assistant kind of team).

I followed up with the recruiter and was told they can connect with me next week. My questions are:

1) Can you fail the interview at the PEI interview round?

2) What are the expectations for an EM candidates during the PEI interview?

3) Would the lack of experience managing core team have you move forward at a lower level?

4) How long should I wait before reapplying?

Thank you for your time answering the questions.

 

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Erica
Expert
replied on Feb 05, 2022
Ex-McKinsey / 100% offer rate / LBS / Principle driven / Real case/ If you get the interview, you should get the offer!

Hi there, to answer your questions specifically:

1) Can you fail the interview at the PEI interview round?

This is not the typical process but the honest answer is YES, you can fail in any round - that's why they set “rounds” :p. 

2) What are the expectations for an EM candidates during the PEI interview?

McKinsey has very high requirements for EM. They need to be strong in both fundamental consulting skills (creating decks, making excel models, problem solving, etc) and project management. More importantly, EM usually is the bridge among the team, the management (i.e. partners) and the clients. Therefore, communication and ability to handle pressure are also crucial.

Long story short, you pretty much needs to be good at everything to be an EM. And usually it's very rare for them to hire people to the EM role externally. Usually EMs are promoted internally from Associates.

3) Would the lack of experience managing core team have you move forward at a lower level?

Yes it's possible that they offer you a lower level role, i.e. Associate or senior Associate if they think you're qualified for McKinsey but not quite there for the EM role yet.

But for them to make this decision they will need to do the case interview with you because this is how they see whether you're good enough for McKinsey :)

4) How long should I wait before reapplying?

I would say wait for a week and if no answer, follow up politely. 

Hope this helps and all the best!

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Anonymous A on Feb 05, 2022

This is helpful! Thank you, Erica!

Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 05, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

This was not a typical PEI interview but rather a resume interview. They employ it sometimes if they quickly want to pre-screen candidates before spending consultant hours on interviewing.

As regards your questions:

1. Yes.

2. If it is a real PEI, the same expectations in terms of content, yet more senior context with more impact (https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei)

3. Depends on the specific role they are recruiting. Could go both ways

4. Wait for HR. If they send a rejection, the ban period for full-time hires is usually 2 years, however, this can be accelerated with networking and strong changes on the resume.

Fingers crossed!

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Feb 05, 2022

Thank you, Florian! That makes sense. Do you know if there will be a PEI portion later on? I was told this is the only experience interview and if I was to move to round 2, it would be 3 one-hour cases. But I heard mix comment about PEI being part of the case interview.

Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 05, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

1) Can you fail the interview at the PEI interview round?

Yes

2) What are the expectations for an EM candidates during the PEI interview?

"Someone who can approach a complicated problem and think + communicate in a structured way in the right context+objective of the case, while being personable, adaptable, and coachable, so that, ultimately, the interviewer can see themselves working with this individual and putting them in front of a client."

3) Would the lack of experience managing core team have you move forward at a lower level?

It depends. If you can't convince them you know how to manage, you will not get the EM job. Whether or not that means you get “downgraded” to Associate depends on them.

4) How long should I wait before reapplying?

Check with them but generally it's 12-18 months.

 

Here's some reading for you to be better prepared next time (for both PEI and the case)

https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/tell-me-about-yourself-interview-question

https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

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

Hey there,

So first of all, it seems like you didn't even get to the 1st round yet. That's because “real” interviews follow a pretty standard pattern, which is PEI + case by current consultants, not recruiters.

What you had was a pre-screen it seems, which may have to do with the fact that you're considered for an EM role with no consulting background (from what I see). This is very unusual to begin with so I am not really surprised about this extra step.

Regarding your questions:

  1. Yes, you can fail an interview for a poor PEI. However, there's normally no such thing as a “PEI interview round”. Your experience seems like a pre-screen and you may or may not be given further consideration after this.
  2. Strong examples across all dimensions, particular focus on leadership, excellent top-down communication, good connection to the interviewer. You will need to hit the ground running as an EM hire and therefore have to show a stellar performance. This is difficult to do, which is why most people are interviewed for Associate roles, even when they have plenty of non-consulting managerial experience.
  3. Your question is whether they would decide to move forward but for the Associate role. Could be! If McKinsey really want you, they will find the right fit for you. However, even Associates have to show strong examples of leadership. Not necessarily “formal” team leadership in a professional context but still, leadership of some sort.
  4. Nothing is lost yet! Wait until HR gets back to you and let's hope for the best. In case you didn't get through this time, the question is whether you're banned from interviewing again. If you went through a real interview round and failed, your ban is typically 24 months. However, given that you had a screening only, you may not be banned. Discuss with the recruiter and further down the line, apply as an Associate, not EM.

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!!

 

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Udayan
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 05, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

It is interesting that you did not have a traditional PEI round. I think this is because they are likely looking for a candidate that can hit the ground running. Direct interviews for EM are not very common as most of the training to become a successful EM happens when you are an Associate or BA. Most often direct to EM hires are already EMs at other strategy firms. Nowadays with staffing shortages this is probably changing.

In this case I would say your experience matters a lot for them to consider you. If you do not have most of the relevant experience required, it would not be good for both you and them to have you as an EM as it is a very high pressure role with many ways to fail.

In terms of next steps I would wait to see what HR says (don't jump the gun on this) before taking any action. In general I think if this is not the right level for you, you can always request to interview for the Associate role instead.

 

Best,

Udayan


 

 

 

 

 

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Feb 05, 2022

Thank you, Udayan! This is very helpful. Yes, I totally believe that the staff shortage is the reason why I even get an interview. I do work in high demand and fast paced environment reporting directly to upper leadership (internal and client), just not in management consulting. It's a totally a different beast. I would want to learn how to walk before trying to run. All in all, I appreciate I got the experience interviewing with MBB as I've always wanted to break into management consulting. Thank you again for taking time to answer my questions.

Udayan on Feb 05, 2022

All the best! You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. You will do well anywhere.

Erica gave the best answer

Erica

Ex-McKinsey / 100% offer rate / LBS / Principle driven / Real case/ If you get the interview, you should get the offer!
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