Congratulations on the upcoming interview!
I’ve tried to answer each of your questions in turn based on my experience of interviewing with McKinsey last autumn:
The types of PEI questions you’ll be asked don’t differ between the first and second round. Similarly to the first round, the aim of each PEI question is to demonstrate one of the four skills McKinsey is looking for:
• Personal Impact
• Entrepreneurial drive
You can expect the questions to take the following form:
- Leading others (22%) - Tell me about a time you led a team through a difficult challenge. Getting a bunch of people – who disagree – to agree on one idea enough to actually do it, and do it successfully
- Managing a team conflict (22%) - Tell me about a time you worked in a team and had to manage a conflict (where two or more people disagree on what to do next and each tries to influence the other)
- Managing a personal conflict (21%) - Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a colleague/boss
- Influencing others (17%) - Tell me about a time you changed the mind of a group of people / an individual 5. Overcoming challenges
- (11%) - Tell me about a challenge you had to push yourself hard to overcome
- Other (7%) - Includes questions such as "Why consulting?", or "Why this firm?"
Basically, the model is: "Give me an example of some really screwed up situation involving a lot of people that you successfully resolved."
This information was taken from the following blog (definitely worth checking it out):
Expect to be pushed a little harder on the details of your stories. It is also OK to reuse stories that you used in the first round of interviews.
From what I recall, the difference in difficulty between the first and second rounds was not significant. However, in the final round, there is less leniency when it comes to making mistakes (e.g making math errors, using generic structures or not communicating your thought process clearly).
It likely that you could be given a slightly unusual case (maybe in terms of the market being analysed or problem that the client is facing), meaning structuring correctly is crucial. In order to practise this skill, I would recommend the following:
- With a case partner or coach, go through the opening of 10+ cases in quick succession (repeating the original question back, asking clarifying questions and then structuring in under 60 seconds). Make sure to review your answers once you’ve finished the session.
- Read FT articles (or similar) and draw out structures for how you would solve the given problem being discussed or analysed (it's harder to check if your solution is correct but it allows you to practice more obscure problems)
3) Other things Partners evaluate
I’m not a 100% sure but I believe all interviewers (partners or not) use the same criteria to evaluate candidates during the interviews. However, it’s worth noting that developing a personal connection with the partner, and demonstrating you're a good 'fit' for the firm, is critical in a final round interview.