Mckinsey PEI difference drive and personal impact

McKinsey McKinsey PEI Personal Fit
Edited on Jun 10, 2021
5 Answers
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asked on Oct 07, 2017
Looking for case study partners, preparing for Mckinsey, Bain, Strategy& etc.

hey there

I am currently preparing for the Mckinsey PEIs and am still trying to understand the dimensions. Leadership is quite straightforward. However, could someone explain what exactly the difference between drive and personal impact stories should be? I.e. what should be highlighted/what kind of stories should be chosen.

Thank you in advance


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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 10, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.900+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Sandra,

great question, that’s actually something many candidates confuse. I have provided a description of the different areas below, together with what to focus on:

1) Personal Impact is mainly based on persuading someone about doing/not doing something. Questions include:

  1. Tell me about a time that you persuaded your boss to go along with an idea you had.
  2. Tell me about a difficult situation where you had to rely on your communication skills. 

Here you want to emphasize your influence on someone else, usually in disagreement with you.

2) Entrepreneurial Drive is about starting and implementing something overcoming major difficulties. Examples include:

  1. What was a situation where you set a major goal and been able to achieve it?
  2. What has been your major accomplishment so far?

Here you want to emphasize the achievement you reached and the process that led you there.

3) Just to complete the analysis: Leadership is about leading a whole team in challenging situation and team management skills. Questions include:

  1. Give me an example of a time when you lead a group. 

  2. What are some key lessons you have learned about motivating people? 

Here you want to emphasize how you overcome a difficult situation leading a team (not necessarily as the official leader).

EDIT: Since 2020 McKinsey started to call the Leadership dimension "Inclusive Leadership". The dimension is the same as before, but now concerns a diverse team instead of a team only.

Many candidates tend actually to confuse leadership and personal impact. In both you deal with people, but while in the first you are leading a team, in the second you are actually influencing someone else (not necessarily a team). In the first case you then end with a team result, in the second with your own specific result.

Hope this helps,



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Anonymous replied on Oct 07, 2017


This is a good question and candidates often get the terminology of the PEI portion of the interview confused. First, the official interview is termed the “PEI + Case Interview”. The first section, PEI, has an overarching question of “Personal Impact: Has the Candidate demonstrated an ability to influence others through effective communication and the utilization of appropriate influencing tactics?”. That question governs the entire PEI section.

As the candidate answers questions (e.g., fit, situation stories, etc..) there are a set of = criteria that the interviewer is assessing, including the 2 you mentioned - Drive (it’s actually Drive / Achieving) and Leadership. Here’s what the interviewer is trying to answer for each:

  • Drive / Achieving: Has the candidate demonstrated a passion for setting challenging goals and achieving them in a practical way?
  • Leadership: Has the candidate demonstrated inspiring leadership, sensitivity to others and an ability to help teams succeed in the face of challenge?

Hope that helps!

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Emma on Dec 18, 2018

Has it changed from drive/achieving to entrepreneurial drive? What are they looking for in relation to the 'entrepreneurial'?


Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Dear Sandra,

Here is some examples of the questions that would help you to differ the dimensions of PEI:


  • Tell me about a time you led others.
  • Tell me about a time when you were on a team that had a conflict that was keeping it from achieving its objective.
  • How do you motivate people?

Personal Impact

  • Tell me about a time you had to convince someone to change their mind on something important to them.
  • Tell me about a difficult situation where you had to rely on your communication skills.
  • What do you want to be remembered for and how are you achieving it?

Entrepreneurial Drive

  • Did you ever have a goal that you weren’t able to achieve? What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time that you dealt with a tough problem.
  • Tell me about a failure.



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 27, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Sandra,

Personal Impact is all about influencing other people. This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but to persuade or influence someone and to solve a conflict you need the same skill set.

In all these types of situations, you need to change someone’s mind to be successful. Your interviewers will want to know about a time you did that and how you did it.

In essence they want to know if you’re able to change people’s minds. Needless to say, this is essential to drive change in organizations. Even more so as a consultant, as you don’t have any hierarchical power over anyone.

Specifically, they want to know if you can understand other people’s motives in a conflict or reasons to have a different point of view from yours.

Then they want to know what specific steps you took to convince these people to do/think something different. Ideally you were well aware of your approach to do that and in the end the other person was glad you convinced them otherwise.

Does it make sense to you?


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Content Creator
replied on May 03, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


On top of the insights already shared in the post, next week will be pusblished in PrepLounge´s Shop material related.

In concrete, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB". It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Hope you find it useful!

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Francesco gave the best answer


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