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Mckinsey PEI difference drive and personal impact

McKinsey McKinsey PEI Personal Fit
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
7 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 Oct 15, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

EDIT 2022: McKinsey recently added a new PEI dimension called Courageous Change. They are piloting this as a substitute for Entrepreneurial Drive.

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EDIT 2020: McKinsey recently changed the Leadership dimension with Inclusive Leadership. The dimension is the same as before, but now refers to a diverse team instead of a team only.

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Hi Sandra,

Great question, that’s actually something many candidates find confusing. I provided a description of the different dimensions below:

1) Personal Impact is about persuading someone about doing/not doing something. Example:

  • Explain a challenging situation you encountered when working with someone with an opposing opinion to yours.

Here you want to emphasize your ability to convince someone else who disagrees with you.

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

  • Talk about a time when you had to work to achieve something that was outside your comfort zone in a limited period of time.

Here you want to emphasize how you started something and how you faced resistance during the process.

3) Inclusive Leadership is about leading a diverse team in a challenging situation. Example:

  • Share an example of an instance where you effectively worked with people with different backgrounds.

Here you want to emphasize how you overcome a difficult situation by leading and empowering a diverse team.

4) Courageous Change is about adapting to a major change or ambiguous situation. Example:

  • Tell me about a time when you experienced a significant change and share the actions you took to adapt to the new circumstances.

Here you want to emphasize how you faced something new, managing to achieve the desired results despite the change.

Some candidates confuse leadership and personal impact. In both you deal with people, but while in the first you are leading and empowering a team, in the second you are convincing another person in disagreement with you.

Hope this helps,



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi Sandra and anybody else who might be looking into this topic at the moment,

I've just recently put together a video course on the PEI that goes into detail on each dimension and contains recordings of actual stories told during successful McKinsey. 

You can learn more about it here:


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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 Sandra,

Entrepreneurial drive focus on stories where you achieve something out of your comfort zone or direct area of influence to create positive change. Personal Impact is more about persuading an individual or group of people to change their mind with they have an opposing opinion.



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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
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360 coach(Ex-McKinsey + Certified Coach + Active recruiter)

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


Content Creator
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