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Mckinsey PEI flexibility on answers

McKinsey PEI
New answer on May 18, 2024
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 04, 2024


I have a question to regarding the Mck PEI questions, and how flexible we can be with the answers. 

Let's say I get a question from the Inclusive Leadership scope, and it is as follows:

- What was your greatest leadership challenge at [place X from your resume]?

Can they be this specific on the question? What if on my list of 6-8 stories I do not have a leadership question for “place X”? Is it ok If I say I do not have any particular leadership story for that place, but I can tell you about a time where in “place Y”…?


Thanks for the help

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Content Creator
replied on May 04, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Yes, you have the right instinct to try to refocus the question to an area that you're familiar with. 

But you don't need to do that. 

I've had candidates go to hundreds of PEI stories and not once were they asked to come up with an example from a specific experience on their CV that the interviewer pointed at. 

You are the one who can choose where that story is picked from. 

And you should aim to have it from within your recent experience (<3y) and as relevant and tailored to the question as possible. 

If you're looking deeper into the PEI at the moment, you might be interested in checking this out:


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replied on May 04, 2024
Strategy manager, ex-Bain, that transitioned from engineering to consulting, with broad interview coaching experience

I believe that the best way to prepare for those questions is to have a solid and well-thought story of your CV and be ready to twist it to address the prompted “angles”  (e.g. inclusive leadership, impact, entrepreneurial drive etc.). 

You cannot respond to the question with a story you know “by heart” -  the conversation has to be natural during the interview. 

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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 06, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • In the rich experience of my coachees, McKinsey interviewers don't usually limit your answer to a specific experience, so I would advise you not to stress about it.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming McKinsey interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.




You can find the consulting salaries report 2024 here!


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replied on May 06, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

It is unusual for interviewers to define where the specific PEI story needs to come from [i.e., never heard of a situation like that].

What sometimes happens is that [for highly experienced candidates] they start doing a deep dive on a specific experience / role / project and keep asking questions around that situation. But if that is the case you are usually allowed to steer to a story on a different project.

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Content Creator
replied on May 18, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

It is unlikely that such specificity can happen.

You can take it 2 ways I think:

  1. Either politely redirect the interviewer to a leadership story leadership that you have prepared, OR
  2. Evolve your story from the asked-workplace on-the-fly to bring out the leadership aspects in greater detail.

Happy to discuss how you can do the tweaks on-the-fly. Let me know.

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Cristian gave the best answer


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