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McKinsey PEI Interview

Case Interview McKinsey McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jul 24, 2020
4 Answers
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Konstantin Alexander asked on Jun 18, 2018


can anyone explain to me, how exactly the personal experience part in the McKinsey interviews works?
Is it going to be a situation, where I tell a story that shows all three desired attributes (Drive, Impact and Leadership)? Or is it going to be just one of them per interview?

Does anyone have experience with that?
I am applying for the German office so if anyone has maybe accomplished an interview there recently, I would be very grateful for any insights.

Thanks in advance,


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Best answer
replied on Jun 18, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


The typical questions are:

  1. “Tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”- this is how Consultants usually begin the interview. It's an opportunity for them to learn about you and to pick some interesting facts.
  2. “Why consulting?”, “Why McKinsey” questions are used to assess your motivation to be a consultant in general and to work in that particular firm.
  3. Next, the interviewer will also ask you to provide examples from your background to assess how good you are as a leader or a team player; how you can create impact and persuade people; or how you can achieve your goals. You'll have several dimensions and the interview will ask you to talk about one of them:
  • Personal impact
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurial drive
  • Achievement (asked in some countries instead of entrepreneurial drive)

Take into account that the questions may sound differently, however they will mean the same story. For example, there may be the following variations in the personal impact story:

  • Team conflict
  • Personal conflict
  • Conflict with the boss
  • Changing someone's mind
  • Overcoming difficulties
  • etc

Finally, don't forget to prepare your questions to the interviewer.

If you have time I would recommend to have 1-2 backup stories per question:

  1. "This story does not fit. Do you have another story?" - an interviewer can easily say something like this if he is not convinced that your story is good enough or the story does not fit his criteria for some reason.
  2. It is essential for you to prepare at least three stories for each area so that in case you get the same question by a couple of interviewers you are not telling the same story. I personally had 3 interviewers asking me exactly the same story. Originally the three of your interviewers are supposed to ask the different questions. In reality, interviewers don't often have a chance to meet before the interview, and sometimes they are urgently replaced by the colleagues. Of course, you can use the same story, but it is much better to demonstrate a diverse experience.
  3. Finally, the interviewer may ask you the questions you didn't even expect. It's always good to have some backup stories and adapt them to answer those unexpected questions.


Konstantin Alexander on Jun 18, 2018

Great, thanks Vlad!

replied on Jun 18, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Konstantin,

typically, they will ask you to show one of the attributes per interview.

This means:

  • Prepare at least one story (better two) per attribute
  • The stories should not be the same or overlap, ideally they are from different areas of your life (e.g. university, internships, hobbies…)
  • Make sure you know the stories in and out as they may dig pretty deep into them
  • Always consider what you learned from them (there is nothing wrong with failing at some point, but it is super important that you reflect why something has gone wrong and how you can avoid failure next time)

A good strategy is to tell the stories using the PARADE approach:

  • Problem
  • Anticipated Consequence
  • Role
  • Action
  • Decision Making Rationale
  • End result

Hope this helps!

Konstantin Alexander on Jun 18, 2018

Great Dorothea, thanks.

Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Dear Konstantin,

PEI part will take 15 min in total and you will be asked question about your experience and also according to this 3 dimensions. Below you can find 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.



Content Creator
replied on May 15, 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.

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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