McKinsey PEI Leadership story - official or unofficial?

McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jan 06, 2021
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 01, 2021

Hi,

For leadership questions in the McKinsey PEI, I'm torn between using examples from:

a) official leadership roles (e.g. elected as leader/captain) where you'd show off the fact that you'd made it to being selected for a role

b) unofficial leadership roles (e.g. you're on a team of equal rank, and you emerge naturally as a leader) which would show off more soft/natural leadership tendencies.

Any thoughts as to which is better would be much appreciated!

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Jan 02, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

This is precisely where you need to start, the definition of what each of the "dimensions" are.

Leadership is not only official leadership roles, also unnoficial ones, in which you lead yourself or others towards a complex goal overcoming adversities and issues.

Hence, both work, pick whichever story is stronger, richer and more detailed in your case.

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Florian
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replied on Jan 06, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

When it comes to the selection of your McKinsey PEI stories, you need to think about three dimensions in the following order:

1. Fit with the actual dimension that is asked (Entrepreneurial Drive, Leadership, Personal Impact).

2. Diversity of experience (make sure that different stories are from different walks of life, e.g., jobs or career, university, extracurriculars, etc.)

3. Recency (in general, the more recent the better. Unless you interview for an experienced hire senior position, your stories should not date back more than 2-3 years)

Since you should have two stories per dimension anyway (in case a dimension is asked in several interviews), I would suggest that you have one from an official leadership role and a second one where you emerged as a natural leader due to your actions, behavior and the circumstances.

As others have already mentioned, both stories can be equally strong depending on how you frame it, the impact you created, and your interactions along the way.

If you need a recent and objective McKinsey-like perspective, send me a message. I am happy to do a PEI style interview across one or several dimensions to make sure you a. tell the right story (content) and b. tell the story right (communication and delivery).

All the best with your preparation and interviews! :-)

Florian

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Ian
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replied on Jan 02, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly, it depends! I genuinely can't say one over the other.

Much more important is what you did in these roles. As in, what challenges did you overcome, what actions did you take, and what was the ultimate impact at the end. The bigger/more impressive it is, the better the story!

Feel free to message....I have help you pick which story fits best, and help edit both to make them as optimal as possible.

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Adi
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replied on Jan 01, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

Happy New Year!

Leadership doesn't always mean you need to manage teams or have had to do something huge over a lengthy period of time. You can be an individual contributor but assume leadership role in a situation/event because perhaps you are the person with most knowledge in that situation, or you have previous experience or because no one is stepping up and you volunteer or you stepped up and helped someone with something that mattered a lot to them and showed them direction. I hope you get the point.

So choose an example/situaiton where you made the most impact and there is a nice story to tell- can be official or unofficial as you say.

Have a look at these threads too:

  • https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-start-an-answer-of-telling-a-story-about-past-projects-8188
  • https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/pei-questions-8258
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Henning
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replied on Jan 01, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Both are fine if the underlying story is strong!

Keep in mind, that the story in itself should showcase the leadership that you showed. Just being the formal leader by rank and bossing people around will not will not make the cut here, even if it shows by implication that somebody at some point thought you would be a good leader.

The story needs to convey that you personally took the ownership of the situation, showed leadership (not just exercised it) and eventually influenced the group towards being the best version of themselves.

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Antonello
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replied on Jan 02, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

Use both if needed.

Most important criteria are relevance (with the question asked), impact you had, lessons learned. The way you communicate is equally important.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

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Gaurav
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replied on Jan 05, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hello there!

Both of them are great.
Sometimes even the unofficial leadership role tends to be more valuable.

I suggest choosing the one that is more impactful, reveals your leadership skills vividly as well as your ability to communicate. It's also important how you acted and what you've learned.

Besides, sometimes the situation during the interview determines the type of story.
You could reach out to a coach to help you polish both.

Cheers,
GB

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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