Mckinsey PEI questions - interviewers approach

McKinsey McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jul 08, 2021
6 Answers
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Barbara asked on Jul 07, 2021

Hi all,

Hope everyone is doing well!

I will have the 1st round interview with Mckinsey and I'm struggling a bit with the storytelling of my experiences to the 3 different dimensions (Entreperneurial drive, Personal Impact & Leadership). Do you know how the interviewers structure the PEI questions? I mean:

- Do you know if they ask a general question (biggest achievment or something you've created) and then within that story they ask other different aspects like (in that process what was your biggest weakness or biggest failure, how did you influence someone) ?

OR

- They focus only in one aspect (an example where you convinced someone) and the follow up question are about my approach, results, etc?

I've heard that I would need to have 15 different stories, each one with 15 different aspects to be well prepared... Is this even possible? I'm not an adventorous 80 years old man who's had all kinds of experiences to have that many stories with so many aspects :) 

Thank you very much in advance!

(edited)

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Florian
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updated an answer on Jul 08, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hey there,

The answer is the latter. They focus on one aspect and then go really deep into that aspect and ask very personal questions about the situation. As a result, you do not need 15 different stories but rather 6, 2 per dimension, and for those stories, you need to be able to recollect every detail and aspect (What did you say? How did the person react?)

The dimensions do not overlap and there are very clear evaluation criteria for each.

If you want to prepare well for the PEI, check out the article that I recently published here, which should eliminate all doubts and misinformation that is out there:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

If you have any follow-up questions, shoot me a message!

Cheers,

Florian

(edited)

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Allen
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replied on Jul 07, 2021
Ex-McK Experienced hire and EM - I specialize in helping experienced hires perform

Hi there and thanks for asking this important question.

The answer is really simple.  The interviewer will ask you a to tell about an experience you've had with one of those dimensions that you mentioned.  No tricks, no gimmics, no different aspects.

The interviewer will likely ask for tons of detail about the story.  (Why did you do that?  What were you thinking?  What kind of response were you expecting?  What did you learn?  Would you do it the same way again?).

I don't understand why people think they need more than 3 stories for McK.  I have no evidence that partners in the second round check to see if you told the same story in the first round and then count that against you for some reason.

Hope this helps!

Message me if you have more questions.

Allen

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Barbara on Jul 07, 2021
Thanks a lot! That was really helpful :)
Francesco
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replied on Jul 08, 2021
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Hi Barbara,

The interviewer will focus on one dimension when they ask a PEI question. So if they ask you, say, a leadership story, they will ask for details for that particular dimension. It could happen though that as part of one dimension, a different one is touched (eg details on how you had to convince a particular person of your team to do something in a leadership story).

You definitely don’t need 15 stories ;). A good number of stories is 6 (2 per dimension). It is good if you have a backup for each story for the following reasons:

  1. The interviewers may ask for the same dimension (it is not common but may happen). Presenting two different stories would then be better in case they discuss them
  2. The interviewer may not like your initial part of the story and ask to switch to a different one. You can then switch to the other one you prepared
  3. Some stories may fit better a particular question (eg tell me about a time when you had challenges as a leader vs tell me about a time when you had to manage a conflict in a team)

Best,

Francesco

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Ian
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replied on Jul 07, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I would say it's not an OR but rather an AND. You should expect both types of questions and be prepared to go quite deep into your story.

15 stories is ridiculous! Don't worry, you are better served having 6-8 killer stories that you really know well rather than 15 stories you can barely keep track of!

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Anonymous A replied on Jul 08, 2021

I had just one story for each interviewer and no questions were asked while I told the stories. I actually got a feedback later that my stories were really good. 

So if you have solid stories, just 3 will be more than enough

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Ken
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replied on Jul 08, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Each PEI interview will focus on a single PEI dimension. The broad question you will be asked for each of the three PEI dimensions are on the McKinsey website (https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/interviewing) where the interviewer will ask questions to deepen their understanding of your impact in the story. I would have 1-2 stories ready per dimension and just be very comfortable with the specificities of the story as well as being able to tell the story both in a monologue as well as a conversation where you will need to adapt the flow of the story based on how the interviewer wants to discuss it.

Good luck!

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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