Fomer McKinsey Consultant, current HBS MBA Candidate
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McKinsey Personal Fit



I was told that McKinsey in the office Im interviewing with will ask me for my story within 1. Leadership, 2. Personal Impact and 3. Entrepreneurial Drive.

For Leadership, I feel pretty confident in my story (it relates to me being a leader for a group in which there are language barriers and how I overcome this).

However, for Personal Impact and Entreprenurial it is so much less clear! For personal impact, I tried giving my "mock buddy" the story in which I persuaded a shy girl in my class to join Toastmasters (a public speaking club). But he said that he though "Personal Impact" more often would be demonstrated through one making a superior (at work) change their minds? The one example I could think of at the moment would perhaps be when my boss at a summer job divided up a few companies between me a my colleage to look for some key trends; she gave them to us in alphabetical order, but I said that we should maybe do it per sector, and she agreed. But that story falls very flat in my mind! Not so much more to it?

For entrepreneurial, it is very hard to come up with something too, especially since I havent founded a company or started my own business or anything like that. I have a good example of a volunteering service I managed, but this was 8 years ago in high school! I.e. doesnt feel that relevant. Yeah, I guess Im really struggling to find an example for this that one can talk in depth about... I also think that it would easily overlap wih personal impact/persuading people. For example, I guess I could talk about how I convinced a business leader to be interviewed for a project magazine at university.. Because it would bring a sense of ethos to our entire project. But again, perhaps isnt very "entrepreneurial.."

Anyone has had experience with personal impact questions from McKinsey? What have been your feedbacks?

Thanks in advance! //Struggling


Marcelo replied on January 16, 2017
Fomer McKinsey Consultant, current HBS MBA Candidate

I think that are two key things when thinking about the PEI(Personal Experience Interview) at McKinsey:

  • Your stories need to be very specific. When you tell a story, it is important to share all the details that go with it. For example, if you are telling a story about when you convinced someone, they'll want to know how was that interaction, what did you say, what did the person responded, and so on. Write down your story.
  • Don't confuse the stories. Leadership is about leading teams, is about managing people to achieve one specific goal and dealing with the innerworkings of a team, it is not about achieving exceptional results (it can be a failed story). Personal impact is about how you, and not the team, achieved exceptional result. Don't ever use the word "us", always "I". Entrepreneurial drive is not about founding a company, is about having an idea and implementing it despite a not helpful scenario.

Hope this helps clarify a little bit.

Good luck!

Astrid replied on January 17, 2017

Hi Alice,

thanks again for participating so actively in our forum.

An answer that was given by Guennael on another thread might be helpful for you. He is explaining the differences between leadership, drive, and impact:

Have you ever taken a leadership position, in a sporting club, student organization, non-profit... even study group?

Drive is the fire in your belly: what do you do when you want something bad? Are you going to make it happen regardless of time commitment or difficulties?

Impact is the result your actions have had, typically on others. Did you raise money for your organization? Increase membership? Help a couple of poor kids learn how to read? If you hadn't been here, how much worse would things be? That is the impact you've had.

Drive typically comes before impact, but these are two very different concepts

You can find the original thread here: Different selection criteria of MBBs

Hope this helps!

All the best for the rest of your prep,

Anonymous A replied on January 17, 2017

Personally, I like your story of persuading a shy girl to join toastmasters, since you did have impact on that person and is quite unique story. I also like your volunteering service as an example of entrepreneurial drive. I cannot tell you what other example to use, since I dont know you and dnt know what experience you have, but I think the most important part is not the story itself, but what you make of it. Using a story-telling approach is a good method for the PEI questions with McK: start explaining the context of the example youre using (1), elaborate the problem you (and your team) had (2), discuss the solution you used to solve it (3), if in a team tell about the impact you had in solving the problem (4), finish by evaluating how you handled it and the lessons you have learned. You can prepare for this part really well and adapt the story based on the specific question the interviewer is asking. Don’t spend too much time on the context, but rather on the other parts of the story and especially what your role was.

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