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Number of stories for Mckinsey PEI

McKinsey PEI
New answer on May 11, 2024
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 08, 2024

Hello,

My question is: How many stories do I really need to prepare for first round Mck PEI interview?

I know the standard should be around 8 stories, 2 per dimension.

However, I dont have much time to prepare for the interview and I'm finding it very hard to have 8 proper stories. I'm thinking it might be better to focus on just having one good story per dimension.

What is actually the likelihood of being asked the same question on the two interviews of the same round? (therefore the need of having 2 stories per dimension) 

I would assume they would want to access different areas and normally ask on two different dimensions.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on May 09, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Prep advice

If you don't have enough time, then focus on one strong story for each dimension and think briefly about backup stories, following the same story framework and content criteria.

Check out the SCORE Framework I have created specifically for McKinsey interviews and how to use it in the PEI context: McKinsey Personal Experience Interview

The honest answer is that you should still make the time to create strong backup stories for each dimension. 

You can still get the same dimension twice during the first round from different interviewers. 

This happens if the interviewers do not align beforehand and who is asking what. It does not happen often but it does happen from time to time (several candidates of mine reported this). 

Now imagine failing the interview and having wasted tens of hours just because you did not want to invest an additional 2-3 hours to prepare backup stories.

There also might be the odd interviewer, who asks for a different story on the dimension once you have told your initial headline. If that happens, you have nothing to tell them…

One-fits-all approach

I don't recommend having one story that can be used across multiple dimensions. The way these dimensions are evaluated by McKinsey is so specific that a one-story-fits-all approach would be - at best - average in each dimension you want to discuss. Average does not give you the offer.

All the best and reach out if you need help!

Cheers,

Florian

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on May 08, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

If you're preparing for the first round, I'd prepare 2-4 leading stories in total (~1 per dimension) and then brainstorm ideas for back-up stories. 

The thing you need to get right is to 

1. identify swiss knife stories that can be deployed across dimensions

2. have a strong handle on the typical story arc 

I explain all of these in detail in a video course I just launched for the PEI, especially to help those with a short timeline for the prep. 

You can read more about it here:

Best,
Cristian

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Sidi
Expert
replied on May 11, 2024
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi,

It's crucial to prepare two stories per dimension regardless of the round of interviews (first or second). The rationale behind this is that when you present your PEI story, you begin with a brief summary of its relevance. The interviewer may either accept your choice and ask you to proceed or request an alternative story if she/he is not entirely satisfied with the example you provided. Therefore, ensure you have a backup in case your first story isn't deemed suitable. 


It might be helpful to outline a list of frequent PEI issues that I have observed with candidates:

  • Failure to cope with the extreme deep dives and follow-up questions related to their PEI stories –> interviewers often go to extreme depth (especially in the final round) in order to really understand the motives and reasons WHY you did or said certain things. Many candidates did not understand that the core is not WHAT they did, but WHY they did it! Having no strong answers to these questions was a frequent source of doubt the oftentimes led to a rejection
  • Failure to show empathy in the stories (especially in "Personal Impact") --> Very often, candidates' stories concentrated too much on analysis and how they provided evidence for the superiority of their ideas in order to convince others; however, what the Firm is really looking for are persons who are able to look at a problem through the eyes of others! So a good story of convincing others should show how the candidate tried to understand the


My suggestion: make sure you truly understand what qualities you should show for each PEI dimension, and prepare thoroughly. Remember that you can always try to reschedule your interview if you do not feel fully prepared.

Best of luck with your interview.

Cheers, Sidi

_______________________

Dr. Sidi Koné 

(🚀 Ex BCG & McKinsey Sr. Project Manager, now helping high potential individuals join the world's top Strategy Consulting firms (McKinsey | BCG | Bain))

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on May 09, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) How many stories do I really need to prepare for first round Mck PEI interview?

As you said, ideally 2 per dimension. You could be able to have the same stories working for both entrepreneurial drive and courageous change if you frame them correctly, so 6 instead of 8.

In most cases, you won’t need more than 1 story per dimension. The main reasons why a backup story might be useful are:

  1. The interviewers may ask for the same dimension in the same round (it is not common but may happen). Presenting two different stories would 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.

2) What is actually the likelihood of being asked the same question on the two interviews of the same round? (therefore the need of having 2 stories per dimension) 

This is not common but I know cases when it happened. On the other hand, there is also the risk that the interviewer doesn’t like your initial lines and asks for a different story.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Hagen
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Content Creator
replied on May 09, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the invitation from McKinsey!

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

  • First of all, I would highly advise you to consider postponing the interviews if you know for sure that you will not be well prepared for the interviews.
  • Moreover, you are typically told about the PEI dimension in the first interview round, which makes it much easier to prepare for the PEI portion of your upcoming McKinsey interviews.

You can find more on this topic here: How to succeed in the final interview round.

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.

Best,

Hagen

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Alessa
Expert
replied on May 08, 2024
McKinsey & Company | BCG | Roland Berger

Hey! 

First of all, normally you get to know which story to prepare for your first round! I know from some of my mentees, that they had to first prepare the Personal Impact dimension. I would suggest that you ask to HR if this is the case for you as well! 

Then I would advise you to prepare 2 stories per dimension! Normally you need to pitch them to the interviewer who then chooses one of them! 

Hope this helps :) Let me know if you have further questions on this! 

Best, 

Alessa

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Oliver
Expert
replied on May 08, 2024
Former BCG interviewer (75+ interviews for associates, consultants and MBA hires) | I will make your practice perfect

Hi,

If you're preparing for the first round of the McKinsey PEI, I recommend focusing on preparing one well-prepared story for each dimension. Also make sure you have a more high level back-up story for each dimension.

As you progress to subsequent rounds of interviews, it's important to prepare new stories that highlight different aspects of your experiences and competencies.

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 08, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

For first round: have 1 good story per dimension; have a backup story per dimension. Or, alternatively, have 1-2 stories that can address multiple dimensions. That way you have 2 stories per dimension, but not necessarily 8 stories, but only (for example) 6.

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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