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PEI examples McKinsey

Actively preparing for interviews with Mckinsey Bains & AT Kearney BCG McKinsey and Bain Case Interview McKinsey McKinsey PEI PEI
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
18 Answers
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Anonymous B asked on Mar 17, 2020


I am looking for examples of PEI stories and how they specifically address each dimension. Any website, articles, books...?

Thank you in advance

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey PEI Interview

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.


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Konstantin Alexander on Jun 18, 2018

Great, thanks Vlad!

Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

For anybody looking into this topic, I've just recently put together a video course on the PEI, which contains recordings of actual stories told during McKinsey interviews and which were successful. 

You can learn more about it here:


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Originally answered question:

McKinsey PEI - What to highlight?

Content Creator
replied on Jan 30, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as you mentioned, the PEI at McKinsey is structured around three key dimensions, leadership, impact and drive. I have provided a description for them below:

1) Leadership is about leading a whole team in a challenging situation and showing team management skills. Questions include:

  1. Give me three examples of a time that you lead a group.
  2. What are some key lessons you have learned about motivating people?

Here you want to emphasize how you overcome a difficult situation leading a team.

2) Personal Impact is mainly based on persuading someone about doing/not doing something. Questions include:

  1. Tell me about a time that you persuaded your boss to go along with an idea you had.
  2. Tell me about a difficult situation where you had to rely on your communication skills.

Here you want to emphasize your influence on someone else, usually in disagreement with you.

3) Entrepreneurial Drive is about implementing something overcoming major difficulties. Examples include:

  1. Which was a situation where you set a major goal and been able to achieve it?
  2. What has been your major accomplishment so far?

Here you want to emphasize the achievement you reached and the process that led you there.

Hope this helps,

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey PEI Interview

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!

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Konstantin Alexander on Jun 18, 2018

Great Dorothea, thanks.

Content Creator
replied on Mar 17, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Glad to see that you are preparing seriously for the McKinsey PEI - it's really an underestimated part of the whole McK recruiting process and an excellent opportunity to really stand out from the crowd of other applicants (the PEI counts for roughly 50% of your whole evaluation).

Key areas to address for each dimension:

  • Leadership: Leading a team (formal or – even better – informal leadership role) in which you encountered interpersonal (!) challenges and focussing on how you overcome them
  • Personal Impact: Convincing one specific other person (not multiple persons at once, no team included in this dimension) about a topic, so that he finally changes his opinion - focussing on how you strategically manage the process of convincing somebody
  • Entrepreneurial Drive: Achieving a goal which is clearly outside your regular role and responsibilities - focussing on the key challenges and how you overcome them with a structured approach.

You can find many free PEI specific blog posts on my own McKinsey PEI blog:

For in-depth prep, I recommend The Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep ebook at (what else can I say?) which covers everything from finding the right examples to tactical fine-tuning.

Furthermore, you can also find a blog post here about how to prepare for the McKinsey PEI in more detail:

For more detailed discussion on this subject, please feel free to contact me for a coaching session to help you preparing your PEI.

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


See below plenty!


  • Please describe your most important leadership experience and the impact that you had as a leader
  • Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team
  • How do you lead others?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to align multiple stakeholders
  • Tell me about a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills


  • Tell me about a time when you had to persuade an uncooperative stakeholder
  • How would you deal with an uncooperative client in order to get the data you need?
  • Describe a client relationship which was challenging
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example
  • Tell me about a recent crisis you handled
  • Tell me about a time when you had to come up with a mutually beneficial solution for conflicting stakeholders
  • Describe a project that challenged you. How did you cope?
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize tasks


  • Tell me a time when you were a team player
  • Give me an example of a time you influenced or persuaded a team
  • Tell me about a time when you had to come up with a win-win solution in a team
  • Tell me about a time when you had to mediate in a team


  • What accomplishments have given you the greatest satisfaction?
  • What do you consider your top three achievements to date?
  • Tell me about a time you took the initiative to start something
  • Tell me about a time you had to adopt a new approach/think laterally about something
  • Have you ever failed at anything?
  • What have been your three biggest setbacks?
  • Describe a situation where you failed. What did you learn about yourself and how did you change as a result?
  • Tell me about a project that didn’t go well and why and what you would do differently next time?
  • What experiences/skills do you feel are particularly transferable to our organization?

Feel free to PM me for FIT prep, I do plenty!

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Mar 19, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews


As an ex-McKinsey interviewer I prepare candidates to craft their PEI stories for McKinsey – DM me, I will be happy to share my approach :)


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Content Creator
replied on Aug 17, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets
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Anonymous replied on Sep 13, 2020

Dear A!

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.

Best, André

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Content Creator
replied on Mar 23, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching
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