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PEI McKinsey Leadership

FIT Interview leadership McKinsey PEI
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
23 Answers
20.7 k Views
Anonymous B asked on Jun 18, 2020

Hello,

What will be the best answer or challenge that I should give for this McKinsey PEI question?

Tell me about a time you lead a team through a difficult challenge.

Will it be better to give interpersonal challenge or just challenge in achieving our objective? Thanks!

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 04, 2021
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

You do not necessarily need to be in a leadership position in order to exhibit leadership qualities. Guiding, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, empowering, influencing, etc. etc. are just some of the qualities that highlight a good leader.

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 03, 2021
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

You absolutely do not have to be in a leadership role. The main crux of inclusive leadership is identifying issues that may have come up due to the team being diverse and taking the initiative to resolve it. Anyone can resolve an issue not just a team lead.

Best,

Udayan

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Chris
Expert
replied on Jun 18, 2020
McKinsey EM, 8 years recruiting interviews, 4 years professional coaching, 1000+ candidates helped

Hi, great question! Leadership is one of the core characteristics that McKinsey tests for, great you're prepping for this dimension.

In answering this question, you'd want to talk to both interpersonal challenges, as well as the objective challenge in achieving the goal. The thing that surprises most people with McKinsey PEI stories is how much detail the interviewer wants to hear about the people and circumstances in the story. For example, I'd be ready to talk about the mindsets & motivations that led to the interpersonal challenges, not just the surface-level actions of the challenge. Similarly, explaning why the challenge existed (existing biases, ingrained ways of working, etc.) to achieving your goal will be important.

Hope this helps, keep up the good work!

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 03, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Leadership doesn't always mean you need to manage teams/people over a lengthy period of time. Being a leader does not mean dominating the situation. It means empowering people to do what they would not have imagined possible. 

You can be an individual contributor but assume leadership role in a situation or 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 did. 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. 

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 04, 2021
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

For the inclusive leadership story can either be

  1. a designated leader, who helps a team perform well
  2. a natural leader, who steps up to steer a team through a critical situation

For a clear explanation on how to prepare the stories and how to communicate them well, please check out this detailed article I wrote on the PEI:

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

If you have any questions, reach out! :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 03, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Your story sounds perfectly valid!

In fact, a story where you go above and beyond and step up to the plate outside of your role/mandate, is a great one!

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Anonymous replied on Jun 18, 2020

Hi there,

I don't think there is one right or wrong answer, it really depends on how able you are to explain (i) the details of the episode, (ii) what you learned from it and (iii) how you would apply this lessons learned at McKinsey.

I had a similiar question when I interviewed for McKinsey and I explain an episode that happened to me when I was working in team at university. We basically had to collect data that were difficult to collect (the challenge) but relevant for the analysis. The majority of the team members were reluctant to try to collect those data, since too complicated, but I trurly believed that, despite challenging, it would have been beneficial to the successful of the project. I started finding solutions on how to collect data (e.g., through peronal connections and other), I explained step by step the process to the rest of the team and I showed them the benefits arising from having those data (how I lead the team through the challenge). Please consider I have explained it at high level, but the more details you give, the more realistic you are. I then continued saying that from this experience I learned that sometimes you just need to communicate the value that you see in a challenge so that the other can understand it. (Lesson learned) I finally closed saying that in the challenges that I may face at McKinsey I wuold try to adopt the same strategy (how to apply the lesson learned)

Hope it helps! :)

Giulia

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9
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

So this question belongs to the inclusive leadership dimension. 

You can think of any situation in which you were leading a team, either formally or you just emerged as a leader and where you played a pivotal role in helping the team overcome a conflict. 

For anybody who is looking into the PEI topic, I recently released this end-to-end course covering PEI. More on it here:

Best,
Cristian

Best,
Cristian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Being asked for a leadership story at a McKinsey interview you should focus on your best experience leading a team (of any size), either on a personal or professional situation. Keys here:

  • You leading style is and how you inspire the team to reach a challenging goal
  • Your teamwork skills to coordinate work and make everyone shine
  • Your ability to understand and act on team dynamics, even the personal ones (motivations, frustrations) 

I hope this helps.

Alberto

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Anonymous replied on Jun 18, 2020

Hi,

First of all, I suggest that you should use a STAR approach for tackling this question.

So, let’s break down that framework. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

Situation: Set the situation and give the necessary details
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved

By using these four components to shape your PEI, it’s much easier to share a focused answer.

Be aware that the most challenged letter is A - action. In order to impress the interviewer you would have to demonstrate a mix of leadership skills:

The most important is your ability to lead a team though a challenge and take responsibility.

However you can think of the following abilities as well:

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Reliability
  • Dependability
  • Creativity
  • Positivity
  • Effective feedback
  • Timely communication
  • Team building
  • Flexibility
  • Risk-taking

Hope it helps!

Anton

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8
Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 18, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The PEI Leadership dimension is focused solely on the interpersonal challenges - I don't care at all about the subject matter related challenges (that's more a part for Entrepreneurial Drive dimension).

Key ingredients for a good Leadership example:

  • Leading a team (formal or – even better – informal leadership role)
  • Challenging situations in terms of interpersonal conflicts (not difficult content-related goals of team)
    • Affecting whole team
    • Bilaterally between two team members or between you and another team member
  • Working together with this team over a certain period of time

I also wrote a whole ebook dedicated to the McKinsey PEI, since basically all candidates underestimate the complexity and also time need for preparation in order to get it really well (both in terms of content, but also how you deliver your story). You can find the ebook at https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com. For in-depth PEI prep, feel also free to contact me for having a session together!

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Sophia
Expert
updated an answer on Oct 04, 2021
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

It can absolutely be the latter - the leadership should come through your actions, not necessarily through a job title. Your example sounds very appropriate.

(edited)

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Vlad
Expert
replied on Sep 09, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I don't believe you have no leadership experience. Think about the moments when you:

  • Found an opportunity and took the ownership of bringing it to reality - that part is simple - you just need to speak about your proactivity
  • Managed stakeholders to achieve it - it can be clients or other consultants whom you had to organize and motivate to achieve your objective.

Best!

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 19, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Leadership stories don´t need to necessarily relate to formal leadership positions, but to situations in which you inspired or guided yourself or others towards a common goal.

Some other example of questions can be:

  • •Describe your most important leadership experience and impact that you had

    •Describe a time when you had to lead a team

    •How do you lead others?

    •Describe a time when you had to align multiple stakeholders

    •Describe a time when you faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills

In this regard, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Best,

Clara

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Originally answered question:

PEI inclusive leadership

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Oct 06, 2021
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi!

Yes, absolutely. What really matters is that your story is relevant to show your inclusive leadership skills.

Best,

Anto

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Sep 13, 2020

Dear A!

I also agree with other experts. Please look through the following questions and recollect one story from your life that you could use.

Leadership

  • 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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Anonymous replied on Jun 19, 2020

Hi,

For this question as for all the others, it is always necessary to provide a specific and personal answer.

This could be for example a situation where you realized that your team was not going in the right direction and that you managed to rectify the trajectory by convincing.

It must be presented in a structured way:

  • Situation
  • Action
  • Impact

Hope it helps,

David

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0
Nirmit
Expert
replied on Sep 09, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire

Hi,

Thanks for your question. Leadership can be as simple yet powerful as changing someone's perspective or influencing someone to see things the way you do. There are innumerable ways in which you have shown leadership, but are not thinking of them. Happy to connect to discuss some of your stories in detail.

Thanks,

Nirmit

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Agrim gave the best answer

Agrim

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