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Chris

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PEI McKinsey Leadership

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!

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!

9 answers

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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!

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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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

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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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

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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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

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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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

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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Hi there,

It really depends on the story!

Could you tell us your options for each one? Perhaps we can help you select.

Importantly, a great story will be one that exihibits a lot of traits that McKinsey is looking for, and has a lot of substance (i.e. can result in a lot of followup questions)

Hi there,

It really depends on the story!

Could you tell us your options for each one? Perhaps we can help you select.

Importantly, a great story will be one that exihibits a lot of traits that McKinsey is looking for, and has a lot of substance (i.e. can result in a lot of followup questions)

Dear A,

Dear A,

Actually it depends on the storiea and how you should resent you. I would strongly recommend you to tell your story according to STAR(E) structure.

Just remember important thing, if you pick up the story about interpersonal challenge, show your part and your leadership role there.

Best,

André

Dear A,

Dear A,

Actually it depends on the storiea and how you should resent you. I would strongly recommend you to tell your story according to STAR(E) structure.

Just remember important thing, if you pick up the story about interpersonal challenge, show your part and your leadership role there.

Best,

André

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Hi,

You have many great tips here already, I will also add mine to the list

1. The most important thing regardless of anything else is answering the question. Make sure that any example you give has the two elements mentioned here namely (a) It is a difficult challenge and (b) it clearly shows you leading the team through the challenge mentioned

2. Always prepare for these questions beforehand - practice is what makes the best answers

3. Make sure you communicate this in a structured way - I prefer the situation, complication and resolution framework because as a listener it is closest to a story format (begining, middle and an end)

4. Be enthusiastic and interested in your own story - you want the person listening to be engaged and interested in what you have to say. People react best to others who are interested in what they have to say

5. Use a style of speaking that is clear and easy to follow - I like using numbered points so people can tell where you are at any point

6. Be prepared for detailed follow-ups

All the best,

Udayan

Hi,

You have many great tips here already, I will also add mine to the list

1. The most important thing regardless of anything else is answering the question. Make sure that any example you give has the two elements mentioned here namely (a) It is a difficult challenge and (b) it clearly shows you leading the team through the challenge mentioned

2. Always prepare for these questions beforehand - practice is what makes the best answers

3. Make sure you communicate this in a structured way - I prefer the situation, complication and resolution framework because as a listener it is closest to a story format (begining, middle and an end)

4. Be enthusiastic and interested in your own story - you want the person listening to be engaged and interested in what you have to say. People react best to others who are interested in what they have to say

5. Use a style of speaking that is clear and easy to follow - I like using numbered points so people can tell where you are at any point

6. Be prepared for detailed follow-ups

All the best,

Udayan

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

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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