Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 450,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

PEI McKinsey - Leadership Dimension - What to expect?

leadership and development McKinsey PEI
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
6 Answers
12.6 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 24, 2018

Dear Community,

i will soon have my interview at McKinsey for an internship and I was wondering about the PEI part. I think I got a very good understanding on the two dimensions personal impact and drive. But i feel a bit unsure about the leadership dimension. Is this more about leading a team in general and working towards a goal (like drive?) or about how I solved a conflict happening within the team which i was leading? Or about something completely different.

It would be great if someone could share its experience with this part of the PEI.

Thanks a lot in advance


Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 24, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Julia,

a leadership story should focus on your experience building/leading the team and managing team dynamics in challenging situations; the core of the story should thus not be based on drive or impact. That’s due to the specific definition of the three PEI dimensions.

1) Leadership is about leading a whole team in 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. What 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.

Leadership is therefore different from drive, because you have to act as a team leader, driving the whole team to the result and managing internal team dynamics, while in a situation where you have to show drive you could act as a single person overcoming a major challenge.

Leadership is also different from impact as in both you deal with people, but while in the first you are leading a team, in the second you are actually influencing someone else (not necessarily a team and not necessarily as team leader).

Of course, some stories have a mix of the three dimensions together. In such stories, my recommendation is to emphasize one single dimension only, the one requested by the interviewer (if one of the others has necessarily to appear that's ok but it's presence should be marginal compared to the main one); otherwise the interviewer may think you are answering the wrong question (eg impact instead of leadership).

Hope this helps,



Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi Julia!

Inclusive leadership is rather about how you led a team through a challenge. Depending on how the question is asked, often the emphasis is put on ‘inclusive’, and there you need to show how you worked with diverse profiles and how you were able to turn the potential liabilities of diversity (e.g., different levels of seniority within a team) into assets (e.g., feedback from different levels). 

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


Was this answer helpful?
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.


Was this answer helpful?
replied on Jul 24, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1. When the consultants ask you to provide an example of leading others or working in teams, most probably they are looking for a leadership story

For those of you applying for junior positions, leadership does not necessarily mean being a supervisor. Organizing various stakeholders, being in charge of a study project, leading your team in a competition - all these examples will make a good story. Leadership is about finding an opportunity and managing people to achieve it.

Good leadership story should have a number of elements:

  1. Did you take additional responsibility (more than it was expected from you)
  2. Did the situation has a real problem?
  3. Did you have your own team of direct reports / a group of external stakeholders whose work you had to organize?
  4. Have you organized the process to structure and simplify the work of other people?
  5. Did you motivate others?
  6. Have you used the leadership tools that consultants usually use on their projects?
  7. How big was the impact?

2. When the interviewers ask you to provide an example of resolving a team- or personal conflict, Changing someone's mind, Developing and implementing a solution or overcoming difficulties - it means they want to hear a personal impact story.

Personal impact is a story of influencing people and persuading them to follow your solution.

3. When you have to provide an example of Overcoming challenges, Achieving a personal goal, Failing something, Creating new approaches or doing something innovative - these are the stories about your achievement and entrepreneurial drive

What can be a good achievement? First of all, the achievement should be important for you personally. It should prove that you set ambitious goals and achieve them, very often over and above than planned with innovative solutions


Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Dear A,

Below you can find some examples of the questions that would help you to get the understanding of what is leadership dimension is about:

  • 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?



Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on May 03, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


On top of the insights already shared in the post, next week will be pusblished in PrepLounge´s Shop material related.

In concrete, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB". 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.

Hope you find it useful!

Was this answer helpful?
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely