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PEI McKinsey - Leadership Dimension - What to expect?

Anonymous A

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

Julia

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Vlad replied on 07/24/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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

Best

Francesco replied on 07/24/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1500+) | Ex BCG | 650+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

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,

Francesco

(edited)

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