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Robert

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6

PEI Questions

Dear all,

I am wondering how long an answer to a PEI Q could be?

this should be a compelling story following the STAR or PARADE model. then I assume that this could be around 3 minutes or so. what do you think

Dear all,

I am wondering how long an answer to a PEI Q could be?

this should be a compelling story following the STAR or PARADE model. then I assume that this could be around 3 minutes or so. what do you think

6 answers

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Hi Mehrasa,

I copied for you an answer from my own "McKinsey PEI Blog" here:

For most candidates, the McKinsey PEI lasts in total around 12-15 minutes. It follows some social chit-chat in the very beginning of your interview session and some more general CV-related questions your interviewers might have, and will be before your case interview.

(Hint: Since the PEI takes place before your case interviews, you want to make double sure to perform well on this part of your interviews – as it might already frame your interviewer’s mindset in terms of your interview performance and spill over to your case interview)

For structuring your 12-15 minutes PEI, I always recommend the PARADE framework. As a rule of thumb, the total PEI time is split up as follows:

  • Headline (~15-30 seconds)
  • Bucket 1 (~1-2 minutes):
    • “Problem”
    • “Anticipated consequence”
    • “Role”
  • Intermediate structure (~30 seconds)
  • Bucket 2 (~8-10 minutes)
    • “Action”
    • “Decision-making rationale”
  • Closing (~30 seconds): “End-result”

While talking about one specific example for 10+ minutes might seem long at the outset, you will be surprised how quickly this amount of time will pass – and finally how much work you need to put into your PEI examples to deliver all the relevant information in the necessary details as required into this few minutes of PEI time.

Addtional notes:

  • In rare cases the PEI lasts up to roughly 20 minutes – mainly driven by your McKinsey interviewers interests in your PEI example or your (maybe not-so-good) PEI performance which makes it very hard for the interviewer to discover the relevant aspects of your PEI.
  • Since your final-round interviews focus strongly on those areas in which you could not fully convince all your McKinsey interviewers in the previous rounds, you might not have any PEI in your final interview rounds at all, or you might even have a very intense foucs on the PEI.

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

Robert

Hi Mehrasa,

I copied for you an answer from my own "McKinsey PEI Blog" here:

For most candidates, the McKinsey PEI lasts in total around 12-15 minutes. It follows some social chit-chat in the very beginning of your interview session and some more general CV-related questions your interviewers might have, and will be before your case interview.

(Hint: Since the PEI takes place before your case interviews, you want to make double sure to perform well on this part of your interviews – as it might already frame your interviewer’s mindset in terms of your interview performance and spill over to your case interview)

For structuring your 12-15 minutes PEI, I always recommend the PARADE framework. As a rule of thumb, the total PEI time is split up as follows:

  • Headline (~15-30 seconds)
  • Bucket 1 (~1-2 minutes):
    • “Problem”
    • “Anticipated consequence”
    • “Role”
  • Intermediate structure (~30 seconds)
  • Bucket 2 (~8-10 minutes)
    • “Action”
    • “Decision-making rationale”
  • Closing (~30 seconds): “End-result”

While talking about one specific example for 10+ minutes might seem long at the outset, you will be surprised how quickly this amount of time will pass – and finally how much work you need to put into your PEI examples to deliver all the relevant information in the necessary details as required into this few minutes of PEI time.

Addtional notes:

  • In rare cases the PEI lasts up to roughly 20 minutes – mainly driven by your McKinsey interviewers interests in your PEI example or your (maybe not-so-good) PEI performance which makes it very hard for the interviewer to discover the relevant aspects of your PEI.
  • Since your final-round interviews focus strongly on those areas in which you could not fully convince all your McKinsey interviewers in the previous rounds, you might not have any PEI in your final interview rounds at all, or you might even have a very intense foucs on the PEI.

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

Robert

(edited)

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Hi Mehrasa,

Think of yourself as the lead actor/actress in your film. How would you describe your part? There is a start, middle and end. Follow STAR approach, explain context properly, provide specific quanitifable achievements, be honest and concise. Show ability to fail and learn quickly. Show that you take calculated risks and beat the bad guy out. Enjoy telling your story with nice gentle tone and pauses. Don't put a timeframe of 2/3/5mins but work with that awareness. When you speak genuinly even a long-ish answer feels very engaging. But yes, dont talk forever either.

Also have a look at this thread- https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-start-an-answer-of-telling-a-story-about-past-projects-8188

Best of luck!

Adi

Hi Mehrasa,

Think of yourself as the lead actor/actress in your film. How would you describe your part? There is a start, middle and end. Follow STAR approach, explain context properly, provide specific quanitifable achievements, be honest and concise. Show ability to fail and learn quickly. Show that you take calculated risks and beat the bad guy out. Enjoy telling your story with nice gentle tone and pauses. Don't put a timeframe of 2/3/5mins but work with that awareness. When you speak genuinly even a long-ish answer feels very engaging. But yes, dont talk forever either.

Also have a look at this thread- https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-start-an-answer-of-telling-a-story-about-past-projects-8188

Best of luck!

Adi

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If this is for McKinsey, 4-7 mins is totally fine. Remember to focus most of your time on the steps you talk to resolve the challenges outlined.

Also be prepared to have many interruptions/follow up questions

Best,

Udayan

If this is for McKinsey, 4-7 mins is totally fine. Remember to focus most of your time on the steps you talk to resolve the challenges outlined.

Also be prepared to have many interruptions/follow up questions

Best,

Udayan

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How much time exactly is not just depended on you, but it also depends on the interviewer. Because a lot of interviewers like to ask follow-up questions on your stories, and sometimes for the single stories the interviewer can spend the entire FIT part (it's around 20 minutes).

However, what I can surely tell you that, when you are answering, every answer you should try to restrict within the 3 minutes. Because psychologically, more the 3 minutes of a monologue is not good communication, because the opposite person loses his concentration.

So, how does that pen out?

For example, if the interviewer asks, "Can you tell me a story where you demonstrated entrepreneurship spirit?", so make your answer usingSTAR model. That answer shouldn't be longer than 3 minutes. It should be exhaustive to cover the story, but it shouldn't be too long. However, be prepared to answer the follow-up question, if an interviewer specifically says: "Ok, so why don't you tell me, what exactly you did in this particular part of the story?".

Again, your time will start, and make sure that this answer is in line with the structure and don't talk longer than 2-3 minutes.

This series of conversations sometimes gets to the entire FIT part, or sometimes interviewers ask different questions.

I hope this answers your question.

GB

How much time exactly is not just depended on you, but it also depends on the interviewer. Because a lot of interviewers like to ask follow-up questions on your stories, and sometimes for the single stories the interviewer can spend the entire FIT part (it's around 20 minutes).

However, what I can surely tell you that, when you are answering, every answer you should try to restrict within the 3 minutes. Because psychologically, more the 3 minutes of a monologue is not good communication, because the opposite person loses his concentration.

So, how does that pen out?

For example, if the interviewer asks, "Can you tell me a story where you demonstrated entrepreneurship spirit?", so make your answer usingSTAR model. That answer shouldn't be longer than 3 minutes. It should be exhaustive to cover the story, but it shouldn't be too long. However, be prepared to answer the follow-up question, if an interviewer specifically says: "Ok, so why don't you tell me, what exactly you did in this particular part of the story?".

Again, your time will start, and make sure that this answer is in line with the structure and don't talk longer than 2-3 minutes.

This series of conversations sometimes gets to the entire FIT part, or sometimes interviewers ask different questions.

I hope this answers your question.

GB

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It depends on the consulting firm where it can range from 2-3 mins (typical behavioural question) to 12-15 mins (McKinsey style). On the longer end, frameworks are helpful for preparing and framing your story but I would try to be more conversational in the actual interview as the interviewer will typically ask questions throughout.

For the longer McKinsey style PEI interview, it's always good to have a shorter 45-60 min synopsis of the story which you can share first so that you are able to check whether the story is applicable to what your interviewer is looking for. I have had many McKinsey PEI interviews where the candidate just rambles for the first 3-5 mins as they are trying to regurgitate the STAR/PARADE framework they have memorised, not allowing the interviewer to intervene to clarify whether that is the most appropriate story or to clarify the context. This is a common mistake where it is in your best interest to align the outline of your story with the interviewer first to make sure you are setting yourself up for success!

It depends on the consulting firm where it can range from 2-3 mins (typical behavioural question) to 12-15 mins (McKinsey style). On the longer end, frameworks are helpful for preparing and framing your story but I would try to be more conversational in the actual interview as the interviewer will typically ask questions throughout.

For the longer McKinsey style PEI interview, it's always good to have a shorter 45-60 min synopsis of the story which you can share first so that you are able to check whether the story is applicable to what your interviewer is looking for. I have had many McKinsey PEI interviews where the candidate just rambles for the first 3-5 mins as they are trying to regurgitate the STAR/PARADE framework they have memorised, not allowing the interviewer to intervene to clarify whether that is the most appropriate story or to clarify the context. This is a common mistake where it is in your best interest to align the outline of your story with the interviewer first to make sure you are setting yourself up for success!

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Hi Mehrasa,

It depends on how fast you speak, but in general 3 to 5 minutes is enough for your part. The interviewer will interrupt you and ask questions, and the whole PEI will last 10-15 minutes.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Mehrasa,

It depends on how fast you speak, but in general 3 to 5 minutes is enough for your part. The interviewer will interrupt you and ask questions, and the whole PEI will last 10-15 minutes.

Best,

Francesco

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