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PEI Stories - length/duration

Anonymous A asked on Jan 15, 2019

Hi all,

I am currently preparing for my McKinsey interview and came up with my PEI stories (personal impact, leadership, entrepreneurial drive). However, I am not sure how long those stories are supposed to be resp. what their duration should be like? 3 minutes? 5 minutes? 10 minutes?

I would greatly appreciate an approximate time indication. Thank you very much!

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Vlad replied on Jan 16, 2019
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Hi,

The length is related to your story and additional questions your interviewer may ask.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

It is important that the Interviewers will drill down into your story to understand the dynamics, your reactions and decisions and most of all the rationale behind them. They will follow up with other questions as you tell your story to make sure they understand it in enough detail. I recommend preparing for these additional questions in advance.

Best,

Vlad

Francesco replied on Jan 22, 2019
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Hi Anonymous A,

I agree with Anonymous B comment, your part of the story usually takes 3-4 minutes. Most of the time the interviewer will then ask followup questions, which will require some additional time for the explanation.

Best,

Francesco

Robert
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replied on Jan 15, 2019
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Hi!

For most candidates, the McKinsey PEI lasts in total around 12-15 minutes.

For structuring your 12-15 minutes PEI, I recommend thePARADE 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”

The full blog article is available here: https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com/blog/mckinsey-pei-length/

Anonymous B replied on Jan 16, 2019

Hi,

I received an offer from McK.

PEI should be about 2/3/4 mins. Any longer and you're giving too much away and will probably send them to sleep with details.

You generally only have 12-15 mins total for the PEI so you need to leave enough time for them to ask follow up questions. What i would suggest is to cut down your story and then drop little teasers in the original story so that you can help predict what follow up questions you'll be asked.

For example: If you are talking about conflict and how you managed a difficult team member i would say..."i took a number of steps that helped me resolve this issue, for example bargaining with them to offer insight to leave their shift early." Of course, the interviewer is then going to say...what other steps did you take?

This will make your story sharper. Dont leave out too much but also dont give them EVERYTHING. If you provide every single detail, you're rolling the dice and will have to make up answers that come your way. Play the game, dont let it play you!

Best,

T

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