PEI Stories - length/duration

McKinsey personal experience interview Personal Fit
New answer on Aug 17, 2021
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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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Content Creator
replied on Jan 22, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

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.



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Anonymous B replied on Jan 16, 2019


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!



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Content Creator
replied on May 04, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Indeed this is one of the risk of over-preparating, and it not only affects FIT but also the Business Case. People who over-prepare end up being rigid and not natural, and losing the "charm" and naturality that one should have in a conversation.

Think of the FIT part of the itnerview as if you were meeting your partner´s parents: you want to impress them, but also be nice, since you don´t want them to think of you as cocky or sharky. It´s the same thing!

Hope it helps!



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replied on Jan 16, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


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.



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2019
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author


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:

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

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.

Does it make sense to you?


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Content Creator
replied on Aug 17, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 450+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets
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Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Dear A,

For PEI part you will have 15 min appr. so try to keep you story up to 5 min max.



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Francesco gave the best answer


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