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Recency of McKinsey PEI Stories for Experienced Hires

McKinsey McKinsey experienced professional McKinsey PEI
New answer on Mar 31, 2024
9 Answers
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Anonymous asked on Aug 27, 2021

Hi all,

I am preparing my PEI stories for an upcoming interview at McKinsey. I am Experienced Hire with 3.5 years of full-time work experience.

Question: How far back can my stories date? Is there a hard cutoff for anything older than, say, 3 years? 

I'm asking because some guides say that for Experienced Hires, “older” stories may be also acceptable…

Specifically, I am considering to talk about the time when I founded a startup while at university (4 years ago), or when I won an investor pitch contest despite some last-minute technical failures (5 years ago).

Highly appreciate your help and perspectives!

David

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Florian
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replied on Aug 30, 2021
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

There is always a trade-off. If you are an experienced hire, its not 15 years ago, and you actually can demonstrate significant impact, then 4 or 5 years are ok (in your case)

Have a look on how to draft the perfect PEI stories here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

 

Cheers,

Florian

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Antonello
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replied on Aug 28, 2021
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi Daniel, especially for the entrepreneurship dimension, I do not consider a problem talking about 4-5 years old experiences. 

Best,
Antonello

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Cristian
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replied on Mar 31, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

David, aim to keep it within the last 3 years.

Otherwise, it might raise questions as to whether you have recent relevant professional experience. 

For anyone else who is preparing for the PEI component, I've created a video course with my 6-step storytelling framework that has helped my candidates get distinctive feedback on the McKinsey PEI. You can find out more about it here:

Best,
Cristian

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Agrim
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replied on Aug 29, 2021
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

There is no hard rule to this.

One of the objectives to this question is to understand the various challenges you have been through, the hardships you have faced, how much out-of-you-comfort zone you were, etc. etc.

There is an implied assumption here that the more recent the experience, then more it will be able to highlight your skills because as we grow older, our problems become bigger.

The 5-year old entrepreneurship story will probably have a lot more nuance and character than a much recent one from your regular job. Thats because a startup presents a bigger challenge and takes a lot more character to wade through.

On the other hand, recency in examples also indicates that you are still evolving and learning even today.

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Sophia
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replied on Aug 28, 2021
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

I agree with Slawomir that there's definitely no official cutoff. The experiences you mention sound important and fundamental to your career trajectory, so I would feel free to bring them up in the interview. But I would also advise having a few extra back-up stories (maybe some more recent ones) just in case - you don't want to only be talking about experiences that happened several years ago.

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Alberto
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replied on Sep 30, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Sharing PEI stories from 3-4 years ago should be ok. Be careful because interviewers can ask for a lot of specific details for proofing (e.g., detailed conversations) so do not let the age of the story to blur tiny details that you may need during the interview.

Best,

Alberto

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Slawomir
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replied on Aug 28, 2021
Former McK interviewer, PhD who successfully transitioned from Academia, received offers from McK/BCG/Bain/LEK

Hello Daniel,

I agree with Antonello. I've never heard of any specific cut-off and one of the most important aspects is the relevance of the example. Yours sound reasonable to me. If they were from primary school that would be a different case though :)

As always, a lot depends on the interviewer so I would have a “backup” story that is more recent just in case but feel free to start with the most relevant one during your interview.

Good luck!

Slawomir

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Ian
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replied on Aug 28, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi David,

Both of those stories seem like excellent ones! There is certainly no points off for them being 4-5 years old. I would absolutely proceed with them!

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Udayan
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replied on Aug 28, 2021
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

There is no official cutoff, but there is definitely a strong preference for more recent stories. Especially if you have 4 years work experience, you cannot have many stories from college. I would have maybe 1 at most (the startup one sounds great) from college and then the rest from things you have done since then.

Best,

Udayan

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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