Repeating PEI Stories in Second Round

Actively preparing for McKinsey round 2 McKinsey
New answer on Oct 27, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 26, 2020

Hi,

I'm wondering if it is okay to re-use your PEI stories for the final round.

I'm well aware this question has been answered here before. I've read through the answers and they differ from what students who have gotten offer from my school (top target) have said. They say that it's perfectly fine to re-use stories and have never heard anyone say it's not ok to re-use stories between rounds, as long as it is not in the same round.

Which is correct? Also, if I have really good stories that I used for round 1, is it worth using new stories that aren't quite as good for round 2 (final round) for the sake of avoiding repetition?

Thanks!

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Clara
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replied on Oct 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

This is precisely one of the "frequently asked questions" that are responded in the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB", that has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

Usually, it´s not best practice. At the end, you need to try to show as many sides of you as possible -same way as, when you are selling a house, you should try to show pictures of all rooms. If you only show the kitchen, even if the kitchen is amazing, people are going to wonder if the bedrooms are horrible-.

However, this said, it´s true that most of the times there is no communication at that level between 1st round and 2nd round interviewers, so with good stories I would risk it (I did it myself and recommend people to do it). Integrated FIT Guide for MBB

You can find all the info about this in the guide: it provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 2 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

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Ian
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replied on Oct 26, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

If you can think of additional stories that are close to the same level, then you absolutely should. At the very least, you should have some "backup" stories.

However, yes, in principle, you can use the same stories between round 1 and 2 (but not between interviews in the same round)

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 26, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I agree with Ken and your peers, if your first-round stories are great it is fine to repeat them in the final round.

Just in the last few months I coached two people who got explicit feedback from HR and the McKinsey interviewers they should reuse their first-round stories in the final round, as they were very good.

On the contrary, I would avoid to use the same story in the same round. Also, keep at least a backup story for each dimension, so that if the interviewer doesn’t like your initial headline of the story, you can switch to the other one.

Definitely don’t use weaker stories in the final just because you used them in the first round. Go for the best stories you have.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Robert
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replied on Oct 27, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Contrary to some 'expert' advice on this topic, you should NOT re-use the same stories. Try to think 'customer-oriented' and put yourself into the shoes of McKinsey - it just doesn't make sense waisting precious face-time of partners/directors just to hear again the same stories.

Before the redesign of their website, McKinsey has published the following paragraph at http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/faqs/experienced_professionals concerning this topic:

McKinsey PEI example

The paragraph above is left over to some interpretation. While McKinsey does not explicitly say to not repeat the same experience across multiple interviews, McKinsey clearly wants to get a good sense of you, your unique style and your skills. And, as mentioned explicitly, the more examples you provide, the better.

For this reason it seems rather clear that it’s advisable to prepare and share multiple examples across interviews, and not the same one. Just in case that you really, really, really cannot find a second strong example for a particular PEI dimension, re-use the same example – but the additional insight and thus value of this PEI will be close to zero for McKinsey, at the same time clearly showing your lack of experience in a certain PEI dimension.

Now, after having looked at what McKinsey is saying, let’s think on our own why it does not make sense to re-use the same PEI examples across different McKinsey interviews or interview rounds:

  • It does not add any value to your profile at McKinsey – repeating the same information to different interviewers is a waste of precious face-time to convince McKinsey about your skills and experience.
  • You communicate implicitly that you don’t have a lot of experience in those areas, if there is just one single situation you can talk about in one or more of your interviews.
  • What typically happens in the second round of the interviews is that they will try to better understand those aspects where you could not fully convince the interviewers in the first round. So the interviewers in the second round will bring up this specific aspect again – and in case that this was a specific PEI dimension, it is not very clever to tell the same example a second time if it was not convincing in the first place.

Please note that you specificially asked for using the same PEI stories. What is not a real issue is using the same underlying context than in previous round, but focusing on entirely different challenges/aspects of that!

Specifically for McKinsey PEI prep, which is really an interview format of its own needing dedicated prep, PrepLounge recently published s short guide on the McKinsey PEI which is esentially an excerpt of my Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep ebook. It shows how to correctly structure and where to specifically focus and go deep in your PEI examples, which is what most candidates do completely wrong in the first place. You can find it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/the-secret-mckinsey-pei-cheat-sheet-42

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous B on Oct 27, 2020

I love how you are making this fact-based for everyone. I don't disagree with your thesis that more is better, but the last sentence from your excerpt contradicts what you are saying. Between rounds, it is advisable to share your "strongest experience example" even if that is a "repeat" from a previous round. As a final round interviewer, I would much rather hear a strong story that answers my PEI question than a mediocre one just for the benefit of showing variation.

Anonymous A on Oct 27, 2020

I agree with the other anonymous commenter. Is variety more important than quality of story?

Robert on Oct 27, 2020

I agree that there is no clear-cut answer from McKinsey, as mentioned in the post above. However, just think logically - since the PEI dimensions are highly relevant skills for a consultant, do you think it's good to demonstrate you had only one single experience (e.g. leadership) in the past which you can talk about? I doubt that this will create a lot of trust from the interviewer that you really have the experience required under your belt. Bonus hint: you can always speculate that interviewers won't even notice if you used the sample example in previous rounds - not that I would recommend it, but you can speculate on that.

Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi,
Repeating the same fit store in the second round of interviews is ok, but if you know for sure that they are excellent. In this case, you can keep them for the next round.

Also, I would recommend having another stories, in case something will go in a way you don't expect.

Having a broad experience in preparing candidates specifically for the final round, I have to add that candidates need to be extra prepared. Especially for question formats that they have not encountered in earlier rounds viz.

If you need any further help or advice with preparation, feel free to reach out.

Cheers,
GB

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Henning
Expert
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Repeating stories is OK if several of your interviewers asked for the same skill, but try to have sufficient stories to chose between several of them. Having 3-4 stories for each skill (they can overlap to a certain extend) gives you the comfort of not having to repeat one.

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Ken
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replied on Oct 26, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

It's fine to repeat stories but my advice would be to still prepare a few more so that you are sharing your best AND most relevant story.

I can only speak from my experience with McKinsey London where there is no official record of what story you shared during your first round interviews. Stating the obvious but you should not share the same story during the same round. There's nothing wrong talking about different stories from the same context but being able to show breadth can often play to your advantage as well.

Good luck!

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Natasha replied on Oct 26, 2020

I was asked, in each of my final round interviews, not to repeat a story that I had told in the same or a previous round. One of my colleagues was told not to repeat her stories in her feedback from the first round to the second. So although it might be okay sometimes to repeat, I wouldn't bet on it given the situations my colleague and I experienced (this was in the current hiring cycle, so very recent).

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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