How long does the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) take?

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: Continue reading How long does the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) take?

What are some typical McKinsey PEI questions during your interviews?

This is one of the most common question from candidates in my PEI coaching sessions. Everyone seems to be curious how a real McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) is starting, and how difficult it is to find out which of the dimensions the interviewer is referring to (Leadership, Personal Impact or Entrepreneurial Drive).

Continue reading What are some typical McKinsey PEI questions during your interviews?

How to best prepare your McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview)

Before downloading The Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep eBook, lots of candidates email me and ask how to best prepare for the McKinsey PEI. Whenever receiving such emails, I need to smile. Not because it’s a funny question, but because it shows to me that a candidate is generally on the right track in the McKinsey interview prep.

But why can I say that a candidate is on the right track, just because he is asking me how to prepare for the McKinsey PEI?

Continue reading How to best prepare your McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview)

Can I pause for 60 seconds at the start of my McKinsey PEI?

Contrary to the case interview, I don’t recommend to pause for 60 seconds at the beginning of your McKinsey PEI to structure your story.

Looking at the overall time frame of roughly 12-15 minutes for the whole Personal Experience Interview, 60 seconds is already quite some time. And during this time, your interview would be probably bored, watching you thinking in silence about your PEI story. Continue reading Can I pause for 60 seconds at the start of my McKinsey PEI?

McKinsey PEI dimension “Personal Impact” – what it’s all about

In short: It’s mainly about convincing another person about something.

What makes a strong PEI story for Personal Impact?

The most basic ingredient for a strong “Personal Impact” example is a strong underlying conflicting interest between you and the other person. Both parties need to have a strong interest in the outcome of the situation – without this, it will never become a strong Personal Impact example, since if there is nothing at stake, it’s not difficult to convince someone.

Furthermore, it’s good if your Personal Impact example is going on at least over several days, even better for weeks, since your interviewer is interested in understanding your approach to convince someone from a more strategic, and not only operational/tactical perspective, having candidates clearly laying out a strategic masterplan on how the other person could be convinced. And that’s something which usually doesn’t happen in one meeting or over night, but requires time to “design” and execute this process of convincing someone. Continue reading McKinsey PEI dimension “Personal Impact” – what it’s all about

Is it OK to re-position your McKinsey PEI stories, or better have new ones?

Most candidates have at least 2 or 3 interviews on a given interview day. This means that for the PEI you need to prepare at least 2 or 3 examples as an absolute minimum.

So – can those PEI stories come from the same context, just with a different focus? Or do I need to have completely non-overlapping examples?

Continue reading Is it OK to re-position your McKinsey PEI stories, or better have new ones?

How to demonstrate your impact in the McKinsey PEI

As an introduction, I recommend in general using the PARADE framework for structuring your McKinsey PEI, and talking about your impact usually goes into the “A” for “Anticipated consequence”.

Since the “PAR” is just to give your interviewer a general understanding of the overall situation within 1-2 minutes (and since the core part of your evaluation is based on your specific “Actions” and “Decision-making rationale”), I am perfectly fine with summarizing your impact on a situation more or less in one sentence as a start.

However, since the “Anticipated consequence” demonstrates the real-life impact of you, it’s common that interviewers follow-up on that and want to understand your real-life impact in more detail. Continue reading How to demonstrate your impact in the McKinsey PEI

What should I say about my motivation in the Entrepreneurial Drive McKinsey PEI dimension?

Looking at this question firstly from slightly broader perspective, your example for the Entrepreneurial Drive dimension should circle around a situation in which you wanted to achieve something by yourself (and no one else imposed this task on you). If you follow a goal which you wanted to achieve yourself, you should be also able to explain a strong motivation behind taking all those efforts and overcoming many obstalces to reach this goal.

Ideally you can use the typical McKinsey hierarchy for laying out your motivation in 3 different layers (and only in this sequence with client-focus first, and your personal benefits last – since you are in the service business, with the goal of serving your clients best, and for this reason the primary motivation should stem from this area): Continue reading What should I say about my motivation in the Entrepreneurial Drive McKinsey PEI dimension?