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)

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?

Why is the McKinsey PEI so important for the overall evaluation of a candidate?

Alongside doing a lot of data analytics especially in the more junior ranks of the consulting firms, there is still a high level of intense relations with the client organization starting with day one as a consultant. After all, consulting is a people business, thus McKinsey is putting a lot of weight on recruiting the “right” candidates with appropriate soft skills as well during the McKinsey PEI.

Due to the importance and impact of McKinsey projects, there is an inherently high potential for conflicts within client organizations. More often than not, the context for working below the C-level execs hierarchy is not that desirable and less than ideal – and as a future McKinsey consultant you are mainly left alone with all this as part of your everyday job: Continue reading Why is the McKinsey PEI so important for the overall evaluation of a candidate?

Why do so many candidates fail in the McKinsey PEI?

The answer to this question boils down to 2 aspects:

  1. McKinsey does not release a lot of information concerning the McKinsey Personal Experience Interview (PEI). Even during your McKinsey coaching session – which occurs in many geographical areeas before your on-site interviews – your McKinsey contact keeps information vague in respect to the PEI, having the discussion much more focused on the case interview part, the general procedure of the recruiting day and any other questions you might have about McKinsey.
     
  2. Virtually all candidates underestimate this part of their McKinsey interviews.

 

At least you have the opportunity to influence one of those two aspects – which is obviously the second one. So let’s better understand the underlying reasons why virtually all candidates underestimate the PEI in their McKinsey interview prep: Continue reading Why do so many candidates fail in the McKinsey PEI?

Which Leadership example can I use without a formal leadership position?

When it comes to the Leadership dimension in your Personal Experience Interview, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of many candidates.

There is no requirement at all for your McKinsey Leadership PEI to be / have been in a formular Leadership position. This might now come as a suprise: Ideally, you don’t even have a formal leadership role in your PEI example (e.g. business unit director, department head, project lead), but initially you are acting in a group of equals. Continue reading Which Leadership example can I use without a formal leadership position?

How many persons should I convince in my Personal Impact McKinsey PEI example?

There is no clear rule or statement from McKinsey’s perspective, whether your example should focus on only one or several persons. However, I recommend very clearly to focus your McKinsey PEI example on convincing one specific person, as opposed to several persons at once (e.g. “In this situation, I needed to convince all customer stakeholders in the project”) or organizational bodies (e.g. “In this situation, I needed to convince the board of directors of this approach”).

The main reasons for this recommendation are: Continue reading How many persons should I convince in my Personal Impact McKinsey PEI example?

Are there any general CV-related questions apart from the McKinsey PEI?

Actually yes – McKinsey interviewers also ask general CV-related questions during your interviews. This usually happens after an initial ice-breaking/warm-up, and before your Personal Experience Interview starts.

As opposed to interviews in most companies outside the consulting space and also some other consulting firms, the focus and underlying idea of those general CV-related questions is slightly different in your McKinsey interviews. Continue reading Are there any general CV-related questions apart from the McKinsey PEI?