Considering the three McKinsey PEI dimensions Leadership, Personal Impact and Entrepreneurial Drive – is it a good idea to include aspects from other dimensions in your PEI example?

Some McKinsey candidates seem to be overly motivated and want to include aspects from all 3 PEI dimensions (Leadership, Personal Impact and Entrepreneurial Drive) in just 1 single example.

Is this a good idea?

Short answer: no.

For a more elaborate answer and explanation, please continue reading.

Should you bring in skills of all 3 McKinsey PEI dimensions into 1 single PEI example?

Your McKinsey interviewer has a clear “order”

Each interviewer has a clear “order” to interview you on one specific dimension. Apart from demonstrating the required skills in your Personal Experience Interview (which of course is the main issue for the PEI), you also need to deliver your example in a clear, structured, logical, focused way.

Therefore it is rather risky to try to bring in aspects from other dimensions into 1 single PEI example. Since all 3 PEI dimensions focus on different aspects, you won’t be able to show the core elements of your “main” PEI dimension properly when at the same time mixing it with other dimensions focusing on different aspects.

Your PEI example will become unstructured and unfocused

When mixing many diverse aspects into 1 example, your McKinsey PEI will get unstructured and unfocused. However, communication in top management consulting is very precise in general, and this should also be reflected in precisely answering your interviewer’s question during the PEI – thus being unstructured and unfocused will reflect badly on you.

Don’t make your McKinsey interviewer’s life unnecessarily complicated

In addition to that, interviewers sometimes also just go with the flow of your example when you bring up aspects in your Personal Experience Interview which sound interesting and related to your PEI dimension. You then might end up talking about issues for which the interviewer cannot give you credits because it does not fit to the evaluation criteria of “his” dimension for the interview. From the interviewer’s side it is sometimes hard to tell in advance in which direction a certain part of your example will unfold (and it is said that interviewers are quite bad in mind-reading), so he will not be able to interrupt you immediately, and you will waste precious time in which you could have demonstrated those skills in your PEI, which would have been required for the respective “main” dimension.

Any advantage of this approach?

At the same time there is no upside potential if you bring in other general aspects without going deep (which would finally take you a lot of time). In the PEI your interviewer is not interested in general statements, but in very specific behavior on the basis of your thoughts and decision-making rationale in particular situations. However, going deep would require much more time, which ultimately would be lacking for demonstrating the skills of your “main” PEI dimension, but on which you are evaluated by the interviewer!

Therefore, coming back to my short answer, whether or not this makes sense: no.

EDIT: It does not harm casually indicating e.g. leadership skills in your personal impact example, but the focus should be very clear on the one dimension the interviewer is asking for.

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