The McKinsey Personal Experience Interview in a Nutshell

As a top management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company is known for its rigorous hiring process, which includes a thorough evaluation of a candidate’s personal and professional experiences. One of the key components of this evaluation is the McKinsey Personal Experience Interview (PEI), which is designed to assess a candidate’s personal impact, leadership qualities, and problem-solving skills.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the McKinsey PEI and provide insight into what to expect during this critical component of the interview process.

What is the McKinsey PEI?

The McKinsey PEI is a behavioral-based interview (as opposed so a situational interview). During the interview, candidates are asked a series of questions related to their past experiences and how they handled specific situations. The interviewers are looking to understand a candidate’s leadership abilities, personal impact and drive.

What to Expect During the McKinsey PEI

The McKinsey PEI is an interview typically lasting around 15 minutes that is conducted either in-person or over video conferencing. The interviewers will ask you a series of open-ended questions that are designed to uncover specific aspects of your personality and professional experience which are relevant for your future career in consulting.

Examples of questions you may be asked during the McKinsey PEI

  • Can you think about a recent experience when you needed to step out of your comfort zone to lead a team to success?
  • Can you give an example of a situation where you needed to convince somebody else without having all relevant information at hand?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you faced a difficult challenge and how you overcame it?

It’s important to note that the McKinsey PEI is not a traditional “case” interview, but rather a discussion-based interview where you will be expected to reflect on your past experiences and provide detailed examples to support your answers.

How to Prepare for the McKinsey PEI

The McKinsey PEI is a critical component of the interview process and requires thorough preparation. Here are a few tips to help you succeed during this interview:

  • Reflect on your past experiences: Take some time to think about your past experiences, both personal and professional, and identify instances where you demonstrated leadership, and personal impact and drive.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Rehearse your responses to potential questions with friends, family, or a professional coach. This will help you become more comfortable with discussing your experiences and improve your overall confidence during the interview.
  • Be concise and to the point: The McKinsey PEI is a fast-paced interview, and you will want to be able to provide a clear and concise storyline as well as answers to the questions being asked.
  • Demonstrate your personal value added: Be sure to emphasize the impact you had on the specific situation and how that impacted the overall outcome.
  • Show your self reflection: While it’s important to communicate what exactly you did in a specific situation, it’s even more important for the interviewer to understand why exactly you did (or did not) perform a certain action.
  • Practice active listening: During the McKinsey PEI, it’s important to be an active listener and engage in a dialogue with the interviewers. Ask questions and seek clarification if needed to ensure a thorough and productive conversation in case you are not sure where your interviewer is heading to.

Looking for McKinsey PEI Coaching with an expert to kick-start your prep and finally secure your McKinsey offer? Click here!

What we typically do together during our coaching:

  • Choose the best stories out of all your experiences and match them with the McKinsey PEI dimensions
  • Define and structure the overall storyline of your primary and secondary stories
  • Crystallize the core challenges to highlight in your Personal Experience Interview (by the way, this is the core part of your evaluation)
  • Fine-tune the communication of your story to McKinsey expectations
  • Running mock interviews to get a real-life experience of your PEI

Click here for more information to virtually guarantee your PEI success!